Central Sensitisation can be explained as problems at the level of the brain and spinal cord (CENTRAL)
A nervous system in a wired, wound up and hyper-excitable state due to the way neuro-endo-immune cells communicate chemically and through other mechanisms. (SENSITISATION)
These sensitised cells amplify , or make stronger, messages that we get from our senses. This can cause sensory stimuli that is not normally painful, e.g. light touch, soft sound to become painful. (Allodynia, Hyperalgesia) and amplified survival - emotional responses
Central Sensitisation is linked to Central Sensitivity Syndromes (CSS). Which are also referred to as Functional Nerve Disorders (FND) or Functional Pain Syndromes and when more severe Environmental Illness (EI).
Until recent times CSS/FND conditions were viewed as primarily psychological (conversion disorder, somatoform), and while the psychological components of these illness were noticed and addressed, either with punishment, reward, or therapy, the physical symptoms complained of were often dismissed as attention seeking or hypochondrias. (leading to in my opinion "Systemic and other Abuse")
These conditions are now known to be caused by how are genes are interacting with our diet and lifestyle choices, and our social and environmental exposures. (toxicants, pathogens and pollutants). When our genes and interactions are compatible, we feel well (most of the time). When they are not, we can still feel fine most of the time (at least for a while! but due to TDS this generally does not last!) or we can experience Central Sensitivity Syndromes (CSS) and sometimes disease. Often CSS is triggered when we experience a trauma usually infectious, but it can also be toxicant, chemical, physical or psychological. When very severe, or less severe if we are already experiencing dysregulations and changes to core functions due to a combination of factors that add up to a high total stressor load.
Examples of Central Sensitivity Syndromes?
Include those shown in the diagram below. FMS: Fibromyalgia CFS: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; MCS: Multiple chemical sensitivity; IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); Migraines PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; TT: Frequent Tension Type Headaches; PMS: Premenstrual Syndroms; MPS: Myofacial Pain
This list however, is not exhaustive. For example POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), which many people with ME/CFS experience can also be considered a CSS.
It is not uncommon for people to develop many CSS, usually over a period of time (time dependant sensitisation) but sometimes very quickly (genetics, trauma). This is why some people can experience lots of different symptoms. Up to 50 SYMPTOMS sometimes more!
Fortunately these symptoms are not generally experienced all at once, except in rare cases (the Universal Reactor), instead they tend to wax and wane, depending on what is going in inside the body (e.g. hormone fluctuations) and exposures outside the body (e.g. weather, activity, pollutant and toxicant exposures, food intolerance).
While CSS/FNS - FND tends to respond poorly to pharmaceutical interventions, people can usually reduce symptoms and sometimes recover completely with non pharmaceutical interventions (Integrative self management) and proper medical treatments for any co morbid health conditions they have.
When severe applied within a REST, REDUCE, PACE is best, based on my own experience.