Symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy: How Work Creates Disabilities

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy can result from accidents that cause injuries to the arms, legs, neck and shoulders. The disease causes chronic, intense pain and inflammation and can result in life-long, permanent disabilities.

What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), is a progressive disease of the nervous system. It produces intense chronic pain typically accompanied by skin changes, swelling, and extreme sensitivity. Although the disease usually affects the arms and legs, more than 70 percent of victims report spreading to different areas of the body.

There are four main symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy:

  • Burning Pain – Chronic burning pain is experienced by all RSD patients. Although the injured area may feel cold to the touch, the patient feels intense burning pain. The injured area is often extremely sensitive to temperature, vibration, and sound as well.
  • Inflammation – Inflammation is common with RSD. It can affect the skin’s appearance and temperature. Patients may experience bruising, red spots or mottling, purple color, and shininess of the skin, as well as excessive sweating.
  • Spasms – Spasms in muscles and blood vessels are commonly felt in a patient’s extremities. Victims of RSD who see a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas often talk about painful rolling spasms.
  • Emotional Problems – Victims of RSD often experience major changes to the limbic system. Typical symptoms include insomnia or sleep disturbances, difficulties with concentration, confusion, and short-term memory problems.

Who Gets Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?

Since RSD is caused by a malfunction of the sympathetic nervous system, it’s often the result of some type of accident or trauma. Anyone can get RSD, but 75 percent of victims are women. The disease is also seen in men and children in their teens and preteens. Many people develop the disease in their 30s and 40s. Currently, over 200,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with RSD.

Physicians often see people who develop RSD after fractures, crush injuries, and amputations. People who suffer such injuries in the workplace commonly consult a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas who deals with RSD conditions. In addition, personal injury attorneys also see RSD in people who have had serious infections, heart attacks and surgeries for a variety of health reasons. Although it isn’t fully understood why such injuries and conditions trigger RSD, it’s suspected to be a dysfunctional interaction between the nervous system and inflammatory responses by the body.

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