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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS) or  Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Reflex Sympathetic dystrophy is also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Causalgia, Shoulder-hand Syndrome and Sudeck’s disease. RSDS is disease of the autonomic nervous system, affecting two or all extremities, shoulder, back, eyes and may spread from one part of the body to the other. RSDS is also a systemic disease involving nerves, skin, muscles, blood vessels, tendons and bones. The incidence of RSDS is connected to trauma (compartments syndrome, fracture, injury with sharp forces et. al), heart problems, infection or surgery.

Symptoms: constant chronic burning pain (stabbing, sharp accompanying by tingling, pain area are hot or cold and very sensitive to touch), inflammation (skin appears shiny, dry, red and increase in sweating), spasms in blood vessels and muscle of the extremities (swelling, dystonia tremor and body fatigue), insomnia/emotional distress, movement disorders, increased muscle tone and reflex, bone changes (demineralization, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and joint stiffness) and general weakness, increased fibrous tissue formation.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a systemic drug having beneficial effect on all body systems affected with RSDS and especially in pain management for overall improved quality of life.

Further reading:
  1. Kiralp MZ, Yildiz S, Vural D, Keskin I, Ay H, Dursun H. Effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome. J Int Med Res. 2004 May-Jun; 32(3):258-62.
  2. Wasner G, Schattschneider J, Heckmann K, Maier C, Baron R.:Vascular abnormalities in reflex sympathetic dystrophy (CRPS I): mechanisms and diagnostic value., Brain. 2001 Mar;124(Pt 3):587-99.
  3. Peach G: Hyperbaric oxygen and the reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome: a case report, Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine, Vol. 22, No 4, pp: 407-8, December 1995.
  4. Lovisetti G, Lovisetti L, Favalli A: Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of Sudeck’s syndrome, Proceedings of European Undersea Baromedical Society EUBS in joint meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands: p109-113, 1990.
  5. Lovisetti G, Lovisetti L, Favalli A: Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of Sudeck’s syndrome, Undersea Biomedical Research, Abstract No.62, Supplement to Vol. 17, 1990.
  6. Oriani G, Tecchio G, Meazza D, Turati A, Tecchio P, Sacchi C, Ronzio A: The Sudeck’s knee syndrome: treatment with Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Proceedings from 10th International Congress of Hyperbaric Medicine in joint meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands: p163-166, 1990.

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RSDS recovery
Karen S, Lady Smith, BC

After the 8th HBO session:  “For the first time in five years, I had no pain and didn’t find it necessary to take my meds…There have been no muscle spasms since my treatment started. My breathing has improved, the nausea has settled and I can see things a little clearer now.”

After the 22nd HBO session: “I (no longer) have RSD pain and no symptom associated with it…My main goal was to have the horrific burning pain reduced…and this has been accomplished in my opinion. I felt that I was ready to take on the world again… I feel that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was a success for me.” 

BMID# 119-0903

Proudly serving Metro Vancouver and British Columbians with hyperbaric oxygen services and wound care since 1999

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 Information contained on this site is intended for general consumer understanding and education. It should not be used as a substitute for any medical professional opinion, advice or prescribed medication nor should it serve as diagnosis or treatment of health problems.