Re: RSD questions
You can find lots of information on the RSD board of these healthboards, but I will try to give you a quick answer. (My husband has had RSD for at least 5 years.) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, as it is called now, begins with an event--surgery, injury, IV, nerve injury, etc. usually in a limb. Pain from that event continues out of proportion to the cause and for longer than usual. Diagnosis is made on the basis of signs and symptoms, since there are not any tests that are really reliable (some doctors will order a triple phase bone scan, EMG, etc.) Doctors look for symptoms in four categories: sensory--excessive pain from pin-***** type touch or pain from light touch--feather, wind; vasomotor--difference in skin temperature or color between limbs; sudomotor/edema: edema (swelling) or sweating; and motor/trophic: decreased range of motion or weakness, and/or changes in hair, nails or skin. It is really a matter of eliminating any other possible diagnoses (peripheral neuropathy, etc.).
Treatment may involve sympathetic nerve blocks, physical therapy, pain medication, epidural blocks, spinal cord stimulator.
Hope this helps.