Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?
Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (RSD), which is now also referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), is a chronic pain condition that can affect any area of the body, but often affects an arm or a leg.

There are many factors that contribute to RSD/CRPS. Most commonly, it is linked to a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area. It also results from injury directly to a nerve, as well as injury or infection in the arm or leg.


The key symptom of RSD/CRPS is pain that:

  • Is intense and burning
  • Is much stronger than would be expected for the type of injury that occurred
  • Gets worse, rather than better over time
  • Begins at the point of injury, then spreads to the whole limb, or opposite arm or leg typically.


If pain and other symptoms are severe or long-lasting, many people may experience depression or anxiety.

Who is Affected?
This condition is more common in people ages 40 – 60, but it has been seen in those who are younger or older, as well.

What are Options for Treatment?
At Orthopedic and Wellness, we use non-surgical regenerative orthopedic and pain management procedures to help calm nerve dysfunction and alleviate the pain associated with RSD/CRPS – a lot of which is due to ligament and joint durability. These innovative techniques get to the root cause of the pain, rather than simply masking it.

We use IV infusions (with ketamine, lidocaine or other agents) to help reset the pain control centers in the nervous system.  Generally the infusions take about an hour to complete the effects of which can last for weeks to months.

We also use platelet rich plasma (PRP), a therapy in which we extract patient’s own blood, spin it to separate the platelets, then mix those with growth factors naturally found in the body. This concentration is then injected into the damaged area to promote healing. Our doctors place precise injections into the damaged area to stimulate the stem cells and enable the body to naturally repair the damage – with none of the side effects pain medication.

In more serious cases, we inject a patient’s own stem cells – taken from their bone marrow or fat tissues – into the affected area.

Starting an exercise program that keeps joints and muscles moving may prevent the disease from getting worse and help you perform everyday activities, while promoting endorphins that help ward off the anxiety and sadness that often accompanies chronic pain. We also recommend natural stress-relievers, including yoga, prayer, walking, other forms of healthy exercise as well as meditation, etc., to help eliminate the anxiety often related to RSD/CRPS.

Because much of the disorder is due to oxidative damage to the nerves, we use antioxidants – both orally via nutritional supplements, and intravenously via a customized solution of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to reduce the pain of RSD/CRPS and allow for improved function of the damaged area. Lastly, we recommend use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to further assist with healing.

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