Sensory symptoms

Sensory symptoms are all complaints that are the result of impaired sensory perception. Distinctions are made between different sensory modalities in the human body: touch, awareness of relative position in space (proprioception), pain and temperature. The signalling starts with tingling of sensory receptors in tissue such as skin, muscles and joints. The nerve impulses then run along the spinal cord through the deep brain nuclei to the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for processing. Pain/temperature and fine tactile sense/proprioception follow separate pathways in the spinal cord.

Primary damage to sensory nerves can lead to a lack or even loss of perception in one or more sensory modalities. Reduced tactile sense in a particular limb is an example of this (hypoesthesia). Abnormal sensations can also arise, spontaneous or not: increased sensitivity to touch (hyperesthesia), tingling (paresthesia), pain and/or shooting electrical (pain) sensations (trigeminal neuralgia, Lhermitte's sign).