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More From RSD Patient's Handbook

Posted by janet c. on 6/28/01 at 16:21 (051771)

For those who expressed an interest, here is more from the pamphlet my Dr. gave me:

'Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a multi-symptom, multi-system pain syndrome that is usually a result of an injury or trauma affecting one or more extremities, but may affect any part of the body.

There can be a variety of symptoms present with RSD at any time, and the combination of symptoms may change in intensity and duration, or they may resolve spontaneously.

RSD is a disabling disease with simultaneous involvement of nerve, skin, muscle, blood veesels, and bones.

Clinical Symptoms of RSD -

1) Pain - is the first and primary complaint occurring in one or more extremities described as severe, constant, and burning.

2) Swelling - pitting or non-pitting edema is usually present and localized to the painful region.

3) Diminished Motor Function - limitation of motion with the eventual development of dystrophy and/or atrophy.

4) Tremor or Muscle Spasms - difficulty initiating movement.

5) Skin Changes - skin atrophy, tissue atrophy, dryness, accelerated hair growth or hair loss, and nail changes.

6) Vasomotor Instability -
a) Raynaud's Phenomenon
b) vasoconstriction - cold, molted, bluish skin
c) vasodilation - warm, erythematous red skin
d) hyperhidrosis - increased swetting

7) Bone Changes - patchy osteoporosis.

8) Joint Tenderness and Swelling.

Some people experience periods of remissions and exacerbations.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy was first diagnosed over 100 years ago after the American Civil War. It was described as a burning pain (Causalgia) that was a result of the gunshot wounds of soldiers.

The phenomenon of RSD began when symptoms started to manifest in other areas or extremities that had not been injured. An example of this is found in a sprained ankle that develops RSD; and later presents copied or mirrored symptoms in the other foot.

RSD may result of a trauma such as a cut, sprain or broken bone, casting or splinting an extremity, a result of surgery or infection, spinal cord disorders, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and myocardial infarction, or a repetitive motion disorder or cumulative trauma, causing conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Empower Yourself -

As one can imagine, RSD is a very difficult disorder that may cause chronic pain, disability, financial devastation, and depression. It is a tragic consequence of RSD for one to suffer with the disorder, and have to fight for recognition and treatment. Patients have been labeled malingerers, drug seekers, or suffering from a psychological problem rather than a physical illness.

Denial and rejection toward the validity of RSD by health care providers have added grief and despair to the patient. This has only complicated the patient's reaction to a suggestion for psychological therapy and behavior modification. Even by benefiting from the best medical treatments science can offer, the RSD patient may still be left with pain and disability.

Knowledge and understanding are an important key to acceptance.
A patient must learn to understand what a diagnosis of RSD means; and accept what medicine can do ---- and cannot do!

It then becomes the RESPOSIBILITY OF THE RSD PATIENT to take control of their behavior and their perspective - because it is their life!

THE RSD STEPS TO HEALING -

1) Acceptance of the pain - My pain is real and not in my head! The pain in my body is real, but I react to it in my head!

2) Patient Resposibility - If medicine can only do so much to help me, I have to do the rest; because it's my body and my life!

3) Identify Priorities - Focusing on priorities will identify what is important in my life!

4) Set Realistic Goals - Working with my limitations and knowing my priorities, I can set goals.

5) Pace & Rest - Good nutrition, relaxation, and gentle exercise help reduce tension and pain!

6) Patient to Person - I'll accept myself for who I am; and focus on my life, instead of my pain!

You must learn to allow RSD to only become a part of your life ... not control it!
Don't give any more of your life to RSD.
Take control NOW!'

To get your own copy of the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, A Patient's Handbook, you can write to:

RSDSA of California
PO Box 771
San Marcos, CA 92079-0771

or call: (619) 744-3266

I hope that you have found some of this information interesting, or enlightening.

Best wishes to you all,

Janet

Re: More From RSD Patient's Handbook

Laurie R on 6/29/01 at 00:22 (051813)

Hi Janet , thank you so much for posting this on the board ,as you know this is what the specialist I saw and my pod think I have now. It makes so much sence to me. Thanks again , I hope this will help others too. laurie R

Re: More From RSD Patient's Handbook

Laurie R on 6/29/01 at 00:22 (051813)

Hi Janet , thank you so much for posting this on the board ,as you know this is what the specialist I saw and my pod think I have now. It makes so much sence to me. Thanks again , I hope this will help others too. laurie R