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List of terms related to Dysesthesia

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Dysaesthesia (dysesthesia in American English) is a tactile hallucination. It signals that damage is being done to tissue when none is occurring. However, recent advances in neuroinflammation indicate that the patient is not actually hallucinating. It is most commonly described as feeling like acid under the skin. Burning dysesthesia is now felt to accurately reflect an acidotic state in the synapses and perineural space. Some ion channels will open to a low pH, the acid sensing ion channel I has been shown to open at body temperature, in a model of nerve injury pain. This information leads many to believe hallucination is an unfit term, although a better word does not immediately present itself. Dysesthetic burning may be hallucinatory as to the cutaneous surface, but accurate as to what is occurring in the synapses.

Dysesthesia is commonly seen in diabetic patients, and can be relieved by using creams containing capsaicin.

Symptoms include

  • Impairment of sensation short of anesthesia.
  • A condition in which a disagreeable sensation is produced by ordinary stimuli; caused by lesions of the sensory pathways, peripheral or central.
  • Abnormal sensations experienced in the absence of stimulation, such as:

See also


  • McHenry, Kenneth, M.D. "Lessons from my Central Pain" Pain Clinical Updates Volume X, No. 3 Sept. (2002) International Association for the Study of Pain

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