Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD)

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a man holding his hand in pain

A chronic pain condition believed to stem from peripheral or central nervous system damage or dysfunction, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is associated with excessive “burning” and “pins and needles” type of pain in one limb. The pain condition, which is also referred to as RSD, may also be characterized by changes in skin color, temperature, swelling of the affected limb (arm, leg, hand or foot), stiffness in the affected joint, lack of coordination and muscle tremors. As such, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that the symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome vary in intensity and duration, and some cases go away, while others result in long-term disability.

In determining who is susceptible to developing RSD, it remains unclear while some experience it and others do not. Even so, research has shown that those with RSD experience an abnormal or dramatic response to an injury that triggers the pain condition. Specifically, blood vessels within the damaged limb may widen, leak fluid or constrict. As a result, oxygen and nutrients may not reach underlying muscles and tissues, causing pain. However, there are instances in which Complex Regional Pain Syndrome develops on its own, without any identifiable cause.

Treatment for RSD consists of a variety of therapies designed to improve blood flow and decrease circulatory symptoms, as well as specific exercises to improve flexibility and strength. Because many experience secondary symptoms such as depression and anxiety, Psychotherapy and/or medications might be prescribed to help individuals cope with pain. Other combinations of drugs, some of which are designed for other conditions, have proved helpful in some cases. The bottom line when it comes to treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. An experienced pain management physician is necessary to provide a personalized treatment protocol that strategically and safely alleviates a patient’s pain.

Allied Pain & Spine Institute consists of a multidisciplinary staff of leading professionals that are committed to integrative care. Given the latest in cutting-edge research and technology, our team understands that RSD can vary dramatically from one person to the next. What’s more, we understand the impact of chronic pain on the brain, and that’s why we utilize physiotherapy and intentional rehabilitation for the affected limb to prevent complications in how a patient perceives pain in the future.

To access award-winning pain management and treatment to boost your quality of life, contact Allied Pain & Spine Institute today.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James Petros, Allied Pain & Spine Institute