When do we suffer from referred pain?

Referred pain is a pain that’s source is in one place of the body but we feel it on another part of the body. Internal organs and structure are well supplied with nerves, but pain is widely spread and poorly located compared with skin sensations. Most of the pain is caused by stretching and contracting, as in the pain of colic. Internal pain will cause stimulation of local nerves in a portion of the spinal cord, and this makes it appear that the pain is coming from the skin which is supplied by the sensory nerves. The heart (1) and the oesophagus (2) refer pain to the neck, shoulders and arms. The uterus (3) and pancreas (4) refer pain to the lumber region. The kidneys (5) refer pain into the groin. Pain from the diaphragm may be referred to the shoulders as the phrenic nerve is formed from the spinal nerves in the neck, which also supply the shoulders.

Fact File:

Some areas of the skin are densely packed with nerve endings, as in the finger-tips, while others, as on the back, have comparatively few.


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