Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Social Security Disability

While reflex sympathetic dystrophy is not a listed impairment under the Listings of Impairments, SSA recognizes that it could be a condition that may result in disability. Social Security Ruling 03-02p suggests that reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a chronic pain syndrome most often resulting from trauma to a single extremity. It can also result from diseases, surgery, or injury affecting other parts of the body. Even a minor injury can trigger RSD. According to SSA, the most common acute clinical manifestations include complaints of intense pain and findings indicative of autonomic dysfunction at the site of the precipitating trauma. Later, spontaneously occurring pain may be associated with abnormalities in the affected region involving the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and bone. It is characteristic of this syndrome that the degree of pain reported is out of proportion to the severity of the injury sustained by the individual. When left untreated, the signs and symptoms of the disorder may worsen over time
Obviously, RDS must be diagnosed by a qualified treating physician. After a diagnosis has been made, it is important to establish what limitations result from this condition. If the limitations are serious, pervasive and long lasting, this condition can serve as a basis for disability.

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