Unlike most pain conditions, central pain syndrome is actually a neurological disorder affecting the brain or spinal cord. Its causes include stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, tumors, or trauma. Central pain syndrome can occur immediately after a stroke or other cause, or it can develop months or even years later.

Central pain syndrome has a wide variety of effects, as each person with the syndrome experiences pain differently, depending on the extent and nature of the damage. Some will experience chronic pain throughout the entire body, while others may just experience pain in specific areas. Pain is usually constant, and is sometimes described as a burning or tingling sensation. The pain may be exacerbated by movement, touch, temperature changes, or emotions.

Because of the varied manifestations, central pain syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. There is no cure for the condition, but doctors are usually able to provide some relief with pain medications, antidepressants, and/or anticonvulsants. Doctors also recommend reducing stress and limiting the external factors that make the pain worse.