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

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Steven Doerr, MD
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

View RA Slideshow Pictures

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:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2016
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome - Share Your Experience

    Please share your experience with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome.

    Post View 76 Comments
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome - Symptoms

    What symptoms have you experienced with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome?

    Post View 30 Comments
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome - Treatment

    What kinds of treatment, including medication, have you tried for your RSD?

    Post View 16 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors