REVIEW – November 2003

Posttraumatic reflex sympathetic dystrophy


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Posttraumatic reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or complex regional pain syndrome 1 (CRPS 1) is characterised by severe pain syndrome, and functional disorders in the damaged region, associated with trophic disorders of altered tissues. The detailed pathogenesis of RSD is unknown; the hyperactivity of sympathetic nervous system may be the cause of severe pain and trophic alterations. In many cases blocking of the ganglion stellatum with anesthetics relieves pain. RSD may often develop after distal radius fracture in women.
Treatment of the syndrome must be complex: pain relief, blocking of sympathetic hyperactivity, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and physical exercises. The patient should actively participate in treatment process. Unnecessary immobilisation after trauma may aggravate RSD symptoms.