Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome

There are many different types of repetitive strain injuries that one may fall victim to due to overuse of the muscles of bones of the body. Often occurring because of strain incurred in the workplace, most of these injuries can be easily treated with the symptoms eliminated quickly and easily. In this article, well focus on the type of repetitive strain injury that is known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. Well discuss what the syndrome is, how one may become afflicted with it, and consequently, what one can do in order to rid themselves of the problem.

RSDS- A Regional Pain Syndrome

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome is a subset of the problem known as complex regional pain syndrome. There are two different types of the complex regional pain syndrome type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, while type 2 is known as causalgia.

Both of these syndromes result in a serious feeling of pain that is experienced by the afflicted individual. Doctors are still in the dark as to why these syndromes develop, but suspected causes include stress, illness, and injuries. Its a problem that can strike at any age, but more often than not, people between the ages of forty and sixty are affected.

A Female Problem?

Both men and women fall victim to the syndrome, but women are more likely to contract it. The syndrome develops near the site of an injury that an individual has recently experienced. They may experience a feeling of intense, burning pain that may actually spread outside of the original area of injury, sometimes even spreading to the opposite limb of where the injury occurred.

The symptoms of type 1 complex regional pain system include intense feelings of pain near the area of injury which is sometimes accompanied by muscle spasms as well as a lack of mobility in the area. Sometimes, hair and nail growth in the area will increase to a highly noticeable degree.


There are no specific tests that can properly diagnose complex regional pain syndrome, and doctors most often diagnose the syndrome purely off of the symptoms that the afflicted individual says that they are experiencing. When it comes to treating the syndrome, many methods are employed. Many different drugs may be of merit, including anti-depressants as well as corticosteroids, alpha and beta blockers, and others.


Doctors most often prescribe an injection of an anesthetic in order to treat the problem as a first step. Neurostimulation has also been shown to be of merit, helping to ease the pain of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome by stimulating the spinal cord. Many patients opt for physical therapy as a means of eliminating the syndrome. Since the pain can be great when one moves the affected area, they often neglect moving it which can actually aggravate the problem. Inactivity can lead to growth of the syndrome.

Now that you know more about the problem known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, youll be better able to diagnose the problem should it affect you. As with any serious medical issue, you may want to consider speaking with a doctor in order to plan the best course of action for dealing with RSDS.