Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), now more commonly known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), is a chronic pain condition believed to be caused by dysfunction of a portion of the nervous system. Its symptoms can include (1) pain out of proportion to an injury, often described as aching, burning, or shooting pain; (2) hyperesthesia or increased skin sensitivity; (3) edema or swelling; (4) color changes in the skin; (5) temperature changes of the affected tissue; (6) motor weakness, decreased strength, or decreased range of motion; and (7) abnormal hair or nail growth in the affected extremity.
Patients may present with one or more of the foregoing symptoms. The course of the disease varies from patient to patient, and the symptoms tend to change over time. Therefore, diagnosis of the disease often requires an examination by a pain clinic physician who has extensive experience diagnosing and treating patients with RSD/CRPS. It is not uncommon for patients to see several physicians before finding one who recognizes the disease and makes the diagnosis. One method used to diagnose the disease is to determine whether the patient has sympathetically maintained pain. Pain clinic physicians can often make this determination by administering a sympathetic nerve block and observing the patient’s response.
Treatment for RSD/CRPS utilizes rehabilitation, pain management, and psychological therapy, and varies depending upon the progress of the disease. Types of treatment may include oral medications, physiotherapy, counseling, nerve blocks, implantation of a spinal cord stimulator, implantation of a morphine pump, and surgery. The treatment regimen over the course of a lifetime can be extremely expensive, but may be required in order to keep the disease under control. The pain and related sequelae of RSD/CRPS can be disabling and can have a significant adverse impact on the patient’s life.
RSD/CRPS can be caused by a variety of things, including accidental injury, trauma, or surgery (especially surgery on an extremity). If you or a loved one suffers from RSD/CRPS as a result of someone else’s wrongful conduct, you may have a claim for damages.
You can contact the Law Office of Craig Stephan for an evaluation of any claim you may have involving RSD/CRPS. There are statutes of limitation on personal injury claims, so you should act immediately to protect your rights.
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