Despite a severe rain storm, I had the opportunity today to meet with the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”) support group that meets in Nesconset. RSD, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”), is believed to be a nervous system malfunction that develops in response to trauma. I was told that relatively few members were able to attend the meeting because their pain is significantly worse on cold and rainy days.
When a claimant with CRPS/RSD applies for disability benefits, it is important to show the existence of a medical condition that can reasonably be expected to result in the disabling pain. With CRPS/RSD, the trauma that ultimately resulted in the pain should be established with clinical treatment records, operative reports and diagnostic testing.
The subjective nature of the pain should also be addressed. The claimant needs to explain the nature, location and precipitating factors of the pain. For example, that fact that one's pain is much worse when it is rainy or cold is significant because that might preclude outdoor work. Claimants can also objectify their pain by specifying the pain medications they take. Furthermore, it is frequently critical to note the adverse side effects of pain medications, which can significantly contribute to an inability to work.