Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

What Is the Sympathetic Nervous System?

In order to study and understand more about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, it’s important to first comprehend the sympathetic nervous system. This system of the sympathetic nerve is among the three principal components of the autonomic system. The two other parts in the system of autonomic neuronal activity comprise the parasympathetic as well as 
Systems for the enteric.

The system controls the bodily functions, such as constricting blood vessels, lowering heart rate, and the increase of blood pressure. Although the connection isn’t fully understood, many believe that excessive or abnormal reactions of the sympathetic nervous system components are the root cause of RSD pain.

Symptoms of RSD

RSD is well-known for its severe chronic pain. For many people the condition can be extremely debilitating. As RSD grows, patients can lose their function in the affected area , and suffer a general decrease in the quality of life. RSD pain is usually felt in a specific area. As the condition gets worse and the pain gets worse, it may extend over the entire limb, or even to other parts of the limb.

The symptoms of RSD can include: 
* A very burning or painful stinging sensation 
* Increased sensitivity to pain 
* Variations in skin color and texture as well as temperature 
The changes in the hair growth and pattern of growth of nails 
* Swelling and stiffness in joints in the area affected 
* Problems that affect the mobility of the leg

Causes of RSD

The precise cause of RSD in every case might not be known. In about one-third of RSD cases medical professionals were unable to determine or identify the cause of an incident. Yet, research suggests that there are some 
events and conditions that could be risk factors in the development of RSD.

Many think they believe that RSD is the result of abnormal stimulation and irritation to the nerve tissue of the patient. This could result in abnormal electrical impulses within nerves of the patient that affect their body and blood vessels. The brain, peripheral nerves and involuntary nerve system are also believed to be involved.

There is a belief that RSD could be triggered by certain events, like: 
* Trauma, injury or surgery that is performed in a specific region of the affected leg 
* Stroke or heart disease 
* Nerve irritation due the entrapment of nerves, for example in carpel tunnel 
The neck is a common area of degenerative arthritis. 
* Medicines to are used to treat tuberculosis and barbiturates.

RSD Prognosis and Treatment

There isn’t a treatment for RSD. However, many treatments and therapies are available to ease RSD symptoms. RSD prognosis is better for those who have received an early diagnosis and treatments for RSD. If treatment is given at the beginning of RSD, long-term injury and mobility loss can be lessened.

Therapy for RSD could include a range of treatments, including: 
* Over-the counter and prescription strength medications for pain relief 
The use of physical therapy is to increase mobility, reduce tension and pain 
* Surgical procedures that create a seal and cut the nerves 
* Treatments to block nerves that involve injections of anesthetic into the affected nerves 
* Alternative therapies like nutritional supplementation and herbal pain relief and acupuncture 
and stress-reducing meditation


RSD could be mistaken for complicated regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The most up-to-date definition of these 
The conditions indicate conditions indicate that RSD and the CRPS Type I are the same issue. However, CRPS Type II is not 
It is referred to as RSD.

The primary distinction is the fact that RSD and Type I CRPS involve the primary injury in soft tissues. CRPS Type II is 
It is defined as damage to an individual’s major nerve. It is worth noting that the word RSD is currently being 
The term “phased out” was replaced by CRPS when it comes to this condition.


“About CRPS.” RSDSA. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. Web. 2 Aug 2013. “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).” OrthoInfo. American Academy of

Orthopaedic Surgeons. Web. 2 Aug 2013. 
Marshall, A.T., and A.J. Crisp. “Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.” Rheumatology. 39.7 (2000): 692-695. Print.

“Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome.” New York State Department of Health. New York State 
Department of Health, n.d. Web. 2 Aug 2013.

“Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome.” UW Medicine: Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. University 
of Washington. Web. 2 Aug 2013.

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