Central sensitisation in visceral pain disorders

Nevner hvordan IBS skaper sentralsensitering og hyperalgesia andre steder enn bare tarmen, og bidrar til mange muskel- og ledd problemer. Nevner at dette spesielt skjer i korsryggen hvor sensoriske nerver fra tarmen treffer samme nerve i ryggmargen som de sensoriske nervene fra beina.


The concept of visceral hyperalgesia has been examined in a variety of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), including oesophagitis, gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease, non‐ulcer dyspepsia, gastroparesis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Visceral hypersensitivity has also been demonstrated in non‐gastrointestinal disorders such as interstitial cystitis and ureteric colic.1 Although the pathophysiological mechanisms of pain and hypersensitivity in these disorders are still not well understood, exciting new developments in research have been made in the study of the brain‐gut interactions involved in the FGIDs.

In this issue of Gut, Sarkar and colleagues2 address the phenomenon of temporal summation of pain, termed “wind‐up”, and its relationship to central sensitisation and secondary visceral pain hyperalgesia caused by acidification of the oesophagus (see page 920). Also in this issue of Gut, Drewes and colleagues3 examine peripheral and central sensitisation using both mechanical and thermal stimuli in patients with oesophagitis compared with control subjects (see page 926). They found that in patients with oesophagitis, the interaction between central and peripheral nociceptive input may help explain patient symptoms. Understanding the implications of these two studies requires examining the concept of central sensitisation in visceral pain disorders. Both of these studies have important clinical and research ramifications for the study of FGIDs.

“Hypersensitivity in IBS patients is not just limited to the gut and more widespread alterations in central pain processing may be involved in this chronic pain disorder”

The most pronounced hyperalgesia appears to occur at the lumbosacral level at which colon and lower extremity nociceptive afferents are likely to converge onto common spinal segments, explaining why patients had higher thermal hypersensitivity in the foot than in the hand (see fig 11).14,15,19

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