Rule #1: When it comes to RSD no two people are the same. What one treatment/medication
works for one person, may or may not work for another. (The same with symptoms. One person may have
2 symptoms and another may have all of them.) RSD is a very individual disease and manifests differently and yet sometimes
the same in people. Meaning that some people have the same type of pain (ie. crushing pain) and both have mottling yet have
no other identical RSD symptoms. Confused yet? ;o)
Here's a few more "rules" to guide you. They're numbered, but not necessarily ranked in order
Rule #2: Don't be quick to assume that a certain new symptom is RSD. You
should ALWAYS use common sense and your telephone to consult with your doctor to see if it is/could be a new RSD symptom
or something unrelated to RSD that should be investigated further.
Rule #3: Any doctor that tells you
RSD can be cured is clueless about RSD and you should run away from him/her as fast as your legs will take you!
Rule #4: Keep an open mind! You may have heard or read that a certain treatment,
medication, etc. provided undesirable results for another person with RSD. Refer to Rule #1!
Rule #5: It's a good idea to keep a journal. It can be a daily journal, weekly
journal or one that simply hosts the dates of any new symptoms or reactions (positive, negative or indifferent) to treatments.
It's also a good idea to write down the names & numbers of doctors you have seen as well as what their specialty is.
Guidelines for interviewing a new doctor:
ask the office if you can have an interview with the Dr.Tell them that prior to taking his/her time for a "first" visit, you
want 10-15 minutes to consult with him/her. For those living far away I realize that this is not practical. Some Drs
will call and give a phone interview.
2. Ask first for his/her
credentials. Find out if s/he has had any "special" training for RSD (ex. pain management courses or CEU's designed to teach
or update on RSD treatment, neurological courses for the same....etc.) Ask him/her how many years s/he has been treating patients
with RSD? These questions will give you an insight into his/her working knowledge.
3. Ask him what HIS/HER
theories are. How does s/he treat RSD at this time and what his/her long-term (ideal) prognosis is for the treatment of RSD?
4. Find out how long
it takes to get an "emergency" appointment, what the office "rules" for refills are and where does s/he send his/her
patients to for after-hours emergencies.
5. ALWAYS ask what
drugs, PT, procedures s/he prescribes or does on a regular basis for MOST patients with RSD. S/He should give you an idea
of his/her style of practice. If s/he can't or if it clashes with everything you have seen/heard, be sure to have him/her
explain why his/her ideas differs. It may be that s/he is one of the cutting edge Drs, and he has already learned
that such and such does nothing proven. Do not assume though, that simply because so and so said "blocks are useless"
or so and so said "such and such drug is not good for RSD" that this is true. RSD is a very individual medical
condition. What works for some may not work for others, so it's very important to keep an open mind. Of course, always use
your best judgement and decide for yourself when it's time to become a little narrow minded too. ;o)