If a person ends up with a severed finger will that finger, after falling off, experience any pain and start writhing? Can a limb kind of have a mind of its own for a few more seconds after separating from the body like for instance the tail of a lizard?

  • $\begingroup$ haha, that's hilarious though, but no, your severed finger will not have/gain own mind nor will "feel" the pain :) however, it may twitch on its own for few seconds/minutes $\endgroup$
    – cell0
    Mar 11, 2019 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @cell0 So why will it twitch for a few seconds/minutes? It should lay still right after getting seperated from the body because the connection with brain is lost....am trying to know how it's able to twitch in the absence of life force $\endgroup$
    – user221238
    Mar 12, 2019 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ Twitching does not require contact from brain. The muscles can respond to local triggers. Anyway, that should be a new question altogether. $\endgroup$
    Mar 12, 2019 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ @user221238 its due to muscle contraction and fyi human body can twitch even days after being dead. guys from morgue could tell stories... $\endgroup$
    – cell0
    Mar 12, 2019 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ @cell0 am aware of muscle contractions occurring hours after death as rigor mortis sets in....I was curious wondering if limbs have their own local sensation mechanism, much like the tail of the lizard $\endgroup$
    – user221238
    Mar 12, 2019 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


Pain is a signal emitted from a nervous pain receptor cell (called a nociceptor) to the central nervous system (CNS, i.e. the brain). If I hurt myself causing a small cut in my finger, nociceptors around the cut will send the pain signal to the CNS, which in turn processes it and causes the physical feeling of pain in that region.

If a finger is severed, nociceptors just above the cut will be extremely active, interacting with the CNS and causing a lot of pain. On the other hand, nociceptors in the finger itself have nowhere to "push" the pain signal to, so in this sense they cannot measure any pain - there's not a CNS connected to the finger anymore that is able to process the signal emitted by any nociceptors in the finger.


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