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A Brief History of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome


A Brief History of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy -RSD- Syndrome In a reprinted article featured on the National Fibromyalgia Association’s website, a detailed history of reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) syndrome is provided. With such severe and debilitating conditions as RSD, it is important to consider the history of this condition for both medical and legal reasons in order to more fully understand your options and opportunities. To help those who may be interested in knowing a little more about this history of reflex dystrophy, a brief summary of the article featured on NFA’s website will be provided here.

Origins of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome

A little less than 500 years ago, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, a Union army surgeon, first described the excruciating pain he witnessed in a young Union soldier by the name of David Schiveley wo was wounded at Gettysberg. The term causalgia, Greek for burning pain, was used to describe the soldier’s pain after the wound was healed. This condition has seen many names since its first description here. Sudeck’s atropy, traumatic arthritis, minor causalgia, postraumatic pain syndrome, just to name a few. Even today, many researchers are still baffled by the mysterious and severe conditions of RSD syndrome.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome & RSD

Many of the observed and described instances of this neurologically driven pain condition have been classified as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) which is known today as a chronic neurological syndrome characterized by severe burning pain, pathological changes in bone and skin, excessive sweating, tissue swelling, and extreme sensitivity to touch. There are two types of this condition, for which RSD is known as the first type. These types are cases in which the nerve injury cannot be immediately identified, often times the result of some kind of accident.

Recent Advancements in Reflex Dystrophy Treatment

Patients who suffer from reflex dystrophy find themselves in constant pain which prevents them from doing many everyday activities. There are several treatments that have emerged over the past century and a half to help deal with this condition. If RSD is detected early, there is a strong possibility that it can be completely eradicated. Unfortunately, diagnosing this condition is not so simple which prevents many potential early detections. Ongoing research is producing more and more treatment options but what is most important is spreading education and awareness of this condition to those who suffer from it and to those who treat it.

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