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Legal Advice for RSD Claims

RSD/CRPS Injury Attorneys Sacramento, Fairfield and Bay Area

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), is a chronic, painful neurological condition that usually affects your arms or legs. The key symptom of RSD/CRPS is continuous, intense pain out of proportion to the severity of the injury, which gets worse rather than better over time. People suffering from RSD/CRPS experience intense burning or aching pain along with swelling, skin discoloration, altered temperature, abnormal sweating and hypersensitivity in the affected area. Other symptoms include tremors, depression, anger or anxiety and problems sleeping. Every patient with RSD/CRPS has different signs and symptoms that can change from minute-to-minute or hour-to-hour. If you or a loved one is suffering from RSD/CRPS as a result of an injury from an accident, contact the attorneys at York Law Firm, serving Sacramento, Roseville, Elk Grove, Folsom, Fairfield, Bay Area and surrounding areas. Our RSD injury lawyers are ready to evaluate your case and inform you of your legal rights.

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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, usually follows other musculoskeletal injuries related to motor vehicle accidents, infections, sports trauma, surgery or stress in one’s life at the time of injury. During that time, the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) that control these various processes are somehow changed as a result of an injury. Women are more likely to be affected by Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy than men. Although Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60, it can occur at any age. If untreated, it can lead to significant morbidity and a loss of quality of life.

Symptoms of RSD/CRPS

RSD/CRPS symptoms can include one of any combination of the following:

  • Skin discoloration, dryness, excessive sweating or decreased hair growth
  • Swelling of the affected limb
  • Constant pain that ranges from moderate to severe
  • Loss of motion in the affected areas
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Fatigue
  • Migraine headaches

Symptoms often progress in three stages: acute, dystrophic and atrophic.  The acute stage includes burning pain, swelling, sensitivity to touch, joint pain and skin discoloration.  It occurs between the first and third months of the condition.

The dystrophic stage typically involves constant pain and swelling.  The affected limb may also be discolored and feel cool to the touch.  One may also experience muscle stiffness and atrophy (wasting away) of the muscles.  The atrophic stage is characterized by muscle stiffness and weakness.  During this stage, the skin becomes cool and shiny.

Diagnosis of RSD

RSD/CRPS can be difficult to diagnose. Proper diagnosis usually requires information regarding the patient’s medical history as well as a physical and neurological examination. During the physical examination, the physician will observe the skin color and temperature, overgrown and grooved nails, swollen and stiff joints, any swelling and muscle weakness and atrophy. X-rays, skin tests, joint fluid analysis and thermo graphic studies can further help determine if a patient has RSD/CRPS.

Causes of RSD/CRPS

RSD/CRPS has two forms: one is a chronic nerve disorder; the other is caused by an injury to the nerve.  Causes associated with the onset of RSD/CRPS include:

  • Minor or major trauma, although minor trauma that results in a soft tissue injury (such as sprains or twisted ankles) causes RSD/CRPS in 65% of cases
  • Surgery
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Paralysis on one side of the body (hemiplegia)
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Infection

However, in ten to twenty percent of cases, a direct cause of RSD/CRPS is never found.

RSD/CRPS Resources

RSD/CRPS is often debilitating and can be life-altering, affecting one’s ability to function as she once did.  It is important for patients and their families to understand how to live and cope with RSD/CRPS.  The Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association provide valuable information about RSD/CRPS, including current research relating to the condition and treatment options.  You can also visit the American RSD Hope website for in-depth information on RSD/CRPS symptoms, treatment, stages, facts, and other valuable information.

Treatment for RSD/CRPS

Unfortunately, there is no cure for RSD/CRPS, so the goal of treatment is to alleviate any painful symptoms from the condition.  Early diagnosis and intervention are essential to avoid any disabling pain.  This includes setting treatment goals of rehabilitation, pain management and support with extensive psychological treatment.  Therapies which are commonly used include psychotherapy, or therapy for any psychological disorder or condition, physical therapy and drug treatment.  The goals of rehabilitation are to decrease pain, increase the range of motion and to maximize limb function.

Our legal staff specializes in the analysis of medical issues that may result in RSD/CRPS relating to personal injurycatastrophic injuriesmotor vehicle accidents and medical malpractice. The attorneys at York Law Firm, serving Sacramento, Roseville, Elk Grove, Folsom, Fairfield and the Bay Areas, are committed to working with you and helping you understand your legal rights.

Stages of RSD/CRPS

There are two forms of RSD/CRPS. CRPS 1 is a chronic nerve disorder that occurs most frequently in a patient’s arms and legs following a minor injury. CRPS 2 is from an injury to a nerve. Further, there are three stages of RSD/CRPS. The first stage usually lasts one to three months. Patients experience a range of symptoms, including increase hair and nail growth, pain that moves up or down the affected limb, skin that becomes dry and thin, skin discoloration, swelling with warmth or coolness or severe burning with the slightest touch.

Stage 2 begins about 2-3 months after the injury and can last for approximately three months. Symptoms include decreased hair growth, noticeable skin discoloration, spread of swelling and stiff muscles and joints. By stage 3, the patient experiences irreversible physical changes. They can include limited movement and pain throughout the affected limb, contractions of muscles and tendons and muscle atrophy. Depression or mood swings may accompany any of these stages, but commonly accompanies stage 3.

Costs Associated with RSD/CRPS

The costs associated with treatment of RSD/CRPS can be very expensive. The medical literature suggests that it costs approximately $20,000 a year to treat an average patient with RSD/CRPS. This amount does not include the cost of physical, occupational and psychiatric therapy, which substantially increases this base amount.

Contact Our RSD/CRPS Injury Attorneys

You may be entitled to compensation for your losses and medical expenses stemming from your RSD/CRPS injury. Please contact us for a consultation and evaluation of your RSD case. Our personal injury attorneys have offices in Sacramento and Fairfield and serve all nearby areas. Our RSD injury lawyers have a track record of consistent success and would welcome the opportunity to represent you and your family.

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