Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
In this Article
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) facts
- What is reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?
- What causes reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?
- What are the symptoms of reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?
- How is reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?
- What is the prognosis for reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
- Can reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) be prevented?
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.
A variety of events can trigger the RSD, including:
- heart disease,
- degenerative arthritis of the neck,
- stroke or other brain diseases,
- nerve irritation by entrapment (such as carpal tunnel syndrome),
- shoulder problems,
- breast cancer, and
- drugs for tuberculosis and barbiturates.
There is no associated or identified inciting event in one-third of individuals with RSD. Fibromyalgia has been reported to coexist with RSD in some people.
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