Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Central Pain Syndrome

Some of the more common causes of central pain syndrome are:

  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer affecting the brain or central nervous system
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Physical trauma
  • Exposure to radiation or certain toxins, such as lead or mercury
  • Infection (bacterial or viral)
  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Neurofibromatosis-1
  • Neurofibromatosis-2
  • Posterior or transverse myelitis
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tethered cord syndrome
  • Vascular or arteriovenous malformations
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Any condition that causes nerve demyelination or other nerve or brain damage


Central pain syndrome can be caused by many different diseases or injuries, and for this reason, patients are often seen by a fellowship-trained neurologist. Central pain is diagnosed by:

  • A thorough medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Imaging studies, such as MRI scans, to locate the region of damage to the nervous system

Usually, a diagnosis can be made based on the patient's history of a predisposing condition and the presence of typical central pain symptoms in the corresponding part of the body.

Diagnostic Tests