Spectrum of cutaneous hyperalgesias/allodynias in neuropathic pain patients

Acta Neurol Scand. 2004 Dec;110(6):368-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2004.00341.x.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to discern the pathophysio-logical bases for neuropathic hyperalgesias.

Methods: In this study, neurological and neurophysiological evaluation of 132 consecutive hyperalgesia patients using rigorous clinical and laboratory protocols were carried out.

Results: Two discrete semeiologic entities emerged: classic neurological vs atypical, fulfilling taxonomically complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) II and I, respectively. The classic group (34.9%) exhibited sensorimotor patterns restricted to nerve distribution and documented nerve fiber dysfunction. Among them four (3.03%) had sensitization of C-nociceptors, seven (5.3%) had central release of nociceptive input, and 35 (26.52%) probable ectopic nerve impulse generation. The atypical group (65.1%) displayed weakness with interrupted effort; non-anatomical hypoesthesia and hyperalgesia; hypoesthesia or paresis reversed by placebo, or atypical abnormal movements, and physiological normality of motor and sensory pathways.

Conclusions: Spatiotemporal features of neuropathic hyperalgesia constitute key criteria for differential diagnosis between CRPS II and I and, together with other behavioral sensorimotor features, signal psychogenic pseudoneurological dysfunction vs structural neuropathology. 'Neuropathic' hyperalgesias may reflect neuropathological or psychopathological disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / classification
  • Hyperalgesia / diagnosis*
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nociceptors / physiology*
  • Paresis
  • Syndrome