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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Somatic Sensations: II. Pain, Headache, and Thermal Sensations

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Types of Pain and Their Qualities-Fast Pain and Slow Pain

Pain has been classified into two major types: fast pain and slow pain. Fast pain is felt within about 0.1 second after a pain stimulus is applied.

Types of Pain and Their Qualities-Fast Pain and Slow Pain

Pain has been classified into two major types: fast pain and slow pain. Fast pain is felt within about 0.1 second after a pain stimulus is applied, whereas slow pain begins only after 1 second or more and then increases slowly over many seconds and sometimes even minutes. During the course of this, we shall see that the conduction pathways for these two types of pain are different and that each of them has specific qualities.

        Fast pain is also described by many alternative names, such as sharp pain,pricking pain, acute pain, and electric pain. This type of pain is felt when a needleis stuck into the skin, when the skin is cut with a knife, or when the skin is acutely burned. It is also felt when the skin is subjected to electric shock. Fast-sharp pain is not felt in most deeper tissues of the body.

        Slow pain also goes by many names, such as slow burning pain, aching pain,throbbing pain, nauseous pain, and chronic pain. This type of pain is usuallyassociated with tissue destruction. It can lead to prolonged, unbearable suffer-ing. It can occur both in the skin and in almost any deep tissue or organ.


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