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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Your Pennsylvania SSDI Claim

Complex regional pain syndrome is more complex than you would believe

We have been talking lately about people who have become disabled because of a poorly understood chronic pain disorder called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). As you may recall, most cases of this ailment start with a relatively minor injury: a cut, a bruise, a sprain, or the like. In the days that follow, the pain from that injury doesn’t fade away. It becomes fiercer and spreads wider—and sometimes moves to a different part of the body altogether. After months of pain, the patient may no longer be able to move the affected muscles, which wither and die.

In fact, what modern medicine now calls complex regional pain syndrome is a catch-all term for two ailments that were recognized much earlier. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)—now often called CRPS type 1—is usually triggered by injury or illness, but the injury does not affect the part of the body that later experiences pain. Causalgia, or CRPS type 2, is triggered by a specific injury to the nerves in the area that later becomes painful.

It gets even more confusing. Doctors may use the terms complex regional pain syndrome and reflex sympathetic dystrophy interchangeably, or may use other terms entirely. Because medical science doesn’t clearly understand what causes these afflictions, and because diagnoses usually come only after all other alternatives have been eliminated, there is a great deal of confusion of how to classify these illnesses.

How the Social Security Administration handles reflex sympathetic dystrophy claims

Of course, the confusion doesn’t make it easier to secure approval for your Social Security disability claim if you have a chronic pain condition. The good news is that the Social Security Administration has heard of both CRPS and RSD and recognizes that they can be disabling medical conditions.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides income support for people who have paid Social Security taxes during their extensive work experience. It provides monthly income without considering assets or other non-employment income. Applicants must be able, however, to prove that they meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability,” which can require extensive documentation. Most people who apply without professional guidance have their claims denied.

At Schmidt Kramer, our Social Security attorneys in Harrisburg have helped hundreds of clients claim the disability benefits they deserve for chronic pain and other disabilities. We can assist you in filing and documenting your initial application or handling the appeals process if your claim has already been denied. To schedule a FREE, no-obligation case review, call us at 717.888.8888 locally or 888.476.0807 toll-free.