Our Indianapolis RSD specialists have extensive experience treating this rare nerve disorder. RSD is characterized by continuous and intense pain that is out of proportion to the severity of the injury (if an injury occurred) and gets worse rather than better over time. It most often affects the arms, legs, hands or feet. While there is no apparent or single cause for RSD, it is commonly (but not always) associated with trauma to the extremities such as sprains, fractures, surgery or damage to blood vessels or nerves and certain brain injuries. Symptoms RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome include chronic severe burning pain, pathological changes in bone and skin (temperature, color and texture), excessive sweating, tissue swelling, joint stiffness, extreme sensitivity to touch and motor disability.
RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome has many names and medical references. It is an older term used to describe one type of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It is sometimes called Type I CRPS, which is triggered by tissue injury where there is no underlying nerve injury, while Type II CRPS refers to cases where a high-velocity impact (such as a bullet wound) occurred at the site and is clearly associated with nerve injury. Type II CRPS used to be called “causalgia” and was first documented over 100 years ago by doctors concerned about the pain that Civil War veterans suffered even after their wounds had healed. RSD is unique in that it affects the nerves, skin, muscles, blood vessels and bones at the same time.
While there is no cure for RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, there are many effective medical treatment options. Early diagnosis is critical. Treatment is most effective if initiated within three months of presenting symptoms – and can result in remission.
Contact the Indianapolis Center for Pain Management to schedule an evaluation and to discuss treatment options for RSD.