Hyperpathia is an exaggerated response to painful
stimuli, especially repeated painful stimuli. Patients
often describe the pain as explosive and radiating.
to painful stimuli, in hyperpathia the pain continues after
the painful stimuli stops and involves a greater area of
the body. Some patients with hyperpathia may
incorrectly identify the location of the painful stimuli.
something that does not ordinarily cause pain actually
does cause pain.
Hyperpathia is also different from dysesthesia, which is pain or an uncomfortable
sensation(s) after being touched by an ordinary stimulus or even in the absence of
stimulation. Although they are separate, hyperpathia can co-occur with allodynia and
Hyperpathia is caused by a lowered threshold for tactile sensory stimulation. It tends to
affect one side of the body but both sides of the body or the entire body can be affected.
It usually occurs due to damage to the thalamus. The thalamus is a pair of large oval
structures in the brain that sends out messages regarding sensation. Hyperpathia can be
caused by a brain tumor. Tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that form when cells in a
certain area of the body reproduce at an increased rate.
Hyperpathia can also be caused by blood clots. Hyperpathia is a form of hyperesthesia, which is
increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli. Hyperpathia originates from the Greek word "hyper," meaning
"above," and "pathos," meaning "suffering." Put the two together and you get "above suffering," meaning
"too much suffering (pain)."