Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as complex regional pain syndrome, is an uncommon type of chronic pain that normally affects an arm or leg. The condition usually develops after an injury or illness that didn't directly damage the nerves in your affected limb.

Many cases develop after a forceful trauma to an arm or a leg, such as a crush injury or fracture. However, other traumas including surgery, heart attacks, infections, and sprains can lead to RSD. Emotional stress can also be a factor. 

The Pain Management Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center offers expert, compassionate care for patients with RSD.

Evaluation and Treatments

Our program provides patients with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatments for RSD, including analgesic, antidepressant, and corticosteroid medications, physical therapy treatments, behavioral therapy, and minimally invasive procedures such as sympathetic nerve blocks. That’s a treatment in which anesthetic agents are injected around the affected sympathetic nerves to provide pain relief, as well as to assess damage to the sympathetic nervous system.