November – RSD Awareness Month

Although not recognized by every state in the USA, November is considered RSD Awareness Month, in many states and other countries worldwide. Therefore, I would like to begin this article by discussing the lack of awareness of this syndrome, by patients and physicians alike. It is quite a sad commentary when going to a doctor’s office, an emergency room, or some other type of medical facility to receive help because one is experiencing extraordinary pain, as well as other extraordinary symptoms, and patients are often looked upon as not being truthful about their pain levels, or as simply seeking a way to obtain drugs for recreational purposes. It is a known fact, that when individuals are in medical school, very little time and attention is placed upon the treatment of chronic pain, or chronically painful disorders! Why is this the norm? Research has now shown that chronic pain is an illness or disease, in and of itself. It is not just a symptom of another illness. It is an illness that needs to be taken seriously, and addressed properly by the medical community. It’s time to stand together as a united front, to bring about awareness now. That means physicians, patients, family members and friends alike, standing together to do whatever they can do, to help to bring this syndrome to the forefront of medical research.

Perhaps I have placed the cart before the horse. What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome/RSD, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/CRPS? RSD/CRPS is a chronically painful and debilitating neurological syndrome, that effects the central nervous system, bones and joints, and skin and muscles. To read more about RSD, click here. On this webpage, you will find links to other articles, which are featured on this blog.

Below, I will list facts and statistics that explain the dire need for awareness to be brought about NOW. Thanks for reading this article. God bless!

  • Although complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) was first described in Civil War veterans more than 140 years ago, it remains a poorly understood and sometimes undiagnosed disorder that may affect millions of people in the United States alone.

  • Although the actual prevalence is unknown, CRPS is not a rare disorder. According to the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association of America (RSDSA), CRPS may affect millions of people in the United States. Unfortunately, because symptoms vary so widely many people are not quickly diagnosed with CRPS.

  • Medical science has not yet determined the real cause or causes of CRPS, but a number of precipitating factors are linked to the onset of CRPS.  Most cases of CRPS begin after mild to severe trauma such as any injury, illness or procedure.
  • Treatment of CRPS requires a team approach – you, your healthcare providers, and others involved in your care. You may need a combination of treatments. These may include medication, nerve blocks, physical and occupational therapy, psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, and biofeedback. You may need more controversial and unproven interventional treatments such as permanent nerve blocks, or external or implantable pain-relief devices.

  • The long-term outcome of CRPS is usually better if it is diagnosed and treated at an early stage.