The Residual Pain Following Trauma In The Elderly May Be Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

For years, chronic pain following a traumatic event was misattributed to the individuals imagination. Over the last decade, scidentists have made strides in researching the source of this phenomonon and now categorize chronic pain following a traumatic event to be related to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or similarly termed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Chronic Pain Following A Traumatic EventIt is now believed that RSD and CRPS are nerve disorders that are triggered by high or low impact trauma.  The trauma results in physiological changes to the skin, tissue and bone in the area where the trauma occurred.

Particularly among senior, the following events have been associated with the development of RSD:

  • Staff dropping patients
  • Broken bones
  • Falls
  • Infection following the development of bed sores
  • Surguries
  • Bruising
  • Improperly fitting casts

While many people may suffer pain after the above conditions, what differentiates a patient with RSD is that the pain does not go away– even after the apparent injury seems to be healing.

Perhaps the most mysterious aspect of RSD is how differently it affects different people.  For example, RSD may develop in some people who sustained low impact trauma days following the event.  Yet in other people, the onset of RSD may be delayed several weeks or months before a diagnosis can be confirmed.

RSD is most commonly seen in extremities (hands and arms).  Over time, the condition may spread to other areas or the other side of the body.

Some of the frequently encountered symptoms associated with RSD include:

  • Changes in skin coloring where the trauma occurred
  • Extreme burning pain
  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Loss of motor function of the area involved
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Abnormal hair growth
  • Osteoporosis
  • Changes in the texture of the skin
  • Increased swaeting in the area

There is no cure for RSD.  Studies have shown that RSD patients with the highest quality of life typically begin a course of physical therapy within the the first few months after the physical conditions manifest.  Other treatment options include: relaxation techniques, tens units and occasionally surgeries such as the implatation of a spinal cord stimulator or pain pump.

If your loved one has beed diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy following a traumatic event at a; hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility, we would like to speak with you to discuss your legal rights and treatment options.  Speak to an experienced lawyer today. (800) 926-7565

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