Central poststroke pain (CPSP) is a neuropathic pain disorder frequently described as burning pain associated with allodynia and hyperalgesia over affected regions of the body. The underlying mechanisms are not well understood. It has been suggested that stroke associated loss of inhibitory neurons in the spinothalamic tract causes disinhibition of thalamic neurons, which generate ectopic nociceptive action potentials responsible for the pain experience. However, recent data suggests that pain is dependent on the peripheral afferent input and may be mediated by misinterpretation of sensory input. In this course, we review the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and symptoms of CPSP. Recent findings may also shed light about future targets for treatment.
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