The Frequency of Central Sensitization in Patients With Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

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    Marmara University
Updated on 2 February 2023
back pain
central sensitization


Central sensitization is as increased response to normal or sub-threshold stimuli of central nervous system and its close relationship with in many musculoskeletal diseases with chronic pain has been demonstrated in several studies. However, the effect of central sensitization on disability in these patients is not fully known. In this study, it was aimed to investigate the frequency of central sensitization and its effect on patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain who were admitted to physical medicine and rehabilitation outpatient clinics.


The term central sensitization (CS) was first used in 1988 and was explained as the increase in pain sensitivity with the amplification of neuron-derived signals in the central nervous system. With the development of CS, a decrease in the pain threshold and an increase in generalized sensitivity occur. There is no method for the diagnosis of CS is accepted as a gold standard. Clinical scales and quantitative sensory testing (QST) is used for this purpose widely. In addition, the well-known scale used for the evaluation of CS is the Central Sensitization Inventory (CSI), developed for detect CS in chronic pain patients. The use of CSI, which is more practical to use, is becoming widespread because QST takes time, is costly and requires experienced practitioners. The prevalence of chronic pain is reported as 30% in Europe and has an important place among diseases that cause disability worldwide. Until this time, the relationship between CS and many diseases that cause chronic pain has been revealed, and an increase in pain intensity, duration and prevalence has been detected in patients accompanied by CS. In addition to all these changes, the decrease in the treatment response of these patients makes the clinical management of individuals with pain sensitization even more difficult. Although the increase in the frequency of CS in patients with chronic pain is known, data on the incidence of this condition in various diseases with chronic pain is limited.The frequency of CS was mostly reported in patients with low back (37.8%) and neck pain (32.4%) and the authors reported that the higher rates of disability is seen in patients with high CSI scores. Similarly, in this study, it was planned to show the relationship between CS and disability in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Condition Central Sensitisation, Chronic Musculoskeletal Disease, Chronic Pain
Treatment Visual analogue scale, Central sensitization inventory, Short form-36, Istanbul Low Back Pain Disability Index, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH), Neck Pain and Disability scale, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04765280
SponsorMarmara University
Last Modified on2 February 2023

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