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Central pain syndrome

Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson's disease. The nature of the pain associated with this syndrome varies greatly from person to person, in part because of the variety of possible causes. Central pain syndrome can affect much of the body or may be more limited to specific areas, such as hands or feet. The degree of pain is usually related to the cause of the CNS injury or damage. Pain is usually constant, can be moderate to severe in intensity and is often aggravated by touch, movement, emotions and changes in temperature, usually cold temperatures. Individuals experience one or more types of pain sensations, the most prominent of which is a burning sensation. Mixed with the burning can be sensations of "pins and needles"; pressing, tearing, or aching pain; and short, excruciating bursts of sharp pain similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning sensation and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often starts shortly after the causing injury or damage, but can be delayed by months or even years, especially if it is related to post-stroke pain. or aching pain; and short, excruciating bursts of sharp pain, similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning sensation and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often starts shortly after the causing injury or damage, but can be delayed by months or even years, especially if it is related to post-stroke pain. or aching pain; and short, excruciating bursts of sharp pain, similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning sensation and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often starts shortly after the causal injury or damage, but can be delayed by months or even years, especially if it is related to post-stroke pain.

Therapy

Painkillers often provide some pain relief, but not complete pain relief for those suffering from central pain syndrome. Tricyclic antidepressants such as nortriptyline or anticonvulsants such as neurontin (gabapentin) may be helpful. Lowering stress levels seems to reduce pain.

Prognosis

Central pain syndrome is not a fatal condition, but the syndrome causes debilitating chronic pain and suffering in the majority of people who have it.

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