Define pain. Outline the processes by which pain is detected in response to a peripheral noxious stimulus.

[Click here to toggle visibility of the answers]

College Answer

Starting with the WHO definition of pain, followed by a brief description of the nature of noxious stimuli (thermal, mechanical, chemical) then proceeding to mention the nature of the cutaneous receptors would have been a very good start to this question. Following this, a description of the various substances involved in pain (K, prostaglandins, bradykinin, serotonin, substance P) and outlining the types of nerve fibres involved in pain transmission and how they synapse in the spinal cord and cortex was expected. The presence and nature of the descending inhibitory pathways was mentioned by very few.