RSD logo sized 325There are two types of RSD. There is RSD I, and RSD II. RSD type I is most commonly triggered by a tissue injury. Patients who suffer from RSD I and RSD II suffer mostly from the same symptoms. However, patients who suffer from RSD I, have no underlying nerve injury, as do patients who suffer from RSD II. This type of RSD may also be referred to as causalgia, because patients are known to have much more harrowing burning pain associated with it, than RSD I. Most individuals that I’ve met, via RSD support websites, are acutely aware of what caused the onset of their RSD symptoms. However, a number of individuals who suffer from this syndrome, became symptomatic spontaneously! When this occurs, it is said that one is suffering from idiopathic RSD, which means of unknown cause. In other words, before becoming symptomatic, they suffered no known precipitating injuries, surgeries, traumatic occurrences, such as a heart attack or stroke, etc. For example, I literally became symptomatic overnight! I went to sleep with a normal hand, and I woke up with a monstrosity of a hand! The pain was absolutely excruciating! My hand was swollen about three times its normal size, and it was also bent and stiff! Might I reiterate, that I had gone to bed the night before, with a NORMAL hand!

Usually, the onset of RSD manifests in injured upper or lower extremities; hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, legs, knees, and ankles. Although some children develop this syndrome after an injury to a limb, onset is more likely to occur when an individual is in their early forties. However, onset can occur at any age.  Additionally, for unknown reasons, women develop RSD, much more often than men.

CRPS_Burning_FlameThough many physicians have differing opinions, it has been said that RSD/CRPS often progresses in three stages-acute, dystrophic, and atrophic. Even many patients have varying opinions as to whether or not the progression of this syndrome is that cut and dry. One extremely important bit of information to remember is, that no two RSD patients are exactly alike! However, when we experience these symptoms, or whether or not we experience all of the same symptoms varies greatly from patient to patient. This one fact causes it to be extremely difficult to treat patients with any level of consistency, from Dr. to Dr., and patient to patient. For example, in the ACUTE STAGE, which is said to last between one and three months, some patients may experience extreme pain and burning pain, edema or swelling, absolutely profuse sweating, shiny skin, increased sensitivity to touch, increased hair and nail growth, and color and temperature changes during this stage. During the DYSTROPHIC STAGE, swelling, severe burning and constant pain, are said to occur. Muscle stiffness and atrophy, or wasting away of muscles, and severe restriction of movement have also been placed here. During the ATROPHIC STAGE, it is said that patients experience more muscle stiffness, and wasting away of muscles in the affected regions, severe burning and increased pain, decreased temperature in the affected area(s)as well as noticeable changes in the skin in the affected areas. No listing of symptoms for each stage, is all-inclusive. I should also mention, that some doctors have noted a fourth stage of RSD. The next article in this category, will be titled, “Does RSD Spread?” Feel free to ask questions, or add a comment to this article. If you have a story to share, please feel free to do so. God bless!


Resource: Health
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome

Note: Please read the disclaimer.

12 comments on “RSD TYPES I and II

  1. Hi Paulette,

    You explained this so well…. It’s good for us to remember these things when we encounter friends who suffer…. God knows us as individuals and is able to work with us accordingly…. But, our knowledge is so limited, we are at a loss as to what to do…..

    My elderly friend, who passed away with this suffering, was also a strong Christian…. Her faith was a great comfort to her and everyone who knew her.


    • Hi Margaret,

      Thank you, Margaret. “God knows us as individuals and is able to work with us, accordingly…” Yes, God does understand, every facet of our lives. However, you are also right about individuals being at a loss as to what to do, and I might add, sometimes what to say, etc. Pat alluded to that, in her comment. If it is the Lord’s will, I will be writing an article, that speaks to some of what individuals who suffer from this syndrome, deal with, on a daily basis.

      Thank you for stopping by. May the Lord continue to bless you, abundantly!


  2. Hi Paulette
    This is certainly interesting and the first I’ve heard of this,wow so many symptoms.This must have negative effects just as Fibro & Arthritis does I can only imagine what a bad day is like for you,but it’s God’s strength that keeps us going. I still believe in miracles but just because I’m not healed yet don’t mean I won’t be and maybe not even healed on earth at all.But we’re sure of our total healing in Heaven. Paulette you may have had this happen to you,a well meaning sister that just keeps on & on telling you God wants you healed,whew thank God for the changes he’s made in me wooo lol I get tired of her. Thanks for sharing this Paulette.
    Love ya 😀

    • Hi Pat,

      First of all, I intended to link this article with the original article that I wrote on this topic. That article, definitely will help one to understand a bit more about this syndrome. Here is the link:

      Since you’ve read the article, I did add the link. My purpose for sharing, is to enlighten those who have never heard of this syndrome. However, more importantly, my goal is to share this information with those who may be suffering from this syndrome, and searching for answers. My heart does go out to those who are newly diagnosed, and have no idea what is happening to them. The fact that there are so few doctors, who are adequately trained, and familiar with this syndrome, is another incentive for me, to share information pertaining to this topic.

      I know that if God doesn’t heal my body, He’s definitely able. There are so many, who mean well, but just don’t know what to say. You are right about what you said, about the changes, the Lord has made in you/us. I do understand! 🙂

      May God bless you, and keep you in His loving care!


  3. Paulette,

    I don’t have the words to say thank you for all you’re teaching me…

    I believe in miracles too. Praying yours will come swiftly.

    Appreciative of your encouragement.


    • Hi Ann,

      I am so glad, that you are interested in learning more about RSD. It is my pleasure, though bittersweet, to share the information. I admit, that it is sometimes difficult for me to reflect upon living with RSD. However, if I can help one person, who is newly diagnosed, or help one who is suffering from RSD, and searching for answers, it is worth the discomfort.

      I too, appreciate your encouragement.

      God bless you!


  4. Thanks for sharing something so very personal. Many years I have lived with often a forced smile due to the agony of RSD. I am totally at the point of having God alone to lean on. He has provided for me and contiues to do so. One of his greatest blessings next to salvation is my wife. She says she would love to have her Sam back like he was before the injury but will never leave me. She truly is an amazing woman.


    • Hello Sam,

      I share about RSD, because I want to bring about awareness of this syndrome! Very little, if any funds, are allocated toward research, that would bring about more effective treatments, as well as a possible cure, for RSD. I have placed all of my trust in the Lord! He is my help and my comfort, during these difficult times!

      It’s wonderful to hear that you have a loving, and a caring wife. You are truly blessed! Thank you so much for writing, and sharing a bit about your story. Hang in there, because God is able!


  5. Paulette, I sure am glad you wrote this article. Keep ‘em coming. I never heard of RSD before I met you, and I sure appreciate the well-explained information. I spread the word wherever I get the chance.

    • Hello Todd,

      It has taken me a few days to respond to your comment, because I was suffering from a severe flareup of the RSD. I appreciate your interest in this subject matter, and the fact that you do spread the word, when you get a chance to do so.

      God bless.


        • Hi Todd,

          I’m just getting to the point, where I can be online, respond to e-mails, comments, complete documents, etc., without causing further problems with the flare. Responding to you and others, when I did earlier, only caused more issues. That’s why I haven’t been around blogosphere, of late. I do appreciate your concern, as always! I am better now, but I’m still suffering residual effects of the flare up.

          Thanks again. Take care.


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