Q&A: RSD and TMS

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Help! My mum has just been diagnosed with RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) which is causing extreme pain, swelling, sensitivity and colour changes in her foot. This is following on from a fracture about 6 months ago and has worsened since then. Is there any chance that this could be a TMS type injury? It seems pretty extreme as it can cause atrophy of muscles and other physical symptoms so, not just a bit of benign oxygen deprivation. It seems to be the sympathetic nervous system that is going haywire, rather than the auotonomic. I was just about to get her started on the TMS path for her chronic back pain as she certainly fits the bill for the typical Sarno diagnosis. But I don't know whether this should be looked at as a seperate entity.Any help would be hugely appreciated as this is a particularly unpleasant thing to be diagnosed with

Answer by John Stracks, MD

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Practitioner Johns Stracks

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I'm sorry your mother is in so much pain and that things are going badly.

I would say that any time there are visible changes in the tissue (swelling, discoloration, etc.) it makes sense to get a complete medical evaluation.

I have not seen any cases of RSD in my office, but I know that some TMS physicians have and that some patients with RSD have been cured of their symptoms by following a TMS treatment approach.

It's a little bit difficult to know what your mother should do without being able to see her and evaluate her, and I would want to make sure she was completely evaluated. She may want to begin working on her other areas of pain that are more classic for a TMS diagnosis. She may find that she has some success with her RSD as other areas of pain begin to resolve. Alternatively, if she begins to have some success in other areas, she can begin to apply what she has learned to the discomfort she's having in her foot.

Best of luck.

Dr. Stracks


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