Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Acute Pain Mechanisms

  • Paul M. Murphy
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_72


Acute pain is defined as “pain of recent onset and probable limited duration. It usually has an identifiable temporal and causal relationship to injury or disease” (Ready and Edwards 1992). The perception of acute pain requires transduction of noxious mechanical, thermal or chemical stimuli by nociceptive neurons, integration and modulation at the level of the spinal cord and ultimately transmission to cortical centres.


Peripheral Nociception

 Nociceptors in the skin and other deeper somatic tissues such as periosteum are morphologically free nerve endings or simple receptor structures. A  noxious stimulus activates the nociceptor depolarising the membrane viaa variety of stimulus specific transduction mechanisms. C polymodal nociceptors are the most numerous of somatic nociceptors and respond to a full range of mechanical, chemical and thermal noxious stimuli. Polymodal nociceptors are coupled to unmyelinated C fibres. Electrophysiological activity in...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul M. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia and Pain ManagementRoyal North Shore HospitalSt Leonard’sAustralia