This page will discuss the way in which mechanisms such as "wind up" in the spinal cord and brain can lead to increased jumpiness and reactivity to pain, and the way that this can also result in cross-sensitisation between different types of nerves.
Research is increasingly revealing that central sensitisation mechanisms are involved in an extremely wide range of pain problems, not just in nerve pain but also in conditions such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain, irritable bowel syndrome and other abdominal pains and many other pains that are traditionally thought of as nociceptive (tissue damage induced) such as arthritis.
Links and further reading
There is a good summary, written for patients, on the role of central sensitisation in pain on this site. A further paper explaining central sensitisation to people with chronic muscular pain may be helpful.
A couple of papers, while written primarily for those with an understanding of the terminology, may still be helpful in providing some background understanding. One is.written by Yunus on central sensitisation in fibromyalgia and other conditions. Another article written for laymen, linked here, gives useful information.
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Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
Page updated 22/6/2016