Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy, RSD for short, is a chronic pain syndrome. Its symptoms include pain, motor problems, weakness, swelling, fatigue, and skin problems (i.e eczema). Typically it’s diagnosed after an injury, especially one to your nerves. However, there are other causes of RSD too.
Knowing the cause of RSD is important because it will determine which RSD treatments are used. The most common RSD treatments include medication, nerve blocks, electrical stimulation, and psychotherapy. Usually, several different RSD treatments are needed to be used at the very same time.
The most commonly used RSD treatments involve medication. This includes pain-relieving creams, ibuprofen, naproxen, which are all typically used in the beginning. If these don’t work, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and narcotic pain relievers are RSD treatments that may then be used.
Some patients find that their RSD won’t respond to medicinal Rsd treatments alone. In this case, there are other RSD treatments that may be used. These include sympathetic nerve blocks and the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units, which provide electrical stimulation. Both of these RSD treatments are meant to interrupt the pain signals that are being sent from your nerves to your brain. While the nerve blocks are dependent upon an anesthetic that’s injected into your nerve cells, the TENS machine is simply adhered to the painful area in the same way that you’d affix a Band Aid. From there electrical signals are used to disrupt the pain.
Although RSD is usually caused by physical problems, its symptoms can lead to depression and anxiety. In turn, these symptoms can lead to additional emotional problems and even increased pain. For this reason, psychotherapy will usually focus upon relaxation strategies, as well as ways to decrease the stress in your life. These techniques are important RSD treatments because they’ll help reduce pain while helping to put you in a better mood.
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