Is Sensitization a Driver of Your Chronic Symptoms?

The short answer is YES. In this research review article titled “The Neurobiology of Central Sensitization the researchers state: “Features of central sensitization have been identified in nearly all chronic pain conditions.” What is central sensitization? Simply as the authors put it: “Central sensitization refers to the amplification of pain by central nervous system (CNS) mechanisms.” What this means is your brain and nervous system create an abnormal over-reaction or the CNS dials up pain intensity in reaction to normal things. So you can get a severe reaction of symptoms to doing very little.

This is something I see in various levels of intensity in the people I work with. There are two types of central sensitization. One is bottom up and the other is top down. I see a lot of top down sensitization. What this means as the authors put it: “It is increasingly recognized that central sensitization also occurs independent of peripheral injury or inflammation.” Top down sensitization implies that there is nothing physically or structurally wrong in the body. The physical symptoms are 100% being generated by the brain and nervous system.

This is a revelation to many as it’s not yet widely known or diagnosed by doctors or healthcare professionals. What this means for treatment is that we focus our efforts on working with the brain and nervous system for healing rather than trying to treat the physical body. We need to learn strategies to dial down sensitivity. The goal is to reduce and normalize the over blown reactions the brain produces in response to normal things like movement, food, touch, light, stress, etc. Reach out if you’d like help in learning how to do this.