Disability Benefits for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

North Carolina Disability Social Security Attorney - Bishop Law Firm
By Kimberly BishopFebruary 10, 2015

This post discusses Social Security Disability benefits for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS). If you are unable to work due to RSDS, read on for how SSA will evaluate your claim for disability.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (a.k.a. complex regional pain syndrome) can cause pain, swelling and inflammation in the affected limb. In my clients with RSDS, the arm is the most affected limb, but the foot, leg or hip can also be affected. The pain can be worsened by emotional stress. Tissue wasting and muscle contracture can also occur if RSDS is allowed to progress. Via The Mayo Clinic

The exact cause of RSDS is not understood but nerve injury, trauma, surgery, cardiovascular disease or radiation therapy can precede RSDS. Via WebMD. There is not a specific test for RSDS but usually bone scans, sympathetic nervous system tests, x-rays, MRIs or a physical exam are done. Also Via The Mayo Clinic.

Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms since there is no cure. Your doctor may prescribe topical analgesics, antidepressants, corticosteroids, opioids, physical therapy, sympathetic nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulations, or intrathecal drug pumps to deliver opioids and local anesthetic agents via the spinal cord. Via NIH.

There is not a specific listing for RSDS but the Social Security Administration does layout the criteria for evaluating RSDS under SSR-03p. SSR-03p (simply put) requires you to prove that you have RSDS; that it stops you from working and will stop you from working for a year or more. RSDS can be can be "established with persistent complaints of pain that are often out of proportion to the severity of any documented precipitant and one or more of the following clinically documented signs in the affected area: swelling, autonomic instability, etc."

In my experience, clients must continually report their pain to their doctors to receive a diagnosis of RSDS. Frequently a person's limb never recovers from what should be a routine surgery or common injury.

If your Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome is preventing you from working, file a claim for disability benefits as soon as possible and call The Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!


  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/basics/complications/con-20022844
  2. http://www.webmd.com/brain/reflex-sympathetic-dystrophy-syndrome
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20022844
  4. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm
  5. https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0424580025#b
  6. https://www.disabilitylawfirmnc.com/apply-for-social-security-disability-benefits-in-raleigh-cary-and-durham/

Why Choose
The Bishop Law Firm
Disability & Injury

Disability & Injury Law is all we do.
We keep you informed.
We don’t get paid unless you do.
Local. Dependable. Knowledgeable.
Free Case Reviews