Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Massachusetts Workplace Disability Lawyers

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates have over 20 years of experience recovering benefits for injured workers. Our Boston-based lawyers are established advocates for workers’ rights and fair compensation. We strive to provide invaluable representation to our clients in a wide variety of complex injury cases.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) causes severe, burning, and chronic pain. RSD generally refers to Type I CRPS, which refers to when the cause of the nerve injury is still unknown. Type II CRPS is caused by a distinct “major” nerve injury. RSD is often characterized by pain that is out of proportion to the severity of the injury. Rather than healing, the pain worsens, often spreading to the arms and legs. The disorder can be difficult to diagnose and still has no cure. Physicians can merely look for signs of RSD and treat superficial symptoms by alleviating pain.

RSD Causes and Symptoms

RSD is often tied to a preceding injury or illness, although its exact cause is unknown. Common triggers include infection, cancer, cardiovascular problems, and pressure on a nerve. Doctors believe that RSD may be linked to the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in sustained pain, regardless of the injury’s magnitude. Symptoms of RSD may include:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Tissue swelling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Change in skin color
  • Redness in affected limb
  • Skin temperature changes
  • Abnormal hair or nail growth
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Taught, stretched, shiny skin
  • Decreased mobility, function

Although physicians can prescribe opioids and steroids to treat the symptoms, the prognosis for RSD is grim. No drug therapy has been known to produce long-term improvement. Physical therapy likewise helps with edema by stimulating blood flow to the skin, but remission is likely. Patients sometimes experience irreversible, crippling changes in spite of treatment.

RSD Treatment Costs

Massachusetts law provides workers’ compensation benefits to workers who suffer RSD caused by a work-related injury. Because RSD is chronic, employees may be entitled to benefits if the injury was triggered or exacerbated on the job. Weekly cash payments are essential to recovering lost income from missed work, and for compensating employees for medical expenses, including those related to:

  • Prescription medication
  • Sympathetic nerve blocks
  • Anesthesia injection therapy
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Electric stimulation of spinal cord
  • Biofeedback awareness techniques
  • Psychological evaluation, counseling
  • Implantation of abdominal pain pump

The need for extensive treatment and inevitable loss of function make the worker eligible for various types of benefits, including partial or total incapacity and temporary or permanent disability. Employers and insurers are required to provide financial support to injured workers until the RSD heals, allowing their return to work.

Payment of Benefits

Massachusetts law requires that workers report on-the-job injuries like RSD promptly after an illness or accident occurs. Insurers then have a deadline to accept or deny the claim. The Department of Industrial Accidents resolves workers’ compensation disputes through administrative hearings and appeals. The amount of compensation awarded depends on the severity of the disability and whether workers can resume the same or comparable employment.

Consult Experienced Counsel

If your RSD was caused or exacerbated by a work-related injury, contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates today. Because deadlines are important to preserve your claim and right to relief, time is of the essence. For over 20 years, we have been dedicated to recovering the fullest compensation possible for injured workers across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.