Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a rare condition that doctors now categorize as a type of complex regional pain syndrome. Because of this, medical communities refer to it as CRPS type I or CRPS-I. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy makes up almost 90% of cases of CRPS. The signature symptom is intense pain that is disproportionate to any stimulus. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is different from other types of CRPS because it occurs when there are no signs of nerve damage.


1. Pain

CRPS and reflex sympathetic dystrophy specifically feature pain that originates deep within the limbs. People who experience the pain describe it as a stinging, tearing, or burning sensation. In some cases, a light touch on the skin of a person with reflex sympathetic dystrophy causes extreme pain. Some individuals even develop complete sensory loss. Many reports describe becoming progressively numb.

severe limb pain sensation Jan-Otto / Getty Images

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