Sympathetic Dystrophy is a chronic pain disorder involving the
sympathetic nervous system. It usually is the result of an injury or
trauma, but can also be a complication of surgery, infection, casting or
splinting and myocardial infarction (heart attack). The trauma sets off
the body's mechanism for pain recognition, but then the "normal
system of pain perception" begins to misfire in its neural
response, and an abnormal cycle of intractable pain begins. As RSD
progresses, the abnormal pain of the sympathetic nervous system has an
effect on other areas of the body and can result in total disability as
muscles, bones, skin and the autonomic immune system become involved.
indication of RSD is prolonged pain usually more severe than the injury.
The symptoms are severe burning pain in a localized area, intense
sensitivity to temperature and light touch, and a color change to the
Most physicians agree that there are three stages to RSD, which progress
at different rates in different people. Initially, there is swelling and
redness in the affected area. Next, the area may become blue and cold,
with increased pain and stiffness of ligaments and joints, and
Osteoporosis may become evident. Finally, there may be a wasting of
affected muscles, contraction of tendons, and a definite withering of
the affected limb. In all of the stages, severe chronic pain continues
to be a major complaint.
clinical Symptoms of RSD
Pain is the first
and primary complaint, described as extremely severe and
burning and aching in nature
Swelling and joint
Loss or diminished
Muscle spasms and
at injured area
Changes in skin
temperature and color
Bone softening -
minor) such as a bruise, sprain, broken bone, tight fitting cast
Infarction ( heart attack )
disorders such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
is RSD Diagnosed?
Angiograms, Bone Scans
is RSD Treated?
indicated in some cases
Lynne Carr Columbus, D.O.
Hee (Dennis) S. Lee, M.D.
is a specialist who treats RSD.
For a consultation or for more information, please do not hesitate to
When one clearly understands pain;
when one absolutely knows
the proper treatment,
one can offer
to any patient
personal pain management that works.
This is my specialization.
-Lynne Carr Columbus, D.O.