Central Pain Syndrome

Central Pain Syndrome (CPS) is a condition that can result from a stroke or other neurological conditions. It has been identified by other names including:

* Central Post Stroke Syndrome
* Posterior Thalamic Syndrome
* Dejerine-Roussy Syndrome
* Post Stroke Pain
* Thalamic Pain Syndrome
* Retrolenticular Syndrome
* Thalamic Hyperesthetic Anesthesia

CPS effects approximately 8% of all stroke patients according to a 1996 article from the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.


CPS pain is often relentless and can effect small areas of the body such as the hands and feet or large portions of the body. The pain is often moderate to severe and has been described by various stroke patients as burning, pins and needles, aching, sharp pains, a wet sensation, throbbing, or as if a probe has been applied to a raw nerve such as in a dental procedure. CPS pain is commonly characterized by hypersensitivity to touch and temperature. Many who experience Central Pain Syndrome may wear light clothing or avoid bed covers to keep pressure off of the skin. The pain can appear immediately after having a stroke or have a delayed onset of months or even years after a stroke.

Treatment Options

Treatment for post stroke pain may include the following:

Medications - Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and less commonly narcotic painkillers.

Intravenous Lignocaine Infusions

TENS - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

For other post stroke pain treatment information including therapy and alternative treatments, visit www.stroke-rehab.com/pain-after-a-stroke.

Surgery including Deep Brain Stimulation or Motor Cortex Stimulation

Unfortunately, treating CPS can be difficult and may require changing meds several times to find something that works. Meds may have to be started at lower dosages, taken long term, and gradually increased in dosage to prevent adverse side effects. Many times, medication will only take the edge off the pain but not eliminate it. Physicians are often unfamiliar with CPS so it is important to seek the advice of a physician with experience in neurological and post stroke pain. This may be your neurologist or other qualified pain management doctor. A consistent complaint of CPS patients is that doctors don't understand what they are going through. This makes it important to do a little research before visiting a physician to treat your pain. I recommend visiting some online support groups and information pages about Central Pain Syndrome arming yourself with knowledge and questions to ask your physician.

Effects of Central Pain Syndrome

CPS interrupts daily life and can have negative psychological impact including depression, anxiety, excessive worry, withdrawal, apathy, and sleep disorders. Caregivers will need to have patience and be supportive because patients with CPS are often in so much pain that they care little about anything else. Caregivers should assist the stroke patient in finding medical help if the patient is unable to do so. 

For more info on Central Pain Syndrome, visit https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/central-pain-syndrome/

National Organization for Rare Disorders

Newsletter Sign Up

Receive Stroke Recovery Tips, our online quarterly newsletter. Sign up below for free tips on exercises, resources, latest technology, apps, research and more!

To view past issues of Stroke Recovery Tips, visit  https://www.stroke-rehab.com/Stroke-Recovery-Tips-BackIssues.html

Stroke Rehab Guide

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to stroke, including education, exercises, and FAQs from stroke patients, check out the Stroke Rehab Guide: 

--->PDF Download<---

Stroke Rehab e-book pdf

Many hours are spent by the author developing, updating, and maintaining this website. If you would like to make a donation to Stroke-Rehab.com to help with website development and upkeep, you can do so here. Thank you for your support and for helping others to receive quality stroke rehabilitation information! 

Shop Rehab Products at Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to stroke, including education, exercises, and FAQs from stroke patients, check out the Stroke Rehab Guide: 

--->PDF Download<---

Stroke Rehab e-book pdf

Recent Articles

  1. Numbness, Sensory Re-education, and Mirror Therapy

    Question: Hello, 13 months ago, I had three strokes in less than two days. I have movement but have very little sensation in my right hand and arm. I can

    Read More

  2. How to Make Neuroplasticity Repeatable On Demand

    Submission from reader: Neuroplasticity is widely touted as a way for stroke survivors to recover. To make it repeatable on demand, what exact signal is

    Read More

  3. Only Plays Internet Games and Nothing Else Three Years Post Stroke

    Question: I know playing games for up to 8 hours on the internet is not healthy for anyone. Does anyone know how sitting all day long playing games on

    Read More

  4. Sadness After Stroke

    I Get Sad Question:I get so sad at times like I lost the old me, I was very active and now I’m not, I’ve had a complete meltdown and just sobbed. Answer:

    Read More

  5. More damage done to paralyzed left arm as a result of carelessness.

    Question: My husband suffered a stroke which caused his entire left side with no feeling or movement. Recently, my husband possibly could have been turned

    Read More

  6. Shouting, Confusion, and Anger After Stroke

    Question from reader: My mom had a stroke about a month ago. Physically she is improving, but she has bouts of anger, confusion (says weird things), and

    Read More

  7. Cloudy vision after stroke

    Question: My mother had a stroke 1 yr ago. It caused partial loss of vision on her right side. During a 4 day road trip, her vision would get cloudy and

    Read More

  8. Flaccid Paralysis After Stroke

    Learn about stroke treatment for flaccid paralysis after stroke.

    Read More

  9. Vision Problems After Stroke

    Answers to patients' questions about vision problems after stroke and treatment.

    Read More

  10. Symptoms Getting Worse After Stroke

    If you experience sudden declines or changes after stroke, you should seek medical attention.

    Read More