Thalamic Stroke

A Informative Guide to Thalamic Stroke

Having a stroke is a terrible and frightening thing, especially a thalamic stroke. What is even more frightening about this particular type is many people do not know a lot about it. People may wake up one day with pain shooting up and down one side of their body, or agonizing sensations on their skin. If the pain does not go away, then thalamic stroke could be the cause. This article explains all about this type of stroke and how it can affect you – as well as possible treatment options at your disposal.

First, we will talk about what causes a stroke. The cardiovascular system in the body, consisting of arteries, veins, and capillaries (as well as the heart itself), is responsible for moving oxygenated blood throughout the body. Without blood, your body will not receive oxygen. A stroke is essentially a clot in the arteries that blocks the flow of blood to the point where oxygen is not being delivered in sufficient amounts to certain parts of the body. The organ that is most vulnerable to a stroke is the brain, and it is in the brain where the thalamus resides.

The thalamus is a particular structure in your brain that serves as a gateway of sorts for signals going to and from your cerebral cortex. In other words, sensory information from your body goes through the thalamus. This information includes whether or not you’re cold; or if you stub your toe; or a breeze blowing on your skin; or any other physical feeling. These signals are then analyzed by the thalamus, which then sends the appropriate signals to the appropriate parts of the brain. Think of the thalamus as a traffic cop. The various cars, trucks, motorcycles, and vans that drive through are sent to their proper lanes at the proper time by the traffic cop. When something happens to the thalamus, this traffic turns into a traffic jam.

When a clot is formed in the small arteries that feed the thalamus, a thalamic stroke results. Victims of this condition initially feel a tingling sensation, or may feel numbness over one side of the body. They may even have that side of the body paralyzed or weak. Any time part of the body becomes paralyzed without an external injury, a stroke is probably the cause. These feelings may go away, but soon after, what we call the pain syndrome will develop.

Pain syndrome that results from a stroke in the thalamus is marked by constant, ongoing sensations of pain on the same side of the body as the stroke. This pain can be relatively moderate, or it can be very intense and agonizing. A characteristic of this particular type of stroke is that the pain is chronic – in other words, it is always present. Unfortunately, the pain syndrome that results from this condition is usually permanent.

We do not know why these types of strokes occur, beyond the reasons why strokes occur in general. Treatment for this condition is mostly symptomatic, and usually serves only to manage the pain. Over-the-counter medications are largely useless, but if they are combined with stronger pain analgesics, such as morphine, then the pain can be managed. Also, antidepressants and drugs for epilepsy and seizures can actually lower the level of pain, if administered correctly.


In conclusion, thalamic stroke is a frightening condition that can cause chronic and severe pain on one side of the body. While the causes of this condition are not fully understood, the pain can be managed to a degree with a successful regimen of drugs administered by a trained physician. If you or someone you know has suffered from this, then see a doctor as soon as possible for relief.