Central post-stroke pain: clinical characteristics, pathophysiology, and management

Lancet Neurol. 2009 Sep;8(9):857-68. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(09)70176-0.


Central post-stroke pain (CPSP) is a neuropathic pain syndrome that can occur after a cerebrovascular accident. This syndrome is characterised by pain and sensory abnormalities in the body parts that correspond to the brain territory that has been injured by the cerebrovascular lesion. The presence of sensory loss and signs of hypersensitivity in the painful area in patients with CPSP might indicate the dual combination of deafferentation and the subsequent development of neuronal hyperexcitability. The exact prevalence of CPSP is not known, partly owing to the difficulty in distinguishing this syndrome from other pain types that can occur after stroke (such as shoulder pain, painful spasticity, persistent headache, and other musculoskeletal pain conditions). Future prospective studies with clear diagnostic criteria are essential for the proper collection and processing of epidemiological data. Although treatment of CPSP is difficult, the most effective approaches are those that target the increased neuronal hyperexcitability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / pathology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / etiology*
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology*
  • Pain, Intractable / physiopathology*
  • Pain, Intractable / therapy
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Thalamus / physiopathology


  • Analgesics