Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Caused by an Illinois Car Accident

What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a chronic condition in which the victim feels pain, usually in the arms and legs, identified by an intense burning sensation, aches, tenderness, swelling, skin discoloration, and distorted temperature of the limb. Doctors diagnose Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or RSD, as either Type 1, identified as occurring after an injury but does not directly affect the nerves of the injured limb, and Type 2, or causalgia, defined by the condition manifesting itself after an injury to the nerves of the affected limb.

Why Does RSD Occur?

Doctors have not found the precise reason why RSD happens in some accident victims. Doctors have found that RSD occurs in accident victims who suffered a traumatic injury to an arm or a leg. The level of trauma that causes RSD is not the same for every patient. RSD can happen after a minor accident as well as following a significant traumatic injury.

Even though physicians diagnose RSD in many patients, the affliction is not keenly understood. Some physicians believe that RSD occurs because nerves were injured, causing irritation and over-stimulation of the nerves in the injured limb. The injured nerves send abnormal signals to the skin and blood vessels in the affected area.

What Symptoms Does RSD Cause?

Not every person diagnosed with RSD will exhibit the same symptoms as every other person suffering from RSD. However, the most common symptoms noted by doctors are pain that feels like a burn, hyper-sensitive skin, the skin changes color as do nails, and the hair on the injured limb. An RSD patient might also suffer from joint pain, muscles spasm, muscle weakness, and atrophy. 

Treatment Options for a Person with RSD.

Doctors are still finding new ways to treat RSD. At this time, the condition is irreversible. However, physicians have found better success in treating the condition if they diagnose the problem shortly after the accident or as soon as the symptoms being to emerge. 


Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Personal Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at 312.422.0500.

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