Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD)

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a devastating disease that causes intense, chronic pain in the arms, legs, hands, or feet. Sometimes called “causalgia” or reflex neurovascular disorder (RND), CRPS often develops without warning in patients who have suffered an injury.

Those who suffer from CRPS may experience severe pain that makes it difficult to work. And benefits programs like Social Security and Workers’ Compensation are designed to help disabled workers suffering from CRPS cover their medical bills and living expenses. But the intensity and regularity of the pain caused by CRPS can vary throughout the day, week, month, or year, and proving the disability can be difficult without thorough medical evidence.

At Fields Law Firm, our RSD attorneys know it can be frustrating to deal with red tape and paperwork when you’re suffering and in severe pain. We can help you gather medical records and supporting documentation to prove your condition, apply for Social Security and Workers’ Compensation benefits, or file an appeal if your claim has been denied.

It costs nothing to get answers to your questions –

Client Success Story

Our team represented a woman who injured her ankle while working as a gas station clerk. The woman developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and required extensive medical treatment to moderate her symptoms.

Unfortunately, the woman’s doctors found her permanently and totally disabled, unable to ever return to work. We worked with her doctors to make her employer pay for her necessary medical treatment and to compensate her for becoming permanently and totally disabled as a result of her work injury at the gas station.

Our team fought the employer and insurer to obtain a settlement of over $200,000 and to ensure that they continued to pay for her ongoing medical treatment related to the work injury.

CRPS Misdiagnoses

CRPS is often difficult to diagnose. Many people suffering from CRPS see several doctors before they get a correct diagnosis. There is no definitive test for CRPS; however, there are common symptoms that a doctor familiar with the disorder will be able to identify. Treatment consists of medication, physical therapy, and non-invasive surgeries, but it is often ineffective.

Our Workers’ Compensation attorneys in Minnesota have years of experience working with clients who suffer from CRPS. We understand how to properly document the symptoms, conditions, and expenses that can be part of CRPS, including:

  • Ongoing medical treatment
  • Psychological issues, such as depression, caused by constant pain
  • Difficulty working while on powerful pain medications

Fields Law can help you get the right documentation to prove that you have CRPS and are unable to work or are restricted in what type of work you can perform. Call us and speak to a RSD lawyer who will answer your questions and guide you through your next steps. There are never any fees unless we get compensation for you. The call is free, the advice is free, and we’re here to help.

What is RSD?

RSD or “reflex sympathetic dystrophy” is also referred to as “causalgia” or “erythromelalgia.” RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) is considered by most experts to be the older terminology for CRPS or complex regional pain syndrome. It is associated with intense chronic pain that typically affects the arms, legs, hands, or feet. The term “RSD” was coined in 1946 by Dr. James Evans.

Causalgia was first noted in the U.S. during the Civil War, when soldiers with gunshot wounds would experience burning sensations in extremities that were not at the site of the actual wound. They typically recommended amputation in these cases. The earliest cases noted by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, a neurologist during the American Civil War, involved injury to major peripheral nerves. “When Pain Remains,” Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, October 10, 2005 Issue.

RSD is often misdiagnosed due to the complexity of symptoms and lack of doctors familiar with treating RSD patients. The cause of RSD is still not fully understood. However, many sources state that nerve trauma or traumatic injury have been the most historically common causes for RSD/CRPS. Several sources also note that venipuncture, where a vein is punctured for a blood draw or IV tube, can cause a second type of RSD.

RSD/CRPS is also one of the most difficult disorders to correctly diagnose and many people suffering from RSD/CRPS end up seeing several doctors before they get a correct diagnosis. There is no definitive test for RSD/CRPS, however certain common symptoms have been identified so that a diagnosis can be made by a doctor who is familiar with the disorder.

Some common RSD symptoms include burning pain in the affected limb, intolerance to heat or cold, temperature changes in the affected area, color changes, skin changes (skin appears “shinier”), and diminished hair growth. It can be difficult to move the affected body part and people with RSD/CRPS develop a “touch-me-not” attitude about the affected area. Typically, a neurologist will make a diagnosis of RSD/CRPS and then refer the patient to an expert who specializes in RSD/CRPS for confirmation of the diagnosis and treatment with a chronic pain specialist.

The prognosis for people suffering from RSD/CRPS and disability varies for everyone. People with RSD/CRPS can have symptoms that vary throughout the day, week, month or year. It is said by persons with RSD/CRPS that “it has a mind of its own.” Certain people can have unbearable pain and disabling symptoms despite treatment.

There are many alternative treatment options available to patients with RSD/CRPS due to today’s modern medicine. However, that treatment can be expensive. Treatments can include injections, medial branch blocks, medications and spinal cord stimulators. This is why you need to make sure you are getting all the benefits available to you under Workers’ Compensation and disability laws.

How Can I Prove RSD/CRPS Was Caused by Work?

Minnesota Workers’ Compensation attorney at Fields Law Firm can help guide you through the process of getting the right documentation to prove that you have RSD/CRPS and are unable to work or have work restrictions. We have years of experience working with clients that suffer from RSD/CRPS. Many had difficulty receiving a proper diagnosis and continued to suffer as they went from doctor to doctor while their symptoms got worse. We can help.

We understand RSD and complex regional pain syndrome, how to properly document the symptoms and the different issues that can be part of a case including: ongoing medical treatment, psychological issues including depression which is caused by constant pain and the difficulty in working while you are either in excruciating pain or on powerful pain medications.

When to Hire an RSD Lawyer

If you are unable to work because of RSD/CRPS our Social Security Disability lawyers can also help you apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Our RSD lawyers will assist you in getting the medical records and supporting documentation you need to provide the evidence of your RSD/CRPS disability. If you have been denied Workers’ Compensation benefits, our attorneys in MN can file a claim on your case.

We offer a free case review. Our injury and disability attorneys understand how frustrating it is to suffer from the excruciating pain of RSD/CRPS and be denied Workers’ Compensation benefits when you are prevented from working. There are never any fees unless we win your case. We have a proven track record working with clients suffering from RSD/CRPS. Please call Fields Law at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help with your case.