There 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.
Though 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 communities.com
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
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