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Treatments for RSD

Getting proper RSD treatment can help relieve painful symptoms so that patients can maintain a high quality of life. Common treatments include psychotherapy, physical therapy, and medications. Many doctors believe that early treatment is helpful in limiting RSD, but this has not yet been supported by evidence from clinical studies. Other treatments that offer relief include sympathetic nerve blocks, intrathecal drug pumps, and spinal cord stimulation.

Treatments for RSD: An Overview

Because there is no cure for RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), treatments are aimed at relieving painful symptoms so that people can resume their normal lives. The following RSD treatments are often used:
 
  • Psychotherapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Sympathetic nerve block
  • Surgical sympathectomy
  • Intrathecal drug pumps
  • Spinal cord stimulation.
     
Psychotherapy
RSD often has profound psychological effects on people and their families. Those living with RSD may suffer from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which heighten the perception of pain and make rehabilitation efforts more difficult. Among other things, psychotherapy often helps people with RSD deal with the stress of the disease and discover ways of coping.
 
Physical Therapy
Another option for treating RSD is physical therapy. A gradually increasing exercise program to keep the painful limb or body part moving may help restore some range of motion and function.
 
Medications
Many different classes of medication are used as treatments for RSD, including topical analgesic drugs that act locally on painful nerves, skin, and muscles; antiseizure drugs; antidepressants; corticosteroids; and opioids. However, no single drug or combination of drugs has produced consistent long-lasting improvement of RSD symptoms.
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