Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), previously known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a severe neurological condition that often results from a crush or pressure injury to an extremity. Unfortunately, this very serious condition can result from what is an otherwise minimal injury. It is characterized by severe burning pain to even the lightest of touches, discoloration or “mottling,” abnormal hair growth, temperature change, loss of bone density and abnormal fingernail or toenail growth. It usually affects a person’s arm, leg, hand or foot.

Until about ten years ago, RSD or CRPS was a controversial diagnosis, with some medical experts disputing its validity. However, with objective symptoms that cannot be fabricated, such as temperature changes and loss of bone density, there no longer appears to be controversy about whether this condition is real.

Once a person has RSD or CRPS, it typically worsens and can spread throughout the body. The condition is one the most painful long-term ailments. According to the McGill pain scale, it scores a 42 out of a possible 50, indicating more pain than childbirth or amputation.

RSD or CRPS not only causes physical symptoms, but psychological problems as well. A reduced quality of life and impaired ability to work are common with this condition and often lead to anxiety and depression. There is also evidence that this condition affects the part of the brain controlling memory, behavior, motivation and sense of smell. For some, this poor quality of life has led to high rates of depression and suicide among sufferers. In response, there have been efforts to increase awareness about this condition.

Importantly, however, very few doctors are adequately trained on how to treat RSD. If it is not caught and properly treated early, RSD will progress and will leave the injured person with permanent disabling pain and limitations.

At the Jacksonville, Florida, law firm of The Lawrence Law Group, P.A., we have handled numerous RSD cases. For example, we have handled RSD cases including: a client whose foot was crushed by a forklift in a Jacksonville warehouse; a client whose hand was improperly positioned under her body during a lengthy heart bypass surgery while she was under general anesthesia at a Jacksonville hospital; a young woman whose foot was crushed when farm equipment fell and landed on her in Baker County near the town of Macclenny; a woman whose wrist was bitten by a dog near the town of Callahan in Nassau County; and a man whose foot was severely broken in an automobile accident in Clay County near Orange Park. We have also handled numerous workers’ compensation cases involving RSD injuries.

Because of our experience with RSD cases, we can refer our clients to doctors experienced in RSD treatment. Not all pain management doctors in Jacksonville are equally qualified in treating RSD. In addition, we have experience with well-qualified expert witnesses on the subject, including medical doctors, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and life care planners. If you have suffered RSD as a result of an accident, ask our Jacksonville injury lawyers for a free consultation.