RSD / Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Disability Insurance Benefits Claim

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / RSD is often challenged by disability insurance companies. How Can Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer Assist You?

As disability insurance attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented numerous long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as RSD (reflex sympathetic pain syndrome). Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person with CRPS / RSD must live with on a daily basis. We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by CRPS / RSD.

Not everyone suffering with CRPS / RSD qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medicals records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) / Reflex sympathetic pain syndrome (RSD)?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as RSD (Reflex sympathetic pain syndrome) and also known as causalgia, is a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems and often follows an injury. RSD/CRPS is a multi-symptom, multi-system, syndrome usually affecting one or more extremities, but may affect virtually any part of the body. Although it was clearly described 125 years ago by Drs. Mitchell, Moorehouse and Keen, RSD/CRPS remains poorly understood and is often unrecognized.

The best way to describe RSD/CRPS is in terms of an injury to a nerve or soft tissue (e.g. broken bone) that does not follow the normal healing path. The development of RSD/CRPS does not appear to depend on the magnitude of the injury (e.g. a sliver in the finger can trigger the disease). In fact, the injury may be so slight that the patient may not recall ever having received an injury. For reasons we do not understand, the sympathetic nervous system seems to assume an abnormal function after an injury. There is no single laboratory test to diagnose RSD/CRPS. Therefore, the physician must assess and document both subjective complaints (medical history) and, if present, objective findings (physical examination), in order to support the diagnosis.

There is a natural tendency to rush to the diagnosis of RSD/CRPS with minimal objective findings because early diagnosis is critical. If undiagnosed and untreated, RSD/CRPS can spread to all extremities, making the rehabilitation process a much more difficult one. If diagnosed early, physicians can use mobilization of the affected extremity (physical therapy) and sympathetic nerve blocks to cure or mitigate the disease. If untreated, RSD/CRPS can become extremely expensive due to permanent deformities and chronic pain.

RSd complex regional pain syndrome disability claim

Complex regional pain syndrome occurs in two types with similar signs and symptoms, but different causes:

Type 1 – Previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, this type occurs after an illness or injury that didn’t directly damage the nerves in your affected limb. About 90 percent of people with complex regional pain syndrome have type 1.

Type 2 – Once referred to as causalgia, this type follows a distinct nerve injury. Many cases of complex regional pain syndrome occur after a forceful trauma to an arm or a leg. Other traumas such as surgery, heart attacks, infections, fractures and even sprained ankles also can lead to complex regional pain syndrome.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes complex regional pain syndrome and it can be a difficult diagnosis as it is chronic condition. In some cases the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in sustaining the pain. The most recent theories suggest that pain receptors in the affected part of the body become responsive to a family of nervous system messengers known as catecholamines.

Another premise is that post-injury complex regional pain syndrome is caused by a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the characteristic inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area. Complex regional pain syndrome may therefore be caused by a disruption of the body’s healing process. In all likelihood, complex regional pain syndrome does not have one single cause, but is rather the result of multiple causes that produce similar symptoms.

How the symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) can affect you

Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person. Most commonly, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperature and hypersensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) occur first. Over time, the affected limb can become cold and pale and undergo skin and nail changes as well as muscle spasms and tightening. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible.

If complex regional pain syndrome isn’t diagnosed and treated at an early stage, the disease may progress to more disabling signs and symptoms such as atrophy and contracture.

Complex regional pain syndrome occasionally may spread from its source to elsewhere in your body in the following patterns:

Continuity type – The symptoms may migrate from the initial site of the pain, for example, from your hand to your shoulder.

Mirror-image type – The symptoms may spread from one limb to the opposite limb.

Independent type – Sometimes, the symptoms may leap to a distant part of your body.

Because there is no cure for complex regional pain syndrome, treatment is aimed at relieving painful symptoms so that people can resume their normal lives. The following therapies may be used in combination with one another:

Physical therapy: A gradually increasing physical therapy to keep the affected limb moving may help restore some range of motion and function.

Psychotherapy: Complex regional pain syndrome often has intense psychological effects on people. A person may suffer severe depression, anxiety, or in some cases post-traumatic stress disorder. These conditions can heighten the individual’s perception of pain and make rehabilitation difficult.

Sympathetic nerve block: There are two techniques used to alleviate the pain of CRPS in patients. One technique involves intravenous administration of phentolamine, which is a drug that blocks sympathetic receptors. Another technique involves placement of an anesthetic next to the spine to directly block the sympathetic nerves.

Medications: Various medications are used to treat complex regional pain syndrome, including a topical analgesic, antiseizure drugs, antidepressants, corticosteroids and in some cases opioids.

Spinal cord stimulation: The placement of stimulating electrodes next to the spinal cord appears to help many patients with their pain.

Intrathecal drug pumps: These devices administer drugs directly to the spinal fluid, so that opioids and local anesthetic agents can be delivered to pain-signaling targets in the spinal cord at lower doses than medications received orally. This technique often has decreased side effects and increases the drugs effectiveness.

Surgical sympathectomy: The use of controversial procedure is a technique that destroys the nerves involved in CRPS. Some experts think it is unnecessary and can actually worsen the symptoms of CRPS, while others report a positive outcome using this procedure.

Resources

There are many valuable sources of complex regional pain syndrome information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:

There are numerous charities dedicated to complex regional pain syndrome, prevention and treatment including:

Cases & Claim Tips (7)

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Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

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No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

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When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

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Cynthia B.

I learned in March 2014, that my LTD insurance provider was auditing my case. Two weeks later I received a denial letter. I didn’t even have time to provide the info requests to my doctors much less have them completed and sent back to the LTD company. I promptly called the rep who fumbled about for a few minutes then stated that the letter was mistakenly sent to me. The rep (I’ll refer to him as L) was often rude and aggressive even bordering on threatening on the phone.

They did not contact me from early June, I think, until September when L called me to inform me that my payments had already been stopped and a denial letter was in route. This letter informed me I had not complied in getting information from my Doctors and, he claimed in part that since they were not responsive to the insurance company, I was now in receipt of this denial letter. After all he claimed, I really was just fine (not quoted but implied in my opinion). I had not heard a word from L in 3 months prior to that call. I had been promised I no longer had to talk to L after I complained to the insurance company. How surprised I was to pick up a call from L. He seemed quite pleased to let me know they had already stopped my payments. Long story short, like you perhaps, I was scared and had no idea where to turn. Did I need to find a local attorney? That’s what I started doing. I quickly learned there were a lot of people who had or were currently going through the same thing. Misery really does seem to love company.

I started reading other people’s stories and often ran into the Dell & Schaefer name. I was skeptical. I mean, who chooses an attorney over the internet? I learned there were topics this law firm had placed on You Tube? I intently read everyone of them. I admittedly was impressed as they carefully described the process and what to expect. I read more than once. I called the national number listed. I made my choice when I spoke with Alexander Palamara, Esc. He was very informative, confident and encouraging. All of which I was not feeling prior to that call. I made my decision and never looked back. I knew without question that I would never be able to win this case on my own. I was so naive that I didn’t understand that what I thought was a very reputable and certainly well known Insurance company, would blatantly lie. They did. My attorney learned during the discovery process that they had, had much of the information they said they never got. They had had it for months. I never had to wait for response from Alexander, my attorney. If he was not available, his assistant would contact me. I was always in the loop and well informed. I was still shocked at the glaring discrepancies noted in my filing as opposed to what was noted by the insurance company’s denial letter. Some say, “Trust but verify”. I would Strongly recommend, “Don’t trust And Verify!” Act as early as you are able. Expect to provide your doctors names, addresses and phone numbers and dates. Then expect to be well represented. It’s well worth your time and money to pursue your case with Dell & Schaefer.

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