Thalamic Pain is the result of a CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident) occurring at the site of the Thalamus. The Thalamus being damaged by the stroke, sends incorrect answers to signals being sent from various points in the body, causing incorrect actions e.g., pain. (This is strictly a layman's interpretation.) Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage specifically to the central nervous system (CNS)—brain, brainstem, or spinal cord. The pain is steady and is can be described as a burning, aching, or cutting sensation. Occasionally there may be brief, intolerable bursts of sharp pain. Central pain is characterized by a mixture of pain sensations, the most prominent being constant burning. Mingled with the burning are sensations of cold, "pins and needles" tingling, and nerve proximity (like that of a dental probe on an exposed nerve). The steady burning sensation is increased significantly by any light touch. Patients are somewhat numb in the areas affected by this burning pain. The burning and loss of touch appreciation are usually most severe on the distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Pain may be moderate to severe in intensity and is often exacerbated by movement and temperature changes, usually cold temperatures. Central pain syndrome may develop months or even years after injury or damage to the CNS. The disorder occurs in patients who have, or have had, strokes, multiple sclerosis, limb amputations, or brain or spinal cord injuries.
The thalamus is a collection of nerve cells situated above the hypothalamus and is part of the forebrain. There are two thalami, one on each side of the midline of the brain. The thalami act as coordinating centers for nerve impulses from all the senses. The impulses are then relayed to the appropriate areas in the cerebral cortex, where they are consciously perceived. Several resources are listed below.
Central Pain Syndrome Alliance Healthtouch Online National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke The Nature of Pain Pain.com
A very difficult question! I know about it and you know about it, and some research is being done continually to find answers. Millions of dollars have been allocated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the study of central pain among other concerns.
- Thalamic Syndrome (Dejerine-Roussy)
- Syndrome Posterior
- Thalamic Syndrome (Retrolenticular Syndrome)
Thalamic Hyperesthetic Anesthesia is a rare neurological disorder that occurs as a result of damage to the Thalamus, a part of the brain that affects sensation. Primary symptoms are pain and loss of sensation usually in the face, arm, or leg. This stroke affect hits only about 15% or less in all stroke cases per year.
Pain relief has been proven to be very difficult. Nothing seems to be completely satisfactory for many individuals. Physical therapy, meditation, and medications such as opioids (morphine, for instance and medicines used for Parkinson Disease) are among some fairly successful solutions.
Intrathecal Drug Delivery is known to provide relief when the proper concentration and dosage has been achieved.