Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome - Share Your Experience

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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."

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Comment from: agatha, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

In 2001 I was hit by a large door at the mall when I was on my way to work. I had a hand injury, went to the hospital, was treated and released. I went for physiotherapy, had surgery, and had several types of physiotherapy. I was always in pain, so finally in 2002 I was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). I went through 2 blocks, which was a nightmare, gave up on them, so since 2002 I have been taking medication. There are some days that I can deal with the pain, but other days the pain is unbearable. I would not wish this on anyone. I hope someday they will find a cure. This condition really takes a toll on your whole body.

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Comment from: Paige, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) when I was 17. I had an injury to my back when I was 15 and was put on crutches. Doctors didn"t listen to me and thought I was faking the whole thing because all my tests came back negative and I saw countless specialists. My left leg ran hot and cold, I would get bad burning, stabbing pain in my leg all the time and it would go numb for no reason. It also turned purple, splotchy and shiny. My rheumatologist sent me to a pain management specialist who finally diagnosed me with RSD as well as a slight herniated disk and a pinched nerve which caused my RSD because it went untreated. After 2 years of physical therapy, 4 radio frequent lesions, and 2 nerve blockers, I"m 21 years old now and I still suffer with RSD. I can manage it so it doesn"t cause me too much pain all the time but I still have bad flare ups 3 times a year, which last 2 months at a time. I"m still in pain constantly but it"s only about a 4 whereas it used to be a 10. It took me 8 months to get off my crutches and I still have muscle atrophy from the nonuse. I"m glad I didn"t give up on going to doctors but I"m still upset because I was a kid and no-one listened to me until I found a pain specialist.

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