Mechanical hyperalgesias in neuropathic pain patients: dynamic and static subtypes

Ann Neurol. 1993 May;33(5):465-72. doi: 10.1002/ana.410330509.


Two behavioral kinds of mechanical hyperalgesia can be clearly discerned by clinical criteria in patients with neuropathic syndromes, i.e., a dynamic type, elicitable by lightly stroking the symptomatic skin, and a static type, elicitable by steadily applying gentle pressure on it. Of 28 patients studied, 19 had dynamic and 18 had static type mechanical hyperalgesia (9 expressed both types). Experimental compression-ischemia nerve block totally abolished the dynamic hyperalgesia in all patients except in 2, in whom it was markedly diminished. Disappearance of dynamic hyperalgesia occurred contemporaneously with block of myelinated A fibers, as expressed by abolition of the sensations of touch and cold, monitored quantitatively. Static hyperalgesia, however, outlasted A-fiber block in 15 of 18 patients; the phenomenon persisted during the stage when only unmyelinated fibers were available for impulse conduction. It is thus concluded that, at the primary afferent level, dynamic hyperalgesia is mediated by myelinated fibers, whereas static hyperalgesia depends on unmyelinated afferents. These two kinds of hyperalgesia represent discrete pathophysiological entities with distinct clinical connotations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cold Temperature
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / classification
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Sural Nerve / pathology
  • Sural Nerve / ultrastructure
  • Touch