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Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome has lasting consequences

| Nov 6, 2020 | Workplace Injuries |

When you’re injured at work, one of the injuries that you could suffer is called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD). Also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), it is a condition that can lead to long-lasting pain in your arm, leg or other area of the body.

RSD is usually a result of a stroke, heart attack or injury, but doctors do not yet know what causes it. Fortunately, it is often able to be treated.

What causes RSD?

It is believed that the pain caused by this condition comes from issues in the sympathetic nervous system. The SNS helps to control the blood flow throughout the body as well as your blood pressure and heart rate.

Whenever you’re injured, the sympathetic nervous system lets your body know to shrink the blood vessels. This helps reduce the loss of blood at the injury site. However, if the sympathetic system is confused, then those vessels may not dilate again once the danger has passed. That could be the cause of chronic pain, swelling and other symptoms.

Who gets RSD?

RSD is most common in women, but men can get it as well. Children are less likely to suffer from it. The symptoms may develop over time, starting with minimal pain and then growing into a chronic condition.

Some of the common injuries associated with RSD include:

  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Minor surgeries
  • Bruises
  • Radiation therapy
  • Fractures
  • Sprains

If you’ve suffered any of these injuries on the job and now have chronic pain, RSD could be the cause. It’s worth having a medical team take a look, so you can file a workers’ compensation claim if needed.

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