Central Pain Syndrome
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NORD is very grateful to Sergio Canavero, MD, Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, Torino, Italy, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Synonyms of Central Pain Syndrome
- central post-stroke pain
- central post-stroke syndrome
- Dejerine-Roussy syndrome (obsolete)
- thalamic pain syndrome (obsolete)
- thalamic syndrome (obsolete)
Central pain syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the central nervous system (CNS). Common symptoms include pain and loss of sensation, usually in the face, arms and/or legs. Pain is often constant and can be mild, moderate, or severe in intensity. Affected individuals may become hypersensitive to painful stimuli. The specific type of pain experience can vary from one individual to another based, in part, upon the underlying cause of the disorder and the area of the central nervous system affected. Central pain syndrome can potentially disrupt an individual’s daily routine. In severe cases, the pain can be agonizing and unrelenting and dramatically affect a person’s quality of life. Central pain syndrome can develop following a variety of conditions including stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, or brain tumors.
For years, it was believed that the majority of cases of central pain syndrome were due to damage of the thalamus most often caused by a stroke. The disorder was frequently referred to as thalamic pain syndrome or Dejerine-Roussy syndrome after two French neurologists who reported on the disorder in the early 1900s. In fact, to some degree central pain became synonymous with thalamic pain syndrome for many years. However, researchers now know that damage to other areas of the CNS can cause central pain syndrome, including cases following a stroke. Consequently, the preferred name for this group of disorders is central pain syndrome to acknowledge that damage to various areas of the CNS (and not predominantly the thalamus) can cause central pain and that a stroke is not necessarily the primary cause. The preferred term for the specific subtype of central pain syndrome caused by CNS damage due to a stroke is central post-stroke pain.
Central Pain Syndrome Resources
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