Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
(RSD, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1, CRPS)

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Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) facts

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is characterized by a group of symptoms including pain (often "burning" type), tenderness, and swelling of an extremity associated with varying degrees of sweating, warmth and/or coolness, flushing, discoloration, and shiny skin.
  • How RSD occurs is not known, but there are often triggering events.
  • Symptoms of RSD often occur in three stages: 1) acute, 2) dystrophic, and 3) atrophic.
  • Diagnosis of RSD is based on clinical findings, supported by radiological tests.
  • Treatment of RSD is most effective in the earlier stages.

What is reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a condition that features a group of typical symptoms, including pain (often "burning" type), tenderness, and swelling of an extremity associated with varying degrees of sweating, warmth and/or coolness, flushing, discoloration, and shiny skin. RSD is also referred to as "complex regional pain syndrome," "the shoulder-hand syndrome," "causalgia," and "Sudeck's atrophy."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/11/2014

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