Central Sensitization in Functional Chronic Pain Syndromes: Overview and Clinical Application

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The purpose of this review and clinical application article is to offer nurses up-to-date knowledge on peripheral and central sensitization in chronic functional pain syndromes, and to discuss therapies that have shown efficacy in treating various aspects of these disorders. Central sensitization is a result of changes in the peripheral and central nervous system due to noxious stimuli, such as illness or trauma. Once these changes occur, treatment for the associated syndromes requires a multimodal approach that includes behavioral pain psychology, physical therapy, and pharmacological agents that specifically target neuroinflammation, pain modulation, and amplification of pain pathways. More research needs to be conducted on the basis and patient perception of functional pain syndromes to reduce the morbidity and significant disability associated with these illnesses. Nurses have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this research because of their holistic and multidimensional approach to patient care, assessment, and symptom management.

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