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American Society for Action on Pain

Author: Rogers-J-N. Valley-M-A.

Title: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

Source: Clin-Podiatr-Med-Surg. 1994 Jan. 11(1). P 73-83.


Abstract: In summary, RSD is pain of neuropathic origin. The diagnosis is often obscure and requires a complete history, physical, and psychological evaluations. The diagnosis depends on symptoms (burning pain, allodynia and hyperpathia); signs (edema, sudomotor changes, temperature changes); and objective measurements, such as skin temperature, QSART, radiographs, and triple-phase bone scans; as well as the clinical response to a sympathetic block. Management of RSD should be designed to promote restoration of function utilizing physical therapy made possible by sympathetic, central, or peripheral nerve blockade. Medications may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, and vasoactive drugs. Psychologic support is an important part of the patient's rehabilitation. Dorsal column or peripheral nerve stimulators, sympathectomies, and narcotics should be considered only when other more conservative measures have failed.