Saturday, November 7, 2009

Central Pain Syndrome

That is what I am dealing with now - what appears to be Central Pain Syndrome, which has hit me completely out of the blue.  Entirely related to my severely damaged lumbar nerves but completely unlike any of the other pain I have experienced to date.

This new pain is a burning feeling from my bra strap to my hips, on my back.  It is only on the skin, but feels like the worst sunburn you have ever had.  You know when you got that sunburn and could hardly touch your skin to put the aloe or the cream on it?  Imagine that but worse.


Clothes touching
Air blowing on it
Cold air
Any touch, particularly light touch

The doctor has prescribed some lidocaine (Lidoderm) patches that I can wear 12 hours a day, to see if it can calm the nerves down.   I can wear 2 a day, and they are 10cm X 14cm, and I can cut them and put them in a bunch of different places if I need to. 

What is Central Pain Syndrome?
Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson's disease. The character of the pain associated with this syndrome differs widely among individuals partly because of the variety of potential causes. Central pain syndrome may affect a large portion of the body or may be more restricted to specific areas, such as hands or feet. The extent of pain is usually related to the cause of the CNS injury or damage. Pain is typically constant, may be moderate to severe in intensity, and is often made worse by touch, movement, emotions, and temperature changes, usually cold temperatures. Individuals experience one or more types of pain sensations, the most prominent being burning. Mingled with the burning may be sensations of "pins and needles;" pressing, lacerating, or aching pain; and brief, intolerable bursts of sharp pain similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on the distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often begins shortly after the causative injury or damage, but may be delayed by months or even years, specially if it is related to post-stroke pain.
This is related to my 3 back surgeries, possible spinal cord stimulator procedure and permanent nerve damage in general.  I have had the numbness and shooting pain for years........this burning pain is fairly new.  I have had a smaller section that has burned for months, but it was so small and I just plain ignored it.  Had no idea it would spread, but nothing I could have done to prevent it.

I have found some yoga type pants I can wear and keep the waist band rolled down and have much less pain, so I will wear those for now until this calms down (as I hope it does), and I keep my shirt tucked in my bra strap when at home.   I am considering getting something like Wintersilks to wear under my clothes, which will keep the sensation to a minimum.

It should get better with time as my brain learns to disassociate, or so I'm told.  I'm looking forward to that.  

Question of the day:  If this is triggered by cold weather, shouldn't we live where it is much warmer, say...........Texas? 

Time to go reread my Resiliency post.  lol

P.S.  GREAT NEWS!! The Lidoderm patches do not "rip" off, they actually peel off easily.  Huge relief!



  1. Hi Cheri -

    My name is Tricia (33 years old) and I have RSD/CRPS. Mine was diagnosed in 2002. It is definitely a journey. I hope the lidocaine patches have eased your pain. I also have an SCS implant. Like you, I do believe the SCS was a Godsend!

    I am also the Founder / Executive Director of Triumph Over Pain. You can check us out at

    Your body will definitely react to temperature changes. I live in TX and my pain worsens during weather shifts. I am also sensitive to barometric pressure changes. You have a beautiful family.


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