Quantitative assessment of thermal and pain sensitivity

J Neurol Sci. 1994 Dec 20;127(2):164-9. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(94)90069-8.


Values for thermal specific and thermal pain thresholds were determined in 150 healthy volunteers, 67 women and 83 men, aged from 10 to 73 years. Warm-cold difference limen, heat pain and cold pain thresholds were assessed at the face, thenar, medial surface of the upper- and forearm, lateral mammary, lateral umbilical, anterior thigh and lateral leg regions, and lateral aspect of the dorsum of the foot. Temperature and pain sensitivity were assessed by the Marstock method. Temperature sensitivity was found obviously age-dependent. The correlation is linear. Women showed greater sensitivity for small temperature changes, reflected as warm-cold difference limen, and for heat pain and cold pain. Great variation of thermal and pain sensitivity of different body parts was significant in all volunteers, irrespective of age and sex. Interindividual variation was also considerable. Small intraindividual variability was found in measurements repeated in 4 consecutive days and after 4 weeks. Body length did not influence thermal and pain perception thresholds. There were no differences found in thermal and pain sensitivity between the left and the right side of the body.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Child
  • Cold Temperature
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / instrumentation
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Threshold / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena