What Is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)?

Q.Please explain what reflex sympathetic dystrophy is. Also, is this an orthopedic or a neurological problem?


A.Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a complex condition involving severe pain in one of the limbs, swelling, and change in color and temperature of the limb. The most consistent feature of RSD is disabling pain. Patients describe this as intense, deep, burning pain that worsens with movement and stress.

The pain is typically out of proportion to what the doctor can see wrong. Some patients develop weakness, muscular incoordination, tremor or muscle spasms.

The patient’s skin often has a shiny appearance. RSD is most commonly seen in patients aged 40-60, but it can occur in children and in elderly persons. It is typically brought on by injury, either major or minor