Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, also known as RSD, is a condition of burning pain, stiffness, swelling, and discoloration of the hand. RSD includes other medical diagnoses such as casualgia, Sudeck’s atrophy, and shoulder-hand syndrome. RSD occurs from a disturbance in the sympathetic (unconscious) nervous system that controls the blood flow and sweat glands in the hand and arm.
When the nervous system becomes overactive, burning pain is felt and swelling and warmth are left in the affected arm. If not treated, RSD can cause stiffness and loss of use of the affected part of the arm.« Back to Glossary Index