It still amazes me, that some doctors who treat patients that suffer from RSD/CRPS are still questioning whether or not RSD spreads. They are telling patients they are not experiencing spread, only for patients to find out sometimes much later, that they had experienced spread. It is a very sad commentary, that some doctors are still so misinformed about the etiology and treatment of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome/RSD, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/CRPS! The greatest hope for a positive response to treatment is most often realized when patients are treated early and aggressively. However, in far too many cases, this does not happen. Time is of the essence! Having said that, YES RSD does spread! Why does RSD spread? Sometimes it is simply the nature of the beast! Patients can follow the instructions of their medical professionals which include Neurologists, Orthopedic Doctors, Primary Physicians, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and Autoimmune Doctors, to the letter, and still experience spread. This list of medical professionals is not all-inclusive as there are other specialists who participate in a patient’s care. Sometimes a patient may injure a part of the body that was not previously affected by RSD, or they may re-injure the affected limb(s). A spread can also occur after having surgery. There are any number of reasons why a patient may experience spread, as each patient is unique. However, without a doubt unfortunately Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome does spread. According to statistics, 70 % of patients who suffer from the syndrome, will experience spreading of the symptoms.
There are three types of spread. There is 1. CONTIGUOUS SPREAD, which is when the RSD starts in the lower part of a limb, and it moves up the limb, and vice versa. For example, the RSD may have started in the right hand. Then, it spreads up to the arm and shoulder. Or, the RSD could have started in the foot, then spread up the leg, and to the thigh area. There is 2. MIRROR IMAGE SPREAD. Mirror image spread means, that after the RSD affects a limb or area on one side of the body, the symptoms affect the exact area on the opposite side of the body, as well. The last kind of spread is 3. INDEPENDENT SPREAD. This is when the RSD is in one part of the body, and it abruptly or gradually spreads to a totally different part of the body. For example, the RSD is in the right hand, then for some reason it may spread to the left knee. Or, the RSD could start in the left leg, and spread to the right or left arm. The truth of the matter is the RSD can spread to any part of the body, and a patient doesn’t have to injure an area of the body to cause a spread there.
One last thing. It’s very important that you “listen” to your body. When experiencing pain in a different area of your body, before assuming that it is RSD, it is important to know that the patient would normally experience more of the classic symptoms of RSD, and not pain only. I wish I had known this early on, because when I would be in pain in other areas of my body, I would definitely go into panic mode no matter how minimal the pain was in a different part of my body. I would automatically think the RSD had spread. I could have avoided a few “mini breakdowns!” However, if the pain persists, I suggest that you contact your physician immediately. If you are suffering from this syndrome, and you would like to add a comment or ask a question, please feel free to do so. May God bless you abundantly, today and every day!
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