Millions of people around the world suffer from central pain syndrome. The condition causes disabling chronic pain and suffering, and the symptoms can be debilitating, limiting your ability to perform daily tasks. Central pain syndrome affects your quality of life, and pain medications give little or no relief.

While pain is a protective response to a harmful stimulus, in central pain syndrome, the pain is not a response to a harmful stimulus. It’s a different pain condition where pain radiates from the brain, not the peripheral nerves.

Central pain syndrome occurs due to damage to the sensory pathways along the central nervous system. The damage stimulates pain receptors in the brain to send and receive false signals.

What is Central Pain Syndrome?

It is a rare neurological condition caused by injury to or dysfunction in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord.

The pain you experience with this syndrome is constant and varies in intensity. It can be moderate or severe depending on what’s causing this condition. The pain worsens with;

  • Touch
  • Emotions
  • Movement
  • Temperatures

Causes Of Central Pain Syndrome

The condition can be due to defective pain signal transmission or a malfunction in the brain’s pain transmission. Other causes include;

  • Stroke
  • Tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain or spinal cord trauma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Limb amputations


You may not experience symptoms immediately after injury to your central nervous system, but in some cases, pain presents immediately after injury. Symptoms can appear months or years after damage to the central nervous system.

The symptoms vary from person to person depending on the underlying cause; in some cases, the pain is vague and hard to characterize.

The symptoms include;

  • A mixture of pain sensations like;
  •   Constant burning sensation
  •   A steady burning sensation that increases with touch
  •   Pain that increases with temperature decrease
  •   Pain on one side of the body, from the head to toes
  • Loss of sensation on the face, arms, and legs
  • Hypersensitivity to pain stimuli
  • Itching

Diagnosis of Central Pain Syndrome

The condition is hard to diagnose due to the failure to identify where your pain originates.

To diagnose this condition, your doctor or neurologist will take a thorough medical history and perform a physical examination.

Then they will order tests to confirm the diagnosis and locate the damage. Tests like;

Treatment Options

The typical pain medications that treat chronic pain, like NSAIDS and narcotics like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone, provide no relief in patients with this condition.

The available treatment options are;


Your doctor will prescribe medicines that modulate neurotransmitters in the brain to control central pain syndrome. These medications are;

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants


The doctor will recommend a surgical procedure if you are not getting pain relief while using medications. Surgical procedures for central pain syndrome include;

Deep brain stimulation

During deep brain stimulation, the doctor implants electrodes that produce mild electrical impulses in certain parts of your brain.

Motor cortex stimulation

It’s a surgical procedure where your doctor will implant electrodes on the surface of your brain to control pain signals.

Get Help From Southeast Pain And Spine

Visit our website to learn more about managing chronic pain. If you suffer from central pain syndrome, fill out the form below to book a consultation with our pain management doctors.

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