Case Study: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Case Study: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Klezmer Maudlin PC

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What is RSD/CRPS?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is “a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems.” According to MedicineNet, RSD involves “irritation and abnormal excitation of nervous tissue, leading to abnormal impulses along nerves that affect blood vessels and skin.”

Animal studies indicate that norepinephrine, a catecholamine released from sympathetic nerves, acquires the capacity to activate pain pathways after tissue or nerve injury, resulting in RSD. Another theory suggests that RSD, which follows an injury, is caused by triggering an immune response and symptoms associated with inflammation (redness, warmth, swelling).

Complex Regional Pain Syndrom (CRPS) is another name for this same condition.

RSD/CRPS can involve a complicated work accident claim. Our office sees dozens of clients each year diagnosed with this disabling condition.


Most recently, a client of ours suffered an ankle sprain in a work accident. The insurance company approved the claim and provided treatment. Once the symptoms worsened and the employee was diagnosed with RSD/CRPS, the carrier switched to another physician, who disagreed with the RSD diagnosis. At that point, our office consulted with an RSD specialist in Indiana who agreed with the diagnosis and presented this new report and the original treating physician’s report to the Judge. The Judge ordered the insurance company to provide treatment consistent with the RSD diagnosis. The insurance company’s effort to limit the claim to merely a sprained ankle failed and our client received her necessary treatment.

Contact us today for a free case review of your RSD claim.

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