Integumentary and Musculoskeletal System Case Study

Because of the severe pain, the woman was experiencing in her pain; the woman had to have her leg amputated. However, she still felt pain because of the phantom limb pain. The theory which explained the pain the woman was going through even after having her legs cut off was maladaptive plasticity. In this theory, the reason why about 80% of the amputees experience pain in their missing limbs is explained. When a limb has been removed, there are nerves which are missing and cannot communicate with the brain. It is a must for the nerve from other body parts to take over from the missing limb and therefore, the brain is confused and sends a signal to the brain interpreted as pain. (Huether & McCance, 2008).

A nociceptor is an unspecialized nerve cell which initiates sensation of pain. There are of four categories based on the responses associated with them namely skin nociceptors, joint nociceptors, visceral nociceptors and silent nociceptors. 

There are two types of nociceptors namely the  A-delta and the C fibers. These receptors are the ones who respond to the nociceptive process and can be found in different body tissues, muscles, and blood vessels. The A-delta nociceptors respond to mechanical and thermal stimuli. They are the smallest of the myelinated nerves. One of their properties is that they travel fast and responsible for short-lasting, pricking-type pain (McCance & Huether, 2002). The C nociceptors are unmyelinated and are slow in conducting pain as compared to the A-delta. They respond to dull, poorly localized, burning type pain. When the threshold is reached the C nociceptors are stimulated K., , P. G. (Gutierrez & Peterson 2002). 

The woman who had her leg amputated meant that the fibres responsible for her pain in the phantom pain were the C receptors. This is because of respond when physical stimuli have been experienced such as injury, radiation, and noxious heat (McCance & Huether, 2002). 


Gutierrez, K., & Peterson, P. G. (2002). Pathophysiology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2008). Understanding pathophysiology. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby/Elsevier.

McCance, K. L., & Huether, S. E. (2002). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults & children. St. Louis: Mosby.

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