The effect of pain on human sweating

J Physiol. 1973 Dec;235(3):741-7. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1973.sp010413.


1. Attempts were made to induce emotional sweating in normal subjects by subjecting them to painful stimuli such as compression of pins on the forearm skin, immersion of the fingers in iced water, compression of the thoracic cage by rib calipers and ischaemic exercise of the forearm muscles.2. Changes in sweating were estimated by continuously monitoring the rate of total body weight loss.3. Of the painful stimuli used, only ischaemic forearm exercise significantly increased the rate of sweat secretion.4. Tasks in mental arithmetic caused much greater increases in sweat secretion than any of the pain stimuli except ischaemic pain.5. It is concluded that many varieties of pain, even when severe, do not induce sweating under laboratory conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Cold Temperature
  • Forearm / blood supply
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Ischemia
  • Male
  • Mental Processes
  • Pain*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Sweating*