Central pain syndrome

Introduction by Ohio Brain Injury Lawyer David Chester, founder of Chester Law Group Co., LPA

Central pain syndrome often accompanies car, truck and motorcycle accidents creating long-term chronic pain. The complexity of brain anatomy makes it difficult to diagnose and repair. If you are in a car, truck or motorcycle accident make sure you have a brain scan done immediately and continue to follow through with more scans as traumatic brain injury tends to be progressive.

Author: Susan Ardizzoni Ph.D.

Central pain syndrome (also known as thalamic pain syndrome) is a neurological disorder in which the body becomes hypersensitive to pain as a result of damage to the thalamus.

The thalamus, a brain pain center, is an area of the brain where all sensory fiber information goes coming from the body. All roads from the body lead to the thalamus and then go on to the neocortex. Symptoms of thalamic damage include pain and loss of sensation usually in the face arms and/or legs. In fact, trauma to the thalamus sensitizes pain systems.

Depending on the area of the body affected, pain can affect a specific part of the body or affect the entire body. Pain can be constant and made worse by touch, movement, emotions and temperature changes. Burning pain is common, pins and needles and possibly extreme bursts of sharp pain. Treatment involves prescription medication followed by cortical stimulation and/or injections.

Sensory (pain) nerves and motor nerves behave differently. An injured motor nerve carries less current than an uninjured one. This just means less motor output and not overly a problem and no pain sensation.

On the other hand injured pain (sensory) nerves do exactly the opposite. They increase their signal and eventually gain power over neighboring uninjured neurons which begin to fire on their own without any input from the body. This process can become so extreme that the thalamus receives massive bursts of inputs from these sensory nerves from the body.

Too many inputs spells neuronal cell death and the thalamus shuts down. Central pain occurs at this point. This allows for ungated pain signals to reach the cortex causing excruciating pain (the pain beyond pain). Once traumatic injury occurs further inputs continue to do damage such as touch and temperature changes.

Read below for further explanation.

Light touch – this brings about pain that is persistent. These patients tend to wear little clothing to avoid various textures from rubbing on their skin. Quite often this generates burning pain which does not occur when a stimulus is first experienced. This can happen with light touch, texture or heat.

How much burning pain is felt depends on how much area is affected with the stimulus. Much of this is experienced with distal areas of the body.

Central pain can also be experienced internally such as in the gut. In this case sharp pain can be experienced in areas where sensation is more acute when gas and digesting of food is occurring. Digestion and gas production produces more pain than normal in individuals that have central pain syndrome. In fact, excessive pain inputs in the gut can provide for feelings of over fullness almost to the point of exploding. These systems are abnormal and respond differently than a normal nervous system.

In the case of a full bladder, the discomfort can be completely unbearable. Catheters are often used to relieve gas pressure and fluid buildup. This can often be controlled by choice of food, intake times and elimination times. Never the less, handling of central pain syndrome is difficult.

Central pain syndrome can be caused by damage to peripheral tissues, brain, brain stem and/or spinal column.

This syndrome is seen with patients that have experienced a stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease or traumatic brain/spinal cord injury. Pain is typically constant, may be moderate-to-severe and is made worse by touch, movement, emotions and temperature changes with a burning sensation the most common experience.

Removal of part of a limb or entire limb generates this and is called phantom pain and begins shortly after the injury but may be delayed by months or even years.

Treatment for this type of pain is difficult and usually involves the use of medications such antidepressants and/or anticonvulsants and lowering stress levels but will not provide complete pain relief.

Central pain syndrome is not a fatal disease but causes disabling chronic pain and long-term suffering.

Susan Ardizzoni Ph.D.

If you’ve been in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and your brain/spinal injury was caused by the carelessness of another person, you may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. These types of accidents often involve long-term rehabilitation and severe pain so you need to consider continued medical care and loss of your ability to earn wages in the future.

You should contact an experienced Ohio brain injury lawyer at the Chester Law Group. This personal injury law firm is experienced in car, truck and motorcycle accidents involving spinal/brain injury and can guide you through a personal injury settlement. It is important that you consult with an attorney before you attend a Defense Medical Exam (DME) and don’t ask a doctor for advice. Your brain injury lawyer will advise you every step of the way. Call the Ohio brain injury attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help you want from people that you can trust at 800-218-4243 or visit their website at http://www.chesterlaw.com.

Chester Law Group has 16 offices across the state of Ohio. These offices are in Akron, Amherst, Beachwood, Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Independence, Medina, Mentor, Ravenna, Toledo, Twinsburg, Warren, Wooster and Youngstown.