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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS) Message Board


Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) (CRPS) Board Index


Hi FrenchFri.

I have RSD in my feet, and Raynaud's in my hands and feet, so I think I may be able to offer some insight. I can at least explain my perspective, and you can measure that against your experience.

The RSD pain is constant, and it is searing. In the morning it feels like it's painfully burnt and swollen:think of that frightfully red chubby tourist who fell asleep in the sun and now moves like a dehydrated lobster. As the day goes on (starting around noon) it feels like I have burn blisters coating my skin and every little movement is like an action against that blistered, oozing skin. A sock feels like burlap (on burn-blistered skin). When my feet get cold, that feeling is like sitting that oozing, blistered skin in front of a roaring fire. And not being able to leave. That's CRPS.

Raynaud's is absolutely weather & temperature affected: body position, lack of exercise and diet/medication can also affect blood circulation, which affects Raynaud's, but let's not split hairs. If my home is warm I wake up with swollen hands (yes, the rings don't usually make it on), but the colouration is normal. As I sit and type this my fingers are colder than my spouse's, but colour is fine. In the short walk to the subway my hands and fingers will turn orange/red/and blue and feel like I'm holding snowballs if I don't wear gloves or pocket my hands (it's about 7 degrees C here). But it's my baby toes that can take the worst of it: if they are allowed to get cold/wet repeatedly, I will form chilblains (exterior ulcers that are murderous when on toes). I went through 6 doctors and several medications before I finally asked my CRPS doctor about it: he prescribed Nifedripine/Adalat 30XL, I bought Soft Moc's version of those unflattering Australian anti-sex boots and followed the 'allow extremeties to warm naturally (use towels/socks not heating pads/hot water' rule and haven't had the chilblains reappear, so that's major progress. Things that are good for your heart rate: garlic, cinnamon, spicy foods, ginger, onion are all good for combating Raynaud's & preventing painful manifestations.

To simplify: CRPS is all the time and ranges from migraine to 'they're burning me at the stake' level in the course of a day, or minute. Raynaud's is comparatively annoying yet, unless you develop chilblains, then you have considerable pain. Management of Raynaud's is like cactus-care - anyone can do it :)





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