Central pain syndromes

Deena Hassaballa*, Richard L. Harvey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The management of pain in persons with neurological injuries is challenging and complex. A holistic view and clinical approach are necessary when addressing pain in patients with neurological impairment because interpreting signs and symptoms and deciphering sources of pain is never a straightforward process. This problem is further magnified with the management of central pain syndromes. The best approach is to have a good understanding of the clinical characteristics commonly found in this patient population, in particular for patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), or spinal cord injury (SCI), as central pain manifests differently between these groups. This paper will focus on the history, clinical presentation, pathophysiology, assessment, and treatment of central pain in patients with these types of neurological conditions. In addition to being at risk for a decline in quality of life, patients with pain syndromes are also prone to adverse responses to treatments (e.g., opioid addiction). It is therefore important to methodically analyze the similarities and differences between patients with different pain syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-297
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Central pain
  • central post stroke pain
  • multiple sclerosis pain
  • neuropathy
  • spinal cord injury pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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