About

The mission of the Jennifer Schwartz RSD Foundation is to promote awareness, provide support, and serve as a forum where we can share news on research, awareness events, and information on cutting-edge treatments, of this painful neurological syndrome.

While nearly one million people worldwide suffer from RSD, many of them are women, and we need your help. By supporting our foundation, you are not only helping Jennifer, but all those that are suffering. 

What is RSD/CRPS?

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, RSDS, is now referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS. It is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System .

RSD/CRPS is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain that exists today by the McGill Pain Index.

There are FOUR Main Symptoms/Criteria of RSD/CRPS:

1) Constant chronic burning pain (includes allodynia - extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, and vibration)

2) Inflammation (this can affect the appearance of the skin, bruising, mottling, etc.)

3) Spasms-in blood vessels and muscles of the extremities

4) Insomnia/Emotional Disturbance (includes the major changes to the limbic system such as short-term memory problems, concentration difficulties, etc.)

CRPS Type I , formerly known as RSD, can follow a minor nerve injury, a simple trauma (fall or sprain), break or fracture (especially wrist and ankle), a sharp force injury (such as a knife or bullet wound), heart problems, infections, surgery, spinal injuries/disorders, injections, and even some partial paralysis injury cases. As many as 65% of RSD/CRPS cases come from soft tissue injuries; such as burns, sprains, strains, tears, and most of the problems that end in “itis” ; bursitis, arthritis, and tendonitis to name a few.

Early recognition of the disease, correct diagnosis, and proper treatment, are all essential in keeping CRPS from becoming a chronic condition. Treatment must begin within months of onset or significant probability of long-term disability occur.

"Sympathetic nerves are responsible for conducting sensation signals to the spinal cord from the body. They also regulate blood vessels and sweat glands. Sympathetic ganglia are collections of these nerves near the spinal cord. They contain approximately 20,000-30,000 nerve cell bodies.

CRPS is felt to occur as the result of stimulation of sensory nerve fibers. When a nerve is excited, its endings release chemicals. These chemicals cause vasodilation (opening of the blood vessels). This allows fluid to leak from the blood vessel into the surrounding tissue. The result is inflammation or swelling leading to more stimulation of the sensory nerve fibers. This lowers the pain threshold. This entire process is called neurogenic inflammation. This explains the swelling, redness, and warmth of the skin in the involved area initially. It also explains the increased sensitivity to pain.

As the symptoms go untreated, the affected area can become cool, have hair loss, and have brittle or cracked nails. Muscle atrophy or shrinkage, loss of bone density (calcium), contracture, swelling, and limited range of motion in joints can also occur in the affected limb. These are in part caused by decreased blood supply to the affected tissues as the condition progresses."