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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS) Message Board

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS) Board Index

hi. i was diagnosed with rsd following my 3rd c spine fusion at level c6-c7. i went into surgury and woke up with tremendous burning pain in my hands, wrists up to elbows in both arms. took a few months to diagnos but told by 3 docs and pt and pm doc it was rsd. i am workers comp. anyway, finally went to rsd specialist and he says does not believe rsd cause my nails are not funky and no shiny skin or hair loss on hands. all other symptoms are that of rsd....any one have any ideas??? hope it is not rsd but have all the other symptoms. i was under the impression that funky nails and shiny skin are possible but not always there... thank you, patti
hey patty. just one thing here. that fact that you actually 'woke up' from surgery with this sounds exactly what happened to me after my spinal cord surgery. i just assumed it was all part of my post op pain crap. i mean it was just there ya know(it covered both shoulder blades and an area around my elbow in my left arm only)? it did not pop in down the road like my RSD did that i have in my knee,it was already there when i woke from that surgery which involved cutting into my actual spinal cord.

what i was finally diagnosed with in those areas was actually called "central pain syndrome". it has the most hidious level of burn/sting sensation along with hypersensitivity to touch. light touch actually hurts much much worse than if i took my thumb and pushed it into the affected areas. very insane. but there are NO other signs or symptoms of this even being there at all,unlike my RSD knee which has had very severe swelling and color changes and spots,and heat generating that was around 102 degrees always. but the central area looks exactly normal,totally completley normal.

having that fusion could have just damaged the right area of a particular spinal tract that is called the spinothalamic tract within your cord. just how severe was that herniation and was it in the back(posterior side) of your spine vs the front or side protrusion? depending upon just what that surgeonhad to do and if he actually touched your cord,that thalamic tract has two areas,one at the side of the cord,and one directly behind the spine. this could have been somewhat damaged or just affected somehow during your surgery.

its just the very sudden post op onset of this just like my central was that really makes me wonder if this hasn't been what you actually have had this whole time it was assumed to be RSD only becasue of the over the top type of hidious burn an sting this hell actually has. the pain is very similar in nature to that of RSD but there are NO other signs/symptoms of it.

if i were you,i would simply do a bit of reseach on central pain syndrome and compare your pain and the onset of how this crap just is there at some point and can be immediately post op when there is any surgery done that is close to the actual cord. my central pain i usually describe as feeling like i have a very severe second degree burn(times ten),with all the same exact hypersensitivity to touch or even the air blowing over it can trigger a severe flare,that just never ever goes away.

just having both RSD in my knee and the central in my blades and arm,i can really tell the more detailed feelings and differences between the two hellish syndromes. my RSd pain can get very very 'deep' feeling while the central just feels like my 'skin' its not actually in it or on it,its just 'my skin',you know what i mean? just do that research. there is alot out there on central pain syndrome and other peoples descriptions of it and also how they ended up with it too. many many spinal cord injury patients unfortunetly end up with this same crap too. all it takes is having that one spinal tract actually damaged or somehow affected and it just seems to appear out of nowhere. your sudden onset of this is really really what makes me think it is actually not RSD but central in nature. most RSD cases take at least a bit of time to develop and would not simply 'be there' waiting for you when you woke up from the surgery that would have had to have occured in order just to even be able to aquire it,ya know?

you just really do need to know for certain what this is,from your description of it,it does appear it is following dermatomes that would be dictated from the level of damage in your spine(the area of the direct damage that took place). does this actually encompess the whole entire areas of your arms or does it tend to run more in strips or just certain areas on your arms? you can also look up dermatomes too to see how the nerves innervate just certain areas in our bodies then compare the exact areas of where your pain is the strongest. this could involve your c6-7-8 nerves. what you see with the dermatomes would dictate which nerves were damaged during your surgery too. you have just had alot of activity up there inthat area which could create a much higher risk of this occuring.

what exactly did your MRI state as the area of your damage that required this particular surgery?what was wrong up there and how close to your cord was it? in any of your follow up MRIs that would have been the closest to your post op did they mention anything at all about myelomalacia being present in your cord? do you have a copy of the actual op notes from that surgery when this appeared? if not,get them and read thru them to see what the surgeon did. it may help.

any info you can provide for me would allow me to really help you with this in the best way. thanks,Marcia

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