Reflex Sympathy Dystrophy (also known as RSD) is more commonly known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is generally a condition that affects people who have trauma with or without noticeable nerve damage. CRPS, also referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), can affect anyone. However, women and those between the ages of 20 to 60 are more likely to suffer from the constant pain and crippling effects associated with the condition. Over the last few years, cases involving children with CRPS have increased. Though it is considered a rare condition by the medical community, it is thought that millions of Americans suffer from the symptoms of CRPS/RSD on a daily basis.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a widely misunderstood condition for which there is no known cure. It is a condition that reflects a dysfunction of the nervous system with symptoms that cause continuous, often incapacitating neuropathic pain in those who suffer from it. Those with CRPS / RSD often experience pain so excruciating that it becomes nearly impossible for them to hold a job and live a normal life. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy involves more than the physical pain that cripples its victims; its influence spreads into the realms of the psyche and damages the fabric of relationships. What=s more, the physical symptoms can spread to other portions of the body. Physically, the person oftentimes cannot move without feeling as if the pain is consuming the affected limb or other body part. Mentally and emotionally, the never ending pain felt by the individual suffering from CRPS can cause misunderstandings between themselves and loved ones, as well as medical staff, employers, and friends and frequently results in the self‑imposed isolation of the sufferer.
While the pain of CRPS can vary in intensity and many of its sufferers experience better and worse days, CRPS consistently rates at the top of medical pain scales. Indeed, the pain of CRPS can become so bad that injured patients will literally beg their doctors to have the affected limb(s) amputated. Suicide of persons afflicted with this pain is often reported in the medical literature.
Why You Need the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel for Your CRPS Lawsuit
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a condition that stems from an injury often sustained through another person=s negligence. Treatment for CRPS is ongoing and can be very expensive, with the cost of some procedures reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Understandably, many with CRPS/RSD find it difficult to keep up with their medical bills in addition to their regular expenses. As financial pressures can cause the sufferer additional anxiety, the pain and other symptoms associated with their CRPS / RSD may be exacerbated as a result of the added stress.
The experienced New York CRPS/RSD legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel have worked with numerous individuals suffering from CRPS/RSD and understand the unique challenge that this condition presents.
For those who have suffered their injuries at the careless hand of another, proving that their symptoms (many of which are invisible and/or variable in nature) stem from this reckless act can be daunting. While most attorneys are not very well acquainted with the specifics of a CRPS case, the adept New York CRPS/RSD legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel often can establish the link between CRPS/RSD and an injury suffered because of someone else’s negligence. The Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel understands the costs associated with treating CRPS / RSD and knows that, while the condition may cripple you physically, medical debt should not cripple you financially.
For those who suffer from the debilitating symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome related to an accident or medical malpractice, the experienced New York Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel will fight for the compensation you deserve in your case.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which is also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain condition. It typically occurs in the arms, legs, hands or feet. Its symptoms commonly begin after an injury to the tissues, nerves and bones of the affected limb. These symptoms are characterized by a continuous and intense pain sometimes described as a shooting pain.
Symptoms of this progressive affliction include:
- Chronic pain that gets worse over time
- Burning and tingling in the affected limb
- Increased skin sensitivity
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in skin color and texture (shiny and thin)
- Changes in hair growth
- Cracked, brittle or grooved nails
- Softened bones
- Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
- Spasms and involuntary contraction of muscles and tendons
- Muscle atrophy (withering)
- Inability to move
In 1995, the International Association for the Study of Pain changed the terminology to separate the disorder into two parts:
Type 1, CRPS I or RSD B This form of the disorder arises out of an injury or illness that did not directly damage the nerves in the affected limb. Around 90 percent of patients have Type 1, according to the Mayo Clinic. Type 1 is also called Sudeck=s atrophy, reflex neurovascular dystrophy (RND) or algoneurodystrophy.
Type 2 B Once called causalgia, this form of CRPS is caused by a nerve injury.
Most incidences of CRPS arise from physical trauma, such as accidents, that result in crush injuries and bone fractures. The Mayo Clinic also reports CRPS has afflicted patients after surgery, heart attack, stroke, infection and even something as simple as a sprained ankle.
Since there is no known cure, most treatment of CRPS focuses on managing pain. Anti‑inflammatory drugs and pain killers help in the early stages of CRPS. Exercise helps damaged muscles. Other therapies include injecting nerve blocks (anesthetics) or severing certain nerves (surgical sympathectomy). They also include implanting pain medication pumps (intrathecal drug pumps) and using spinal cord stimulation devices.
In many cases, CRPS causes lifelong pain that eventually leaves the victim permanently disabled. Because CRPS is poorly understood, many doctors fail to recognize the signs of CRPS until it is too late for treatment to provide much help. Sometimes physicians think the patient=s complaints are psychological and fail to prescribe proper medication or make adequate referrals to specialists. That could mean years of wasted time that allows CRPS symptoms to become worse.
While nerve damage often causes CRPS / RSD, musculoskeletal injuries can also cause the condition. CRPS / RSD is divided into two forms:
- CRPS Type 1 is a nerve disorder that occurs in the limbs after an injury
- CRPS Type 2 occurs when there is direct injury to a nerve.
Over 90 percent of CRPS / RSD cases fall into CRPS Type 1, which often occurs after a minor injury. These musculoskeletal injuries cause no obvious nerve damage that explains the intensity of the pain felt.
The remaining 10 percent fall into the category of CRPS Type 2, occurring after a severe trauma to a limb where nerve damage is obvious. This can occur through surgery where nerves are sometime severed in order to access an area of the body, or through nerve trauma from a needle stick or blood donation where the nerve is struck by the needle tip. In other instances, the nerve damage can result from inappropriately administered medications. Since the condition was discovered, physicians have been unable to pinpoint the exact trigger that causes the condition. Some point to a misfiring in the synapses of the nerves, which prolongs and intensifies the pain. Others think that the immune system plays a role, thus explaining the associated skin problems such as redness and swelling. Regardless of the reason, the condition is often devastating to those who must suffer through chronic pain.
Contact the experienced New York CRPS/RSD legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel if your CRPS/RSD is due to another’s negligence.
Injuries that cause CRPS / RSD include nerve damage or trauma and musculoskeletal injuries. Any of these can be due to another’s negligence either through medical malpractice or an accident. If you have CRPS / RSD, contact the experienced New York CRPS/RSD legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel for a free no obligation consultation.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a complicated disease that can affect anyone who has suffered an injury, regardless of the presence of obvious nerve damage. While the condition is associated with a dysfunction of the nervous system, in most CRPS / RSD cases no obvious nerve damage is observed, making the exact mechanism of the intense pain a mystery. What may begin as a minor injury turns into intense pain. Meanwhile, medical bills begin to pile up with each new treatment to alleviate it.
If you have suffered one of the injuries that cause CRPS / RSDCwhether a musculoskeletal injury sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence please contact the experienced New York CRPS / RSD legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel for a free no obligation consultation.
Criteria for Diagnosing:
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I (RSD)
– The presence of an initiating noxious event, or a cause of immobilization;
– Continuing pain, allodynia or hyperalgesia with which the pain is disproportionate to any inciting event;
– Evidence at some time of edema, changes in skin blood flow (skin color changes, skin temperature changes more then 1.1 Celsius difference from the homologous body part), or abnormal sudomotor activity in the region of the pain;
– This diagnosis is excluded by the existence of conditions that would otherwise account for the degree of pain and dysfunction.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II (Causalgia)
– The presence of continuing pain, alloydnia or hyperalgesia after a nerve injury, not necessarily limited to the distribution of the injured nerve;
– Evidence at some time of edema, changes in skin blood flow (skin color changes, skin temperature changes more than 1.1 Celsius difference from the homologous body part), or abnormal sudomotor activity in the region of pain;
– This diagnosis is excluded by the existence of conditions that would otherwise account for the degree of pain and dysfunction.
Who Gets CRPS / RSD?
Everyone is susceptible to CRPS/RSD, though women and those between the ages of 20 to 60 seem most prone to the condition. In recent years, the number of reported cases of adolescents and young adults who are suffering with CRPS/RSD has increased.
The medical community is unsure why some people exhibit symptoms of CRPS/RSD. However, nerve injury is a frequent cause. While anyone who has been injured or had nerve damage has a chance of having the condition, not everyone does.
For people diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, the condition tends to change over time, often for the worse. For those who suffer from immense neurological pain, a diagnosis of RSD or Causalgia can lead them on the path to CRPS treatment. Whether through physical therapy, spinal cord stimulators, drugs, sympathetic nerve blocks, or surgery, treatment can sometimes help lessen the pain.
Since there is no single test to diagnose the condition, CRPS/RSD is a clinical diagnosis based on signs and symptoms. A physician experienced with CRPS/RSD may use your medical history, the results of a physical exam, and other testsCincluding bone scans, x‑rays, and quantitative sensory testingCto determine whether you have the condition.
Once you have been diagnosed, you can begin CRPS/RSD treatment to help lessen the pain and control symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with CRPS/RSD due to an injury caused by the negligence of someone else please contact an experienced New York CRPS/RSD attorney at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel for a free no-obligation consultation.
CRPS / RSD Treatment
Though there is no cure, there are a variety of CRPS / RSD treatments available to alleviate the pain and other symptoms associated with the condition. Many of these treatments are combined to provide comprehensive pain relief; however, an effective combination of treatments for one person may prove ineffective in another. Physicians often prescribe a regimen of CRPS / RSD‑focused physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation, sympathetic nerve blocks, medication, and/or surgery. New innovations in treatment present themselves as the condition continues to be studied by the medical community. However, these advancements come at a price, and many people find themselves unable to pay for the expensive treatments.
Often, when people are overwhelmed by pain in a limb, they inevitably tend to avoid using it as much as possible. While this may cause them to feel less pain, it ends up causing the muscles of the limb to lose strength and atrophy. This causes muscle stiffness, limits mobility of the limb, and may worsen muscle contractions. Physical therapy is a treatment that uses a series of guided exercises to improve the strength and range of motion of the affected limbs. Most effective in the earliest stages of the condition, physical therapy for CRPS / RSD attempts to keep the painful limb from falling into disuse. However, physical therapy is sometimes too painful for the patient to endure. It is generally regarded as most effective when used in conjunction with pain medication or sympathetic nerve blocks.
Physical therapy for CRPS / RSD can sometimes reduce pain and swelling in the limb and reverse the over‑sensitivity to touch that often occurs as part of this condition. Some common techniques physical therapists may use include:
- Applying pressure on the skin to desensitize it
- Pressure wraps or stockings to reduce swelling
- Strengthening exercises
The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that regulates the flow of blood, perspiration, and body temperature. It is also the system that is thought to be at the heart of CRPS / RSD. A sympathetic nerve block may reduce pain and provide relief from excessive sweating and swelling, as well as regulate body temperature.
Sympathetic nerve‑blocks contain an anesthetic that is commonly injected into the neck or lumbar region of the lower back, depending on where the pain is felt. The anesthetic blocks pain in the affected nerves, providing pain relief. Unfortunately, the relief is typically transient and fades as the anesthetic wears off.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation helps CRPS / RSD by sending out small electrical pulses to the affected area to relieve pain. During the surgical procedure, thin cables that run along the spinal cord and a small central device are implanted next to the base of the spinal column. A remote control, operated by the person with CRPS / RSD, sends information to the implanted device. The device then sends electrical pulses through the cables and into the spine; the strength of the pulse and location are controlled by the patient through the remote control.
While this CRPS / RSD treatment sometimes can help in relieving pain, it is considered by many in the medical community and insurance companies as a treatment of last resort. For this reason, it is often not attempted until the later stages and sometimes not covered by insurance companies.
During CRPS / RSD surgery, an implant is placed on the spinal cord or in the affected area to provide pain relief. Some types of surgery for CRPS / RSD include surgical nerve decompression in which the nerves are loosened, providing some pain relief. Another option is peripheral nerve stimulation, in which stimulators are implanted into the spine or affected limbs.
Other Treatment Options
Those who suffer from CRPS / RSD are often given a variety of medications and therapies to try to relieve pain and address the symptoms of the condition. Some of these treatment options include:
Medications: Anti‑inflammatory pain medications, antidepressants, narcotics, anticonvulsants, bone loss medications, and steroids
Topical analgesics: Creams to relieve oversensitivity of the skin
Biofeedback: Using awareness of your body and pain to help control it
Are You Having Trouble Getting Compensation for Your CRPS / RSD Treatments?
Treatment for CRPS/RSD can be expensive. In some cases, insurance companies may not cover physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation, sympathetic nerve blocks, or surgery for CRPS/RSD or Causalgia. If your medical bills for CRPS/RSD treatments are adding up, contact the experienced New York CRPS/RSD legal team at the Law Office of Stephen H. Frankel for a free no obligation consultation