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RSD is sometimes called Type I CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)  which is triggered by tissue injury where there is no underlying nerve injury, while Type II CRPS refers to cases where a high-velocity impact (such as a bullet wound) occurred at the site and is clearly associated with nerve injury. Type II used to be called "causalgia" and was first documented over 100 years ago by doctors concerned about the pain that Civil War veterans suffered even after their wounds had healed. RSD is unique in that it affects the nerves, skin, muscles, blood vessels and bones at the same time.


What are symptoms of RSD/CRPS?

Continuous, intense pain that is out of proportion to the severity of the injury (if an injury occurred) and which gets worse rather than better over time. It most often affects the arms, legs, hands or feet and is accompanied by:


   "burning" pain

   increased skin sensitivity

   changes in skin temperature: warmer or cooler compared to the opposite extremity

   changes in skin color: often blotchy, purple, pale or red

   changes in skin texture: shiny and thin, sometimes excessively sweaty

   changes in nail and hair growth patterns

   swelling and stiffness in affected joint

   motor disability, with decreased ability to move affected body part


How is RSD treated?

Medications and Physical therapy are often helpful. There also are minimally invasive procedures that are used in some cases. Treatment needs to be individualized and treatment plans often incorporate several of these measures. Treatment if begun early, ideally within the first three months after symptoms begin, can result in remission. Early diagnosis is the key. Please call us at 864 373 PAIN for additional treatment options.

Is there a cure?  Not at this time, but research continues. Advances have resulted in some new and effective treatments.

RSD has no apparent cause. Initially, the condition was thought to be a malfunctioning of the sympathetic nervous system but researchers are questioning this theory. Since it is most often caused by trauma to the extremities, some conditions that can bring RSD about are sprains, fractures, surgery, damage to blood vessels or nerves and certain brain injuries.RSD is an older term used to describe one form of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Both RSD and CRPS are  characterized by chronic severe burning pain, pathological changes in bone and skin, excessive sweating, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch.