Medical Resources for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS)

When diagnosed with any disease or chronic condition, knowing how and where to find the best medical resources available can mean the difference between successful pain management and chronic, debilitating pain. In the case of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS), this is no exception.

RSDS is a progressive disease which often affects the joints or limbs. The hands, arms, legs, and feet are most often affected. It is a disease for which there may or may not be an initial cause. For those who can report a cause, the disease usually develops after an injury to the head or affected area, a sprain, a heart attack or stroke, a bruise, or after surgery.

Medical Resources and RSDS

Once a person has been diagnosed with RSDS, it is imperative that he or she seeks a qualified physician who is familiar with the disease. Because RSDS is still a commonly misunderstood disease, an ill-qualified doctor is no help in RSDS cases. A qualified doctor will direct patients to appropriate medical resources that will help the patient best determine which treatment options are best.

To find out about medical resources available to RSDS patients, it is also wise to do your own searching. Taking the initiative to seek answers and information regarding your disease is the best way to stay informed and knowledgeable throughout the course of your illness. With the influx of information currently available on the Internet, patients can quickly find information regarding a wealth of resources available to RSDS patients. Organizations, such as the International RSD Foundation, exist to help sufferers of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome know the facts and options about their disease.

Just because RSDS does not currently have a cure, it does not mean there will not be one in the future. Technology advances and the spread of knowledge about RSDS will hopefully make the disease nearly obsolete in the future. Until then, seek answers. And when necessary, seek a qualified attorney who will represent you and help you regain control of your life.

Clinical Guidelines on RSD

Why are Clinical Guidelines Important?
For a disease such as RSD/CRPS, having clinical guidelines in place is not only important; it's imperative. With so much of the medical community still being "in the dark" regarding this disease, having outlined clinical guidelines is the only solid way to guarantee that an RSD/CRPS patient receives a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

What is Included in the Clinical Guidelines?

1. Diagnostic Criteria
Diagnostic criteria are outlined to help professionals know what to look for when making a possible RSD/CRPS diagnosis.

Inclusions in the "Diagnostic Criteria" text of the guidelines are:

  • Intense, continuous pain that does not correlate to the inciting event
  • Edema (severe swelling of the affected area)
  • Decreased range of movement and motion
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Skin color changes in the affected area
  • Excessive sweating

2. Treatments
There is no definitive management treatment for RSD/CRPS. Therefore, multiple treatment options often have the most success with RSD/CRPS patients. Medical, psychological, and social treatments should be explored. Various treatments outlined in the clinical guidelines include:

Interdisciplinary Management (a.k.a "Therapy"):

  • Physical therapy (the most frequent and successful means of therapy-highly effective in children).
  • Occupational therapy (this therapy helps to minimize swelling associated with edema, normalize sensation, and increase functional use of the injured body area to enable the patient to become more independent in all areas of life).
  • Recreational therapy (this therapy helps the patient restore a greater range of movement).

Pharmacotherapy
This type of therapy, utilizing medicine, works best when combined with other treatment options. Pharmacotherapy includes anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, anti-hypertensives, calcitonin, anticonvulsants/neuromodulators, bisphosphonates, and topical treatments. For mild to moderate pain, simple analgesics or blocks are often prescribed initially.

Psychological Interventions
Many patients with RSD/CRPS experience higher levels of anxiety and depression than people without the disease. Therefore, psychological interventions are often an integral part of the treatment of the illness.

Relaxation training, training in pain coping skills, and behavioral intervention are often needed, as many patients tend to avoid activity due to their disability.

Interventional Therapies
This therapy option includes sympathetic nerve blocks, regional anesthetic blocks, infusions, neural stimulation, and various other types of blocks.

Clinical guidelines were put into place to help doctors know what to look for in cases of RSD/CRPS, and to aid them in knowing how to treat it. Because of the complexity and misunderstanding of the disease, you may need to seek an attorney to help you get the maximum benefits allowable if someone or something led to your resulting condition. Seek out a qualified attorney who is familiar with the Clinical Guidelines of RSD/CRPS. He or she can help you get the treatments and justice you deserve.

Research on Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome


When you are diagnosed with a disease, research is a vital tool. Whether you are the one doing the researching, or whether you are aided in your search by doctors, legal personnel, or family members, it may your best tool toward understanding your illness and better treating it.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome and Research
Especially in cases of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, a progressive neurological disease for which there is currently no cure, research is imperative. Although the disease is estimated to affect millions of people, very few people have a thorough understanding of RSDS (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome). Research and the availability of its findings to medical staff and personnel could quite possibly prevent many cases of this debilitating illness, which is often diagnosed following an injury, physical trauma or surgery.

Research and the RSDS Patient
Patients who have recently been diagnosed with RSDS may not know where to turn for treatment because they are unfamiliar with their disease. Research by the patient is necessary to fully understand the scope of RSDS. With the massive amount of information available on the Internet today, finding out a wealth of information in minutes is possible. When conducting online research, it is best to find organizations that focus on RSDS specifically. These sites and groups have a wide amount of information available and are likely the most up to date concerning details of the disease and possible treatment options.

It may be necessary to obtain an attorney for your RSDS case. As many cases of the disease originate following an injury, many victims of RSDS must file worker's compensation claims following the onset of their illness. An experienced attorney who is familiar with RSDS, its causes, symptoms, and treatments is your best option. A good attorney has dealt with cases like yours in the past and is willing to conduct any and all additional research if your case exceeds his or her area of knowledge.

The Future of RSDS Research
Scientists, doctors, and organizations continue to research Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. In addition, organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health are working toward providing medical personnel with an increased awareness of the disease so that they can more aggressively treat RSDS when the first symptoms appear.

As with many diseases, spreading knowledge about RSDS is still not up to par. But you can do your part by asking questions and finding a knowledgeable attorney to help you with your case, as he or she will be able to determine whether or not you should file a claim against the entities that caused your ongoing RSDS.

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Resource4 RSD.com provides information on medical resources for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome and (RSDS) Research. Updated on 11/07/2006.