Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, commonly known as RSD, has also been previously known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), but for the sake of ease in this blog, we’ll just refer to it as RSD. This is a neurological syndrome, meaning that it is a disorder of the nervous system. It causes chronic pain, as well as a variety of other symptoms.

RSD is a very serious, rapidly spreading disorder that must be treated aggressively and properly. Unfortunately, the causes of the condition are unknown, but most often, those who have RSD often have suffered trauma to their extremities, like sprains, fractures, surgery, and even some brain injuries.


Some injuries that RSD has been known to follow include:

  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Intramuscular injection (injections into the muscle) or medication/drugs
  • Blunt trauma
  • Neck/shoulder/chest injuries and trauma
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Crush injuries


As there is not really a known cause of RSD (just health issues that are known to precede it), there is no single test to decide whether or not a patient has RSD. Sometimes tests like x-rays, MRIs, or nerve tests can be useful for diagnosis. Most of the time, healthcare providers will make the diagnosis when a variety of conditions are met, including the lack of a more specific diagnosis.


Additionally, because there is no defined cause, there is no defined cure.

You might find yourself asking: if RSD has no defined cause and is difficult to diagnose, how can I know if I have it? The key symptom is a pain that is intense and chronic and gets worse over time. It most often affects the extremities (hands, arms, legs, and feet). Below is a list of symptoms that often accompany RSD:

  • Severe burning pain, as if you’re on fire
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Swelling of tissue
    Changes in skin temperature, color, and even texture
  • Disability of motor skills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pathological changes in bone

Plano RSD Specialist

If you have sustained an injury, or even if you haven’t, and have any combination of the symptoms above, give us a call and ask about the possibility of having RSD. The earlier RSD is diagnosed and treatment can be started, the better. Contact the Pain Relief Center today for more information.

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The most critical step on the path to recovery is finding a pain management doctor who can address your pain management needs successfully. The Pain Relief Center and its five specialized institutes are dedicated to meeting any and all of a patient’s needs. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dr. Rodriguez and his friendly staff will help you along the path to recovery.

Our new center in Dallas is part of a nationwide development by Pain Relief Centers, geared to providing individualized and comprehensive healing and pain management services with unprecedented levels of compassion, care, and comfort for each patient.

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