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The Nerves In The Skin

Source: A Handbook Of Health

How We Tell Things from Touch, and Feel Heat and Cold and Pain. Last
of all, the skin is the principal organ of the sense of touch, and also
of the temperature sense--the sense of heat and cold--and of the sense
that feels pain. All these feelings are attended to by little bulbs
lying in the deeper part of the skin and forming the tips of tiny nerve
twigs,[20] which run inward to join larger nerve branches and finally
reach the spinal cord. There are millions of these little bulbs
scattered all over the surface of the skin, but they are very much
thicker and more numerous in some parts than in others; and that is why,
as you have often noticed, certain parts of the skin are more sensitive
than others. They are thickest, for instance, on the tips of our fingers
and on our lips, and fewest over the back of the neck and shoulders,
and across the lower part of the hips.[21]

For a long time, it was supposed that all these little nerve-bulbs in
the skin did the same kind of work, because they looked, under the
microscope, exactly alike; but it was found that they divide the work up
among them, so that some of them give their entire attention to heat,
and others to cold, others to touch, and others again to pain. So
carefully has the work been mapped out among them that they report to
different centres in the brain and spinal cord, so that we now
understand why, in diseases which happen to attack one or other of these
centres, we may lose our sense of heat and cold, as in that terrible
disease, leprosy; or our sense of touch, as in paralysis; or we may
even, in some very rare cases, lose our sense of pain, and yet have all
our other senses perfect.

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