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The use of acupuncture in reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome
  1. Joan Hester
  1. District General Hospital, Eastbourne, East Sussex


    Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, also known as causalgia or algodystrophy, clinically presents with pain, swelling, muscle dysfunction and skin changes to a limb. It is usually the result of trauma to the affected limb, which may be quite minor. Three stages of the syndrome are described, associated with increasingly severe symptoms and deterioration of prognosis. Sympathetic blockade is probably the treatment of choice, although acupuncture can be beneficial in the early stages. To be effective, treatment must be started early as the physical changes may become irreversible.

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