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Treatment for RSD in Denver/Littleton Area

What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)?

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a condition that features a group of typical symptoms, including pain (often “burning” type), tenderness, and swelling of an extremity associated with varying degrees of sweating, warmth and/or coolness, flushing, discoloration, and shiny skin.

What causes Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)?

The exact mechanism of how RSD develops is poorly understood. The theories include irritation and abnormal excitation of nervous tissue, leading to abnormal impulses along nerves that affect blood vessels and skin. The involuntary nervous system, peripheral nerves, and brain seem to be involved.

What are the symptoms of reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?

The onset of RSD symptoms may be rapid or gradual. The condition may not display all features. It is bilateral (involving both sides of the body) in up to half of people with RSD. There are several stages of RSD with symptoms that include:

  • Acute (three to six months): burning, flushing, blanching, sweating, swelling, pain, and tenderness. This stage can show early X-ray changes of patchy bone thinning.
  • Dystrophic (three to six months): early skin changes of shiny, thickened skin and contracture with persistent pain, but diminished swelling and flushing.
  • Atrophic (may be long-standing): loss of motion and function of the involved hand or foot with contracture (flexed scarring process), and thinning of the fatty layers under the skin. X-ray can show significant osteoporosis.
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