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Papers of the Week

2022 Jun 10

Diagnostics (Basel)



The Management of Poststroke Thalamic Pain: Update in Clinical Practice.



Poststroke thalamic pain (PS-TP), a type of central poststroke pain, has been challenged to improve the rehabilitation outcomes and quality of life after a stroke. It has been shown in 2.7-25% of stroke survivors; however, the treatment of PS-TP remains difficult, and in majority of them it often failed to manage the pain and hypersensitivity effectively, despite the different pharmacotherapies as well as invasive interventions. Central imbalance, central disinhibition, central sensitization, other thalamic adaptative changes, and local inflammatory responses have been considered as its possible pathogenesis. Allodynia and hyperalgesia, as well as the chronic sensitization of pain, are mainly targeted in the management of PS-TP. Commonly recommended first- and second-lines of pharmacological therapies, including traditional medications, e.g., antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioid analgesics, and lamotrigine, were more effective than others. Nonpharmacological interventions, such as transcranial magnetic or direct current brain stimulations, vestibular caloric stimulation, epidural motor cortex stimulation, and deep brain stimulation, were effective in some cases/small-sized studies and can be recommended in the management of therapy-resistant PS-TP. Interestingly, the stimulation to other areas, e.g., the motor cortex, periventricular/periaqueductal gray matter, and thalamus/internal capsule, showed more effect than the stimulation to the thalamus alone. Further studies on brain or spinal stimulation are required for evidence.