Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is also known as complex regional pain syndrome. Patients with this condition usually experience some form of chronic pain in the arm or leg that develops after an injury, stroke, heart attack, or surgery. Instead of just being classified as pain, the condition is also accompanied by the affected area being more tender, either too warm or too cool, discolored, and swollen. The skin where the dystrophy is occurring also starts to look shinier, with abnormal hair or nail growth. One of the most important signals is feeling an unusually high amount of pain, more than you would expect from whatever hurt you.
Causes of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
While reflex sympathetic dystrophy is still not entirely understood by the medical community, there are certain known aspects. First, it usually occurs because of a malfunction within the nervous or immune system as either attempts to respond to damage from trauma. Somewhere along the way, the nerves do not fire properly, sending more pain signals to the brain than is natural. Early diagnosis of this condition leads to better results, but physicians who do not focus on pain treatment may not recognize reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Some may say that your pain is imagined or psychological, but if your pain is becoming severe enough that it is stopping you from working or enjoying your daily life, you may need the assistance of pain specialists.
Diagnosing reflex sympathetic dystrophy is not set in stone. Usually based on a clinical examination, the patient’s medical history, and lab results. The process of elimination is important in this case, as other conditions that may be responsible for this pain must be considered. If you are in the New Jersey area, Garden State Pain specializes in finding the best treatments in relieving pain. Our doctors have over fifty years of combined experience in treating patients facing chronic pain symptoms and understand that everyone has a unique case. They will consult you on what the best options for a pain-free path are. Contact one of our offices today to schedule an appointment.