Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a chronic type of inflammation that accompanies severe pain experienced in the extremities, mainly in the toes and fingers. Hyper irritation and stimulation of the nerves is considered as one of the main factors for causing RSD.
Irregular stimulation of the nervous system confuses the brain, forcing it to send out wrong signals to the damaged nerve endings, leading to sharp pain in the region. These nervous impulses being abnormal and irregular disturb the normal functioning of the blood vessels and nerves.
What Causes RSD?
An injury, trauma or serious accidents can trigger Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy by damaging the nerve endings. A sudden cardiac arrest, cancer, an episode of shingles and diabetes are also responsible for triggering RSD. Other causes include carpel tunnel syndrome, brain damage or diseases affecting the brain and thyroid related issues. Certain medications can also have a negative effect on the individual if he/she is allergic to a particular chemical or drug used in the medication. This could damage the nerve endings leading to RSD.
Signs to Look Out For
An injury or accident will damage the nerve endings leading to extreme pain in the injured region. This will be accompanied by swelling, redness and burning sensation on the skin. Swelling of joints, tenderness of skin, thinning of bones causing osteoporosis, purple or black patches appearing on the skin, difficulty in moving fingers and toes, decreased hair growth, joint stiffness, brittle nails and muscle atrophy are some of the common symptoms associated with RSD.
Diagnosis of RSD
Early detection is crucial to prevent the condition from getting out of control. Severe pain and swelling in the injured area should be a cause of concern. If this pain is accompanied with burning and continues for months together, it is high time you get the condition checked to rule out the possibility of RSD. An X-Ray will show the presence of patches on the skin. A bone scan is useful in detecting osteoporosis. These tests coupled with a history of signs and symptoms experienced by the person for the given duration of time will be taken into consideration before diagnosing the condition
Treatment for RSD
There is no drug or medication that can completely cure the disease. However, a series of measures can be taken up by the patient and the doctor to minimize and considerably reduce the extreme pain and discomfort associated with the disease.
Keeping yourself pre occupied with your favorite hobby or reading a thrilling book, drawing, painting, watching your favorite program on television or speaking to your friend or family member are very clever methods to divert the attention of your brain towards performing something more constructive. This will make you “forget” the pain, helping you deal with the condition.
Stress and depression causes the brain to send negative signals to the affected nerve endings, increasing the pain sensation manifold. It is advisable to undergo counseling for emotional support to deal with the issue and prevent worsening of the condition.
Exercises are one of the most cost effective and natural treatments for RSD. Flexing the muscles will force the nerves to function efficiently, sending positive signals to your brain. This decreases the pain sensation considerably, helping you feel energetic and healthy inside out. However, remember to perform exercises under the supervision of physiotherapist or a doctor to prevent unwanted aggravation.
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