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When I touch my hand on a hot stove, I feel pain. I'm interested in knowing all the main "endpoints" (components/parts of the body) that are involved in relaying this pain signal. As I understand it so far, they are:

  1. Nerve (thermoreceptor)
  2. Fibers
  3. Spinal cord
  4. Brain stem (medula => pons => midbrain)
  5. ???
  6. Somatosensory Cortex

A special sensory nerve in my hand, called a thermoreceptor, receives a thermal input (the hot stove) and fires a pain signal to my spinal cord.

My spinal cord then sends the signal up into the brain stem, where the signal travels through the medula, the pons and the midbrain.

At this point the signal is somehow wired to my somatosensory cortex; the part of the brain that ultimately processes the signal and interprets it as "pain".

Have I identified all the key players here? What connects the midbrain/brainstem to the somatosensory cortex?

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The key player you are lacking is the thalamus, which integrates a lot of stimuli, and pre-processes them before sending them to the cortex

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