RSD Symptoms & Treatments

Symptoms and Treatments of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Austin, Texas, Personal Injury Attorney

The LBG Law Firm is dedicated to providing detailed information to our clients that suffer from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). This condition arises from many different personal injury incidents. We help clients get the medical attention they need and pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Symptoms of RSD

A diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy may be made when at least three of the following symptoms are present:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Increased or decreased blood flow
  • Swelling with joint stiffness
  • Skin changes

In addition to these general symptoms, RSD may progress through three different stages.

Acute: Stage I (Acute) may last up to three months. Throughout the course of this stage of the condition, symptoms may include pain, swelling, warmth of the affected portion of the arm, and extreme sweating. Hair and nail growth may be faster than normal and joint pain is often felt during movement of the injured arm.

Dystrophic: Stage II (Dystrophic) can last from three to twelve months. Swelling of the affected limb is constant and as a result, creases in the skin disappear. Skin temperature cools while fingernails become brittle. Widespread pain increases, as does rigidity and sensitivity of the affected area.

Atrophic: Stage III (Atrophic) lasts one year or more. The skin of the affected area has become tightly stretched, shiny, pale and dry. The area is also stiff, with a possible decrease in pain. At this point, there is a loss of hope of getting a full range of motion back in the arm or limb.

RSD Treatments


If you suspect that something is wrong it is important that you seek medical help. By diagnosing and treating RSD as early as possible, you may have a better chance of regaining movement in the affected area.

Most medical professionals use one or a combination of three RSD treatments:

Medication: Helping to decrease the symptoms and provide long-term relief, doctors may inject local anesthetics into a nerve bundle at the base of the neck. Sometimes, a tourniquet may be applied to the arm and medication may be injected into a vein along with an anesthetic.

Physical therapy: Typically under the direction of a hand therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist or doctor, physical therapy may be recommended. Range of motion exercises and other types of physical therapy are important to regain function and reduce discomfort. A patient must commit to remaining fully active and putting in maximum effort for physical therapy to be successful.

Surgery: Once RSD has progressed into a later stage, surgery may necessary. This can include the implantation of a device to stimulate the affected nerves. However, surgery is not recommended as treatment for RSD in all cases and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To further discuss your reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) issues and RSD treatments, contact a lawyer at the Austin, Texas, law office of LBG Law Firm today.