Updates & Features

Central Sensitisation: Involvement In Different Sources Of Pain

September 2019

Dr Emilio Quetglas, The PainSolve Team


In recent years, there have not been many publications on the involvement of peripheral sensitisation on the development and maintenance of central sensitisation, although central sensitisation has been suggested to play a role in almost every chronic painful and other medical conditions.1


Peripheral sensitisation represents a reduction in threshold and an amplification in the responsiveness of nociceptors, that occurs when the peripheral terminals are exposed to inflammatory mediators and damaged tissue and, in consequence, is restricted to the site of tissue injury.2 Peripheral sensitisation certainly contributes to the sensitisation of the nociceptive system and thereby to inflammatory pain hypersensitivity at inflamed sites (primary hyperalgesia). Nevertheless, peripheral sensitisation represents a form of pain elicited by activation of nociceptors, albeit one with a lower threshold due to the increased peripheral transduction sensitivity, and generally requires ongoing peripheral pathology for its maintenance. Peripheral sensitisation appears to play a major role in altered heat but not mechanical sensitivity, which is a major feature of central sensitisation.


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