Show Summary Details
Page of

Psychophysics and Nociceptors 

Psychophysics and Nociceptors
Psychophysics and Nociceptors

Kenneth L. Casey

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 September 2020

The sensory and affective components of pain (stimulus intensity, unpleasantness) can be measured in the laboratory (psychophysics) and estimated in the clinic. Pain intensity increases with the neuroelectrical activity of individual human nociceptive nerve fibers (psychophysical neuronography) and as higher threshold nociceptors are recruited into activity. The fibers innervating nociceptors are comparatively thin and have low impulse conduction velocities, but this is also true of many non-nociceptors. As a group, nociceptors vary in response threshold, impulse (action potential) conduction velocity, embryonic history, biochemistry, and type of exciting stimulus (thermal, mechanical, or chemical). Polymodal nociceptors respond to more than one type of stimulus, others respond to one type only, and some respond primarily to one or more of the many chemical components in inflamed tissue. Nociceptive fibers may release biochemicals that further increase their responsiveness (peripheral sensitization). The physiological heterogeneity of nociceptors offers multiple treatment opportunities for, and resistance to, treatment.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.