Nobody wants to go through needless tests, procedures and etc and therefore your doctor wants to be absolutely sure the patient does indeed have RSD.
RSD may be initiated by minor injury with or without damage to a nerve I was told. There are several schools of though on RSD. I learned from my doctor that, most literature states that RSD is a dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for our automatic response during fright or flight.
A prolonged activation of this system results in poor circulation, burning pain and pain that feels like electrical shock. Other theories state that RSD is due to increased sensitivity of adrenergic receptors for catecholamines in the affected limbs. Another theory is that RSD is due to an exaggerated inflammatory response after an injury due to free radical damage to the muscles and nerves.
Oxygen derived free radicals or neuropeptides are responsible for the breakdown of our bodies, including the joints, skin and organs. Aging, joint, muscle and tissue inflammation, plus poor functioning of the circulatory system, nervous system and immune system often result from free radical damage.
Other RSD symptoms may include sensitivity to touch, swelling, discoloration, increased sweating, initial warmth followed by coolness to the affected area and limited range of motion. Various neurologic signs may also be present such as weakness, tremors, uncoordination, myoclonus and muscle spasms. Pain is manifestation of RSD but severe unrelieved pain can lead to structural or physical damage. This may occur by vicious cycle of pain-spasm-decreased blood flow-impaired usage-muscle wasting-more pain as in my case.