Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (cont.)

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What causes reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?

The exact mechanism of how RSD develops is poorly understood. The theories include irritation and abnormal excitation of nervous tissue, leading to abnormal impulses along nerves that affect blood vessels and skin. The involuntary nervous system, peripheral nerves, and brain seem to be involved.

A variety of events can trigger the RSD, including:

There is no associated or identified inciting event in one-third of individuals with RSD. Fibromyalgia has been reported to coexist with RSD in some people.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/11/2014

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