The value of pain as an element of safety in the body economy and the disastrous effects of the absence of the normal sensibility of a part are illustrated in the destructive ophthalmia which so frequently follows a lesion of the trigeminal nerve, and in the familiar "Charcot joint" of tabes. Although trophic disturbances probably have some part in the development of both of these conditions the absence of the normal sensibility seems to play an important rôle in determining the progressive and destructive character of both processes. Slight injuries pass unfelt and unheeded. In the case of the tabetic arthropathy the absence of pain results in the absence of all reflex protective contraction of the muscles controlling the joint movements; the continued free use of the limb increases constantly the existing damage and there ensues a gradual, painless disintegration and destruction of the joint. A recent experience has brought
CONNER LA. THE VISCERAL ANESTHESIAS OF TABES DORSALIS IN RELATION TO THE DIAGNOSIS OF ACUTE INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS IN THE ABDOMENWITH AN ILLUSTRATIVE CASE. JAMA. 1910;55(17):1427–1430. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330170005002
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