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NeuroRehabilitation. 2012;31(4):367-72. doi: 10.3233/NRE-2012-00805.

Central sensitization as a component of post-deployment syndrome.

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  • 1National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Behavioral Neurology Unit, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Abstract

Many service members and veterans report chronic unexplained symptoms such as pain, fatigue and memory complaints, which have most recently been characterized as post-deployment syndrome (PDS). Chronic widespread pain is a component of this syndrome, producing significant disability and considerable health care costs. The similarity between the nature of these complaints and other medically unexplained illnesses such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome suggest that they may share a common mechanism. Here, we provide support for PDS as a consequence of pain and sensory amplification secondary to neuroplastic changes within the central nervous system, a phenomenon often termed central sensitization. We also discuss how factors such as stress and genetics may promote chronic widespread pain in veterans and service members who develop PDS.

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