What Causes Central Pain Syndrome?

Causes and Treatments for Central Pain Syndrome

Central pain syndrome is not easily understood by medical professionals or its sufferers. It is a condition where pain itself manipulates the function of the central nervous system, making the body over-sensitive to stimulus. Even a casual touch can trigger excruciating pain! Read more below to discover the causes of central pain syndrome and possible ways to treat it.

  • Central Pain Syndrome (CPS) affects the parts of the central nervous system comprising the brain, brainstem and the spinal cord. Central pain syndrome is a neurological disorder, which is triggered due to the damage caused to the central nervous system following a stroke, brain hemorrhage, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, Epilepsy, brain trauma or tumors, etc.
  • CPS leads to different types of symptoms like burning feelings, numbness, the sensation of prickling and tingling also called as ‘pins and needles’. Some may also experience a mix of pain sensations such as freezing, shocking and even flare-ups of unbearable pain. There may also be a loss of sensation particularly in the face, arms and legs.
  • The intensity and extent of pain vary among people with central pain syndrome as it can be constant but mild or severe for some.

There is no cure for this condition and symptoms may generally develop immediately after the damage or over a period of time and can vary among individuals.

What causes Central Pain syndrome?

Usually, the body’s initial protective response to a damaging stimulus is pain. For instance, the body’s response on touching something scaldingly hot. In the case of CPS, there is no harmful stimulus, but just a perception of pain. This is created due to the damage caused to the thalamus of a part in the brain which monitors the sensory signals throughout the body.

Nearly three million people in the United States alone suffer from the Central Pain syndrome. Click To Tweet This information is from an estimate provided by the Central Pain syndrome Foundation. Central pain syndrome can be difficult to diagnose as no single test can evaluate it. However, doctors generally review symptoms, medical history and conduct a relevant physical examination.

Can Central Pain Syndrome be treated?

Treating central pain syndrome can be another challenge as traditional pain medications provide insignificant relief from pain for many. However, it is still considered to be primary measure in treating central pain syndrome.

Pain Lowering Medicines in CPS Treatment

Pain medications provide relief from pain but not entirely. However, tricyclic antidepressants (nortriptyline) or anticonvulsants (neurontin) can be useful in reducing pain.[tie_full_img]What Causes Central Pain Syndrome?[/tie_full_img]

Sometimes taking other antiepileptic or antidepressant medications such as amitriptyline (Elavil), duloxetine (cymbalta), pregabalin (lyrica), carbamazepine (Tegretol), Topiramate (topamax), etc. can help in alleviating pain to a certain extent. Likewise, other products such as transdermal cream and patches, muscle relaxants, sleep aids and sedativesmay help also be suggested to provide relief from pain.

Taking medications only helps in reducing pain but does not have a curative effect. Doctors usually examine responses to different medicines and will try to work out different medications in combination to see which will work best for the patient.

Investigative therapies in CPS treatment

Stress Reduction Techniques: Stress can influence pain to a certain extent as some people do find temporary relief from pain with stress reducing techniques such as acupuncture. Although there is no scientific evidence in its support, due to its negligible side effects it can still be used to treat CPS. Other factors such as supportive care groups, electrical stimulation through the skin, rehabilitation and psychotherapy are also prescribed as other treatment options.

Neurosurgery: If the patient does not respond well to pain medications then neurosurgery is considered as the last alternative. It involves deep brain stimulation through an electrode which is implanted in certain areas of the brain, for it to send stimulation to the pain receptors.[tie_full_img]What Causes Central Pain Syndrome?[/tie_full_img]

These investigative therapies do have a solid base to prove their benefits, but they might even work out for some individuals. However, further studies are required to provide evidence on their efficacy in treating Central Pain Syndrome.

Click here to read more about Central Pain Syndrome.

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