Sympathetic overactivity Discussion

Signs of abnormal sympathetic nerve function: The finding of unexplained abnormal sweating, color changes, unusual temperature as well as other signs suggest abnormal action of sympathetic nerve control. Commonly acknowledged reasons for sympathetic overactivity include the personal stress experienced from intolerable pain, or from fear of being caught in a deceit, or from an acutely stressful life situation. Alternately, such findings may indicate a preexisting imbalance in the patient's sympathetic nerve control. Such an imbalance is thought to be a risk factor for the unpredictable development of reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which may cause additional stiffness, pain and loss of hand function, well out of proportion to that expected from the initial problem. In some cases, crippling permanent impairment of the upper extremity may arise as a direct consequence of a flare of sympathetic dystrophy. Problems involving the entire hand, arm and shoulder may be triggered even by the simple treatment of an otherwise minor hand problem.

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