Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or RSD, a chronic and incurable neurological disorder in which the sympathetic/autonomic nervous system – the system that transfers signals from the central nervous system to various organs throughout the body – malfunctions, causing nerves to misfire and send constant pain signals to the brain. RSD develops in response to physical trauma and becomes more active during times of stress. Its actions during the stress response comprise the fight-or-flight response.
What causes RSD? No one knows for sure, but whatever the cause, it is definitely not due to a psychological disorder or symptom magnification.
The most common symptom of RSD is chronic pain, which patients frequently describe as burning or stinging. Patients also suffer from extreme skin sensitivity, so that even clothing is unbearable and even the bed sheets feel like sandpaper. Other symptoms include:
- Aching, cold, burning pain
- Abnormal swelling
- Abnormal hair or nail growth
- Limited range of movement
- Abnormal sweating
- Abnormal skin temperature
- Continuous pain
- Allodynia (pain to the touch)
- Skin sensitivity
- Color changes in the affected area
Patients may also experience muscle spasms, tremors, weakness, fatigue, skin rashes, frequent infections, fever, headaches and insomnia.
Although there is no cure for RSD, there are many ways to manage its symptoms.
**You can read more about this under my blog post entitled: Dear Family and Friends. K*Chele