ABOUT CENTRAL SENSITIVITIES SYNDROMES
Central Sensitivities Syndromes (CSS) is a family of complex chronic illnesses, that includes fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, and environmental sensitivities/ multiple chemical sensitivities. Although ongoing research is being conducted to uncover potential treatments for CSS illnesses, at this point in time, there is no known cure.
CSS illnesses have a wide range of physical symptoms and they’re often accompanied by other illnesses, many of which are also tough to categorize: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), myofascial pain syndrome, restless legs syndrome, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), chronic pelvic ache with vulvodynia, headache and migraine, idiopathic low backache, interstitial cystitis (painful bladder), and primary dysmenorrhea (aching periods). All CSS are related by an underlying mechanism called central sensitization, which includes defects in the central nervous system that make someone enormously sensitive to their environment in several ways. Without an appropriate and specialized care plan of these illnesses, one can expect them to become worse over time.
Central means the central nervous system (CNS), made up of the brain and spinal cord, which sends and receives all ‘sensations’ to and from all the nerves and nerve endings throughout the body. Sensitization is the end result of something that’s made someone sensitive. For example, allergies are the kind of sensitivity people are the most familiar with. In allergies, your body has an adverse physical reaction to something that doesn’t trouble other people at all. While the mechanism in CSS sensitivities is different from that of allergies, CSS sensitivities cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous physical reactions resembling allergies, and must always be treated seriously.
Since everything is controlled by the CNS, such as sight, hearing, taste, ability to think clearly, etc., etc., the CSS patient (or 'warrior') can become hypersensitive to sensations such as lights, sounds, smells, temperatures, textures and pressure on the body, just to name a few. The CSS warrior may also develop sensitivities to certain foods, organic and chemical elements. CSS takes normal sensations and pain, and makes it worse. This is usually referred to as “turning up the volume”, known as hyperalgesia. It also makes things like injuries, surgeries and lingering reasons for pain especially debilitating. Allodynia is when one feels unbearable pain from things that shouldn’t hurt, like normal-fitting clothes or a gentle hug. It turns all types of normal experiences into potentially painful ones, which often means making important changes to one's life to adapt.
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