Patient Comments: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome - Treatment

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

Comment from: Terri, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 14

I broke my ankle and luckily was diagnosed with RSD approximately 1 month later. We treated it aggressively; 3 lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks, intensive physical therapy, and hydrocodone for the pain. Initially all I could do was wiggle my big toe. Another big help was swimming. I started out just simply learning how to walk again in waist deep water. Then I would swim 1 lap, then 2 more, and so on each day. I"m convinced this was a huge help. I started to walk without crutches after 6 months and was in physical therapy for almost 1 year. It took about 2 years to get back to normal. Still the affected leg is a bit weaker 5 years later, but I"m in total remission. Key is early diagnosis and a take no prisoners attitude. Trust your gut, the 1st orthopedist kept insisting it was just a badly broken leg. I knew it was something else - the pain was almost unbearable. I sought 2nd opinion within 1 month and he nailed the diagnosis in 5 minutes. Be persistent and keep on swimming.

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Comment from: Debbie R., 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I've found that swimming works wonders. I tried the spinal block but it didn't work, I have severe nerve damage to my right foot/ankle. My doctor was trying to straighten out my leg after a total knee replacement/fall out of hospital bed. I had nerve conduction test that showed my nerves are nonexistent and also got atrophy from having leg in cast for 6 months. My skin is shiny, no hair growth, and I have constant burning, swelling and sweating.

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Comment from: jus, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I have been diagnosed with RSD and so far no treatments have worked and I'm in constant pain. I have tried amitriptyline, Vicodin, Percocet, nerve block injections, tramadol, Lyrica, and steroids but none help.

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Comment from: fiona, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

After radical mastectomy 2010 for breast cancer I have suffered from nerve damage/chemotherapy damage and the worst- constant pain from radiation damage to my lungs and heart! Now I have been diagnosed with RSD. After giving up codeines twice I'm having to manage my pain without pain-relief (left hand knuckles very sore and swollen).

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Comment from: lozzieb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 22

I had RSD whilst in high school, I had it for nearly 3 years and I was living in a hospital. I had it in my foot which meant I couldn't walk, the pain was so severe. As hydrotherapy and physiotherapy didn't work they opted for giving me an epidural numbing me from the waist downwards. I was like this for 3 weeks, I got told I would never walk again. This was awful news, being only 15 my life was torn apart. I am now 23 but I promised myself I'd not let it beat me; it took me 3 years but I walked out that hospital. The only downfall is that it is never gone, it can return at any time.

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Comment from: TinyCookie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

The month before I turned 55, I fell doing housework and broke my arm and wrist in 3 places. I went through surgery to have a pin, plate and 8 screws to put my arm and wrist back in place. I was going to rehabilitation and working out at home also, but the pain was too great and I still could not bend my wrist. After 3 months, the surgeon recognized the symptoms as RSD and referred me to a pain specialist. Next week I am scheduled for a nerve block injection.

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Comment from: mari, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

A month ago I fell and did serious damage to my hand and wrist. two days later I had surgery to reconnect my hand to my wrist. the surgeon also did a carpel tunnel release procedure while he was in there. While some of my recovery is going well, the pain in my hand and especially my thumb, index and middle fingers has been continuous and often unbearable. They get so cold and stiff, the feel like they are going to explode. There are other symptoms, but these are the worst. Fortunately, the surgeon recognized the symptoms as CRP and referred me to a pain specialist. Next week I am scheduled for a nerve block injection. I am nervous about the procedure, but it seems to be the way to go. I hope it works, or at least helps, because I can't imagine my future quality of life if it does not, especially since I have other health issues I deal with daily. I am hopeful though, since my own research shows that not all doctors are as fast to diagnose CRP, and I sympathize with those who have suffered with this painful condition for a long time.

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