Last Modified on Feb 12, 2014
Treatment of reflex sympathetic dystrophy ranges from natural supplements to dietary changes. Supplements that naturally block pain and reduce inflammation are effective for treating the condition. Likewise, dietary changes that reduce inflammation and eliminate trigger foods offer relief.
What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?
Also known as complex regional pain syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a rare disorder of the sympathetic nervous system. The condition is characterized by severe, chronic pain that often begins in the arm, fingers or palm of the hand and radiates outward through the body.
While the exact cause of the condition is not understood, it is believed that the condition is caused by excessive or abnormal responses of portions of the sympathetic nervous system. While the condition begins as chronic, radiating pain, additional symptoms include welling or inflammation, skin sensitivity, perspiration and fever.
Natural Treatments for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Treating complex regional pain syndrome involves methods to reduce inflammation and regulate pain. Natural options include nutritional supplements such as apple cider vinegar and turmeric. Dietary changes are also an effective treatment option for reducing pain.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar functions in two ways to relieve the pain associated with the condition. The tonic is a known anti-inflammatory compound that alkalizes the body and reduces pain. Apple cider vinegar also serves as a cleanser that eliminates fungus and other toxins that may be attacking the nerves and nervous system.
Turmeric functions as a natural pain reliever. The spice is rich in curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. When taken daily, the compound offers relief from pain and natural reduces inflammation.
A number of foods contribute to inflammation and chronic pain. Changing the diet to avoid these inflammation-causing foods can be an effective step in treating the condition. A balanced diet should include mainly raw, organic fruits and vegetables and eliminate artificial sweeteners, sugar and flour.
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a condition characterized by chronic, severe pain. While the condition is not entirely understood at this time, many natural treatment options offer relief from the condition. Nutritional supplements as well as dietary changes are among the most effective treatment options.
Apple Cider Vinegar
07/20/2009: Nonni from Cleveland, OH: "Could someone please tell me if they have successfully treated RSD with natural remedies alone? I appear to be in the first stages of this disease and everything I read says that early diagnoses and treatment are critical. However I am learning that the typical way the medical profession treats RSD can cause it to rapidly become worse rather than better. Is anyone treating this on their own and been successful, and for how long have you had RSD? Also, I cannot take any acidic remedies as my system cannot tolerate them. ACV does not work well for me. Thank you for any help."Replies
04/23/2012: Azurezea from Dallas, Tx / Usa replies: "I had RSDS and the medical people only wanted to do the nerve block/cortisone treatment - which I refused. They also offered a nasal spray of Salmon Oil called - Miacalcin 200 iu/ac by Novartis. That was the only thing that the medical did for me.
I used fresh, ripe pineapple to alleviate the pain and burning. The first serving gave me about 20 mins of relief. Then each succeeding serving gave me more and more relief. I stopped eating ALL FLOUR AND SUGAR PRODUCTS. Then upped the enzyme foods (raw fruits & veggies). Also began to use a stimulator at the nerve meridians to stop the constant cycle of pain between the brain and the hand. And used a scrub brush to go in circles on the floor for a few minutes each day of physical therapy. Pineapple is an anti-inflammatory and papaya is also full of enzymes. After a number of weeks, all pain and swelling/burning dissipated.
Hope this helps you to find some blessed relief. If this is not addressed within 3 months, it can become permanent."
[YEA] 05/09/2006: Floyd from Fort Worth, TX: "Heinz apple cider vinegar cured my High Blood Sugar, Weak Muscle Tone, Burning/Tired Eyes, R.S.D. burning & pain in both feet. I have had reflex sympthetic dystrophy in both feet for 8Yrs. No burning, vry litle pain now. Blood sugar Averaged 200/ past ten years. Highest in last 4 Wks: 151. My eyes aren't tired or watering any more. One month ago, when I flexed my muscle on one arm, I could mash it nearly flat with my other hand. I turned 65 Years Old on the first of this month, I feel more like 40, or 45 Yrs. for the last 2 or 3 weeks."Replies
11/26/2008: Steve from Auburn, IN replies: "how much did you take and what frequency?"
04/06/2009: Frances from Murrieta, CA replies: "I have just started taking the Apple Cider Vinegar for a host of conditions. Can anyone share more about the RSD being cured by this product? How much do you take and how many times a day? Has anyone else found anything else that works? Kind regards to all of you that have developed this site and for those that are willing to share."
[YEA] 03/17/2009: Susan from Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia: "Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy:
I have RSD in both feet for 3 years, at least.
These things have helped me:
1. chiropractor but not too often.....once or twice a week. I have a degenerating disk that pushes on my nerves. When this happens, tingling and burning is the result.
2. never eating neuro toxins such as Splenda, Aspartame and MSG. If I eat MSG or Aspartame, my feet will swell, burn and have stabbing pains for 48 hours. Splenda will exacerbate the above and last for 1 to 2 weeks.
3. When I went on the Phase I diet I achieved dramatic, positive results and lost 60 pounds.
4. ACV kills fungus. Fungus can attack our nerves. The antifungal diet and herbal anti-fungals have made my RSD much less severe.
For the Phase I diet, go here: (it is the second question)
Quinoa (keen-wa) was also added recently.
The next thing I plan on trying is shark cartiledge to rebuild the disk. This disk is right where the nerves that control blood flow to the feet are."
07/30/2010: Becky from Elberton, Ga. replies: "I have had RSD for 10 years. I am so looking forward to the ACV helping. I just started this week. I am also over weight and looking for it to help that also. My only hold up is that I do take thyroid med. Hopefully I can get it all worked out together. Thanks for your info!!!"
02/08/2011: Bobby from Ft Lauderdale, Fl replies: "My wife contracted RSD over 15 years ago. She went through 34 nerve blocks. If you are not familiar with this "treatment" the doctor loads a syringe with a chemical that deadens a particular nerve bundle. My wife's was in her chest so they had to use a six inch needle to reach it while she was awake. On 2 occasions they punctured her lung and she was hospitalized. Needless to say this "treatment" was very limited in its theraputic value. After the second near death experience she stopped. There was nothing that would help her and we tried everything. One day I was reading about a Doctor whose son almost drowned in a pool. He wasn't brain dead, but suffered severe neurological problems. He couldn't walk and didn't have the full use of his hands. The Doctor wanted the hospital to try a therapy he had been researching. The hospital refused because it was not authorized for the damage his son had sustained. The Doctor sued the hospital and forced them to administer the treatment to his son. After 45 days his son walked out of the hospital and had regained most of the use of his limbs. The Doctor said that the therapy reinvigorated the nerve tissue. I thought this might be a treatment for my wife. So I researched it as much as possible. The treatment itself is farily benign so we gave it a shot. Unfortunately, the treatment in the US is $200 for one hour. To be effective you need at least 20 treatments over the course of 20 days. Insurance companies will not pay for it as they consider this to be experimental. My wife is from Argentinia, so we contacted her relatives to locate a clinic there. We found one and they only charged $70 per one hour session. 4 years ago she went and had absolutely wonderful results. The buring sensation was reduced as was the overall pain. She still had to take meds, but at a reduced level. She has gone every year and just came back a few months ago after 35 sessions. The difference was astounding. The color had come back in the affected area and she could withstand wind and water. She wasn't cured, but her life has changed dramatically. I would strongly suggest that anyone with RSD try hyperbaric therapy. With this therapy you are placed in a sealed tube where the air pressure is increased by 1 to 2 atmospheres. While in the tank you are given pure oxygen. This is the same treatment that divers are given when they have the bends. Go figure -it works for RSD."
05/28/2013: Ouch La1 from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "I am willing to travel. Can you post details on the hyperbaric treatment in Argentine?"