The Morris Law Firm Blog

April 18, 2012

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in Texas Workers’ Compensation Cases

I first started handling Texas Workers’ Compensation claims in 1996.  During my first year of practice, a lady walked into the office that had been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  The insurance carrier had accepted injuries to her bilateral hands and wrists, but they were disputing the RSD.

At that time it was difficult to even find doctors that were able to treat her symptoms, let alone assist with the causal connection to her compensable injury.  It required a lot of research into how to help her.  Since then we see a few of these cases per year.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Causalgia.  It is a chronic progressive neurological condition that can affect your skin, muscles, joints and bones.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy generally arises from limb that has been injured.  This is true even from what appear to be minor sprain/strain injuries to an extremity.

The symptoms include:

-          Burning pain                                                   -Extreme sensitivity

-          Skin color changes                                       -Skin temperature changes

-          Muscle Spasms                                                -Tremors

-          Weakness                                                        -Migraine headaches

-          Excessive sweating

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is difficult to diagnose.  A thorough history and neurological examination should be done.  The medical provider should note if mild sensory stimuli produces severe pain.  The examination should include notation of swelling and vascular reactivity, overgrown and grooved nails, stiff or weak joints and atrophy.

To be found compensable, you must prove by a preponderance that the RSD/CRPS naturally resulted from the compensable injury.

Daniel Morris

The Morris Law Firm, PLLC


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