Sometimes Minor Injuries Can Cause Major Pain

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) is a nervous system disease. RSD can develop from a traumatic physical event, such as a motor vehicle accident. It can also be triggered by non-traumatic soft tissue injuries, like sprains, burns, strains or tears where there is no obvious nerve injury.

Symptoms of RSD are nonstop, extreme pain — often compared to a burning sensation — disproportionate to the kind of the injury (if there was an injury at all).  RSD transmits relentless pain signals to the brain. The condition is accompanied by:

  • Swelling
  • An increased sensitivity to sound, touch and temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Short-term memory and concentration problems
  • An increased inability to move the affected part(s)
  • Changes in skin texture or color
  • Excessive sweating

It usually affects one or more limbs, but can happen in any body part. For the great majority of victims, it spreads to other areas. In extreme cases, RSD can prevent a person from performing everyday functions. Currently, RSD is ranked as the most painful chronic pain by the McGill Pain Index

Medical consensus holds that a combination of physical therapy, exercise, diet and medication can successfully treat most RSD patients. However, there is significant disagreement among pain management doctors over what combinations, including what medicines, should be used. Treatment is usually individualized to the patient.

Early diagnosis is crucial — and there is reason to hope if you have been recently diagnosed with RSD. If patients, particularly younger ones, begin treatment within the first three months after symptoms appear, the condition can often go into remission. While remission brings relief to victims of this painful disease, a reoccurrence be triggered many years later, from an injury in a different or similar place. Research towards a cure continues.

If you have RSD and you think it is the result of a personal injury, contact a lawyer to see if you can seek compensation from those who played a role in causing your injury.

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