Congenital insensitivity to pain (also known as congenital analgesia) is a rare congenital condition in which a person does not feel any pain sensations. Other motor and sensory responses appear normal, but pain sensation is non-existent. Cognitive and sensory responses, including the sense of touch generally remain normal.
What causes congenital insensitivity to pain? There are currently two known causes of the disorder. These are:
Excessive production of endorphins within the brain. For this cause, regular naloxone administration has been known to produce some changes.
1. Genetic mutations and abnormalities.
2. Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy is the term used to describe a variety of medical conditions that lead to an inhibited pain sensation.
The biggest problem with congenital insensitivity to pain is that without the sensation of pain, a person will often cause harm to themselves unintentionally. For example, young children with the condition are known to have severe oral damage and regularly bite off the tip of their tongue. Other people are known to have been walking around with multiple fractured bones.
Although congenital insensitivity to pain is a very uncommon condition, it is important to be aware of it as a paramedic or clinician so that you are able to recognise the signs and symptoms in a young child who you attend who may not yet be diagnosed. It is not our job as paramedics to diagnose the condition, but it is to identify abnormalities and ensure that steps are taken to ensure that the infant or child is transported to hospital for further investigation.