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Central Sensitisation Syndrome

Central Sensitisation is a condition of the nervous system that is associated with the development of chronic pain. When you experience central sensitisation, your nervous system experiences “wind-up” and is regulated in a constant state of high reactivity. This constant state of reactivity lowers the threshold for what causes pain. 


Central sensitisation has two main characteristics, Allodynia and Hyperalgesia. Allodynia is the experience of pain with things that are not normally painful e.g. experiencing pain with touch or massage, because the nervous system is in a constant state of heightened reactivity the brain produces a sensation of pain and discomfort rather

than a mild sensation of touch as it should.

Hyperalgesia occurs when something that is usually

painful is perceived as much more painful that it

should be e.g. a simple bump on the arm might be

mildly painful, however is extremely painful to

someone with chronic pain. Some chronic pain

patients can think that they are going crazy because

they understand that a simple bump on the arms

should not elicit such a painful experience for them.

Other times it is their friends and family who think they going crazy. 


Some additional characteristics of Central Sensitisation include:

  • Heightened sensitivities across all senses, including sensitivities to light, odour and sound

  • Cognitive deficits such as poor concentration and poor short-term memory

  • Increased levels of emotional stress particularly anxiety

  • Feelings of fatigue and malaise


Treatments for central sensitisation typically target the central nervous system and inflammation, this can include antidepressants such as Duloxetine, anticonvulsant medication such as Gabapentin, Medicinal Cannabis cognitive behavioural therapy non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and mild aerobic exercise.
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