What is exteroceptive sensation?

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Resp. Mam, 

  • Exteroceptive sensations refer to those sensations that give the body some information about external events:  pain, temperature and light touch. (any sensory organ or part of the body, such as the eye, able to receive stimuli from outside the body  )

Evaluation of exteroceptive sensations:

  • Superficial Pain:

By Pinprick Test for pain sensation with a sterile pin, comparing side with side, proximal with distal, segment with segment. Never use a very sharp needle, because it might draw blood, and could transmit infectious diseases. Because of its sharpness and small area of stimulation it might miss pain spots, giving rise to misinterpretation of sensory deficiency.


  • Temperature:

Test for temperature sensation with cold steel or with tubes filled with water about 30degC and 35 degC or 50degF (cold) and 110 degF ( hot).The latter is more accurate but less convenient. Borders of the thermal loss may be determined by rolling the tube over the skin from affected to normal areas. These borders will often coincide with the margins of pain sensibility. This test is not routinely tested.


  • Light touch or tactile sensation:

Test for light touch sensation with cotton wool, applying it with dabs rather than stroking movements. Cutaneous sensitivity to this stimulus is variable. The calloused hands of a person accustomed to manual work are likely to show a higher threshold to light touch than those with a normal skin.

  • Stimulation should not be applied too rapidly.
  • An irregularity in rhythm in stimulation is to be adopted.
  • A heavier stimulus will be applied over the palms of the hands or on the feet.
  • Compare symmetrical parts of the body.
  • Repeat the test.
  • Make some trial tests where the therapist will do as if he touches the skin while effectively he / she does not.



Leena P.Deore



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