Central Sensitisation Inventory
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The Central Sensitisation Inventory (CSI) is a self-report outcome measure designed to identify patients who have symptoms that may be related to central sensitisation (CS) or central sensitivity syndromes (CSS) such as fibromyalgia, neck injury, temporomandibular joint disorder or migraine/tension headaches.
The CSI consists of two parts.
- Part A includes 25 questions related to common CSS symptoms.
- Part B determines if the patient has been diagnosed with certain CSS disorders or related disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
The CSI has been validated in various languages.
Chronic pain populations
Method of Use
In Part A of the CSI patients are asked various questions designed to assess central sensitisation symptoms. The patient scores each answer on a scale of 0 (never) to 4 (always). A score of more than 40 indicates the presence of central sensitisation. Only Part A is scored. Part B asks for the patient to circle any specific diagnosis they have received. The full questionnaire can be found here.
Mayer et al (2012) found the CSI has strong psychometric properties (test-retest reliability = 0.817; Cronbach's alpha = 0.879).
In 2018 these results were replicated in a large multi-country sample (Cronbach's αlpha= 0.92).
The CSI has been shown to be a useful and valid measure for screening patients with CSS. A 2014 study by Neblett et al found the CSI accurately identified 82.8% of participants as having CSS whereas 54.8% participants were correctly identified as not having CSS. However, this study also found that the likelihood of false-positives increases when the CSI is used on patients who have both complex pain and psychophysiological disorders.
- Neblett, R. The central sensitisation inventory: A user's manual. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research. 2018; 23(2).
- Mayer, TG, Neblett, R, Cohen, H, Howard, KJ, Choi, YH, Williams, MJ, Perez, Y, Gatchel, RJ. The Development and Psychometric Validation of the Central Sensitization Inventory (CSI). Pain Pract 2012; 12(4): 276-85.
- Cuesta-Vargas, A, Neblett, R, Chiarotto, A, Kregel, J, Nijs, J, Van Wilgen, CP. Dimensionality and Reliability of the Central Sensitization Inventory (CSI) in a Pooled Multi-Country Sample. Journal of Pain 2018; 19(3): 317-29.
- Neblett, R, Hartzell, MM, Cohen, H, Mayer, TG, Williams, M, Choi, YH. Ability of the Central Sensitization Inventory to Identify Central Sensitivity Syndromes in an Outpatient Chronic Pain Sample. The Clinical Journal of Pain 2014; 31(4).