New York Spine Institute Spine Services

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

New York City & Long Island’s Top Doctors For Reflex Symphatetic Dystrophy

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS), also known as complex regional pain syndrome, is a rare disorder of the sympathetic nervous system that is characterized by chronic, severe pain.*

Board-certified physicians ready and qualified to treat all spine-related conditions are who make up our team at New York Spine Institute. Through diagnosis, they can understand and personalize a treatment plan for every patient in order to provide the highest level of excellence.*

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Why Choose New York Spine Institute

Quality Care

Based upon your specific diagnosis, our experienced doctors here at NYSI, are prepared to give you personalized and high quality. All of this is done in order to make sure that you are aware of your proper treatment options

Industry Leaders

Under the supervision of our medical director, Alexandre B. de Moura, M.D. FAAOS, our spine doctors at New York Spine Institute are industry leaders. All are well versed with knowledge pertaining to various neck and spine disorders that make them prepared to provide all of our patients with suitable treatment options.

Multiple Languages

Our professional staff here at NYSI speak a variety of languages in order to better communicate with our patients. The languages they speak are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Russian. Our team is ready and looking forward to help serve the needs of our patients always.


Understanding the Causes Of Your Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

The cause of RSD is not known. The condition is thought to be a malfunctioning of the sympathetic nervous system, but some researchers are questioning this. Since RSD most often follows trauma to the extremities, some conditions that can trigger RSD are sprains, fractures, surgery, damage to blood vessels or nerves and certain brain injuries.*

RSDS may occur after trauma, surgery, infection, burns, radiation therapy, and/or paralysis on one side of the body (hemiparesis). In some rare cases, RSDS may develop after a heart attack (myocardial infarct). Disorders of the spine, such as cervical osteoarthritis, have also been associated with RSDS.*


Treatment Options For Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

The diagnosis of RSDS may be confirmed by a thorough clinical evaluation that includes a complete history of symptoms and a comprehensive physical examination. Other specialized tests (e.g., skin temperature readings, x-rays, thermographic studies, and bone scans) may also suggest the diagnosis.*


Treatment Options For Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Early detection is key in RSD treatment. The earlier you’re able to catch it, the better your treatment will work. Some cases of RSD don’t respond to treatment. RSD doesn’t have a cure, but it’s possible to recover from many of the symptoms.*

There are several stages of RSD with symptoms that include:

  1. Acute (three to six months): burning, flushing, blanching, sweating, swelling, pain, and tenderness. This stage can show early X-ray changes of patchy bone thinning.
  2. Dystrophic (three to six months): early skin changes of shiny, thickened skin and contracture with persistent pain, but diminished swelling and flushing.
  3. Atrophic (may be long-standing): loss of motion and function of the involved hand or foot with contracture (flexed scarring process), and thinning of the fatty layers under the skin. X-ray can show significant osteoporosis.

Treatments for RSD vary. Certain interventions and medications may help relieve and treat symptoms. You may also seek physical therapy and psychotherapy to reduce the effects of RSD. You may find that your condition improves dramatically with treatment, but some people have to learn how to manage their symptoms.

Interventions for RSD include:

  • spinal cord stimulation
  • pump implantation
  • sympathectomy, either chemical or surgical, which destroys some of your sympathetic nerves
  • deep brain stimulation
  • antidepressants
  • beta-blockers
  • membrane stabilizers
  • muscle relaxers
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Another option may be physical therapy. In order to promote blood flow and strengthen necessary muscles, this can be an excellent way to manage symptoms and help patients improve their quality of life.*

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