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Traditional Chinese Medicine For The Treatment of RSD

by Lygia Angel What is RSD? Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) is an injury disease caused by strain, sprain, or surgery. If left untreated, RSD can and usually does spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms of RSD usually begin within a few weeks of the original injury. Typically, a patient begins complaining of severe pain and / or a burning sensation that may or may not be where the injury occurred. RSD Can Be Diagnosed Using the Following Criteria: • Altered blood circulation in the toes but normal blood circulation in the foot. • Altered skin discoloration. • Changes in bone density and bone structure on x-rays. • Abnormal sensory nerve testing. • Temperature differences between the hand and the foot. • Increased reaction to cold temperature. • Allodynia- Pain due to a stimulus when the stimulus does not normally cause pain, such as a burning sensation felt when bedcovers are placed over the feet. How does Traditional Chinese Medicine Treat RSD? The first thing we do regardless of the condition is diagnose the person’s total constitution. This means looking at the total person’s total body pattern. I look at the person’s skin, hair, eyes, ears, etc… The bowel, urinary, digestive, and musculoskeletal functions are also analyzed. Sleep patterns and mental and emotional patterns are also taken into consideration. A major tool for diagnosing a person’s constitution is looking at the tongue and feeling the pulses. The segments of the tongue are believed to represent the internal workings of the body. There are also three pulse positions on each wrist that represent different organs. A practitioner feels these organ pulses at different levels to determine the depth of the imbalance and in certain organ areas. Constitution of My RSD Client My client had a leg injury that turned into RSD. After suffering a large laceration on her lower leg, she had her leg stitched up and was sent on her way with pain medication. Soon her condition became chronic, and as a result she was heavily medicated to deal with pain. She had burning and stabbing pain, along with extreme sensitivity to cold. She could not have any material rub up against her leg because it would cause her pain. The skin around the injury was scaling and she had referred pain all the way up the leg. Her hips were out of alignment due to limping on the injured leg. Healing The first order of healing was to move the stagnant blood out of the area. The client responded quickly to acupuncture treatment. First, the injured area on her leg was surrounded with acupuncture needles to move stagnated blood and bring blood flow to the area. In traditional Chinese Medicine, needles applied to a local area of pain are called “ashi” points. You can think of the word “ashi” as meaning “ouch.” The ashi points got rid of my client’s burning and stabbing pain. Traditional Chinese Medicine attributes the burning pain to blood stagnation, which turns to heat. Needles were also applied to functional points to strengthen her blood and blood flow, as well as regulate the movement of blood and energy in her body. A Testimonial “I was diagnosed with RSD and peripheral damage in my leg. I have seen more than five different doctors in the last two years, from internists to neurologists, orthopedic and pain management doctors,” says the client, who prefers to remain anonymous. “I was looking for an alternative choice for treatment. The best decision I have made in two years is coming to see Lygia… I am pain-free most of the time… She has also helped me with my allergies, asthma, and arthritis.” Riverwest resident Lygia Angel has a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She practices at the Chiropractic Company in Glendale, Brown Deer and Shorewood. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 10 – November 2002
by Lygia Angel