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Organs

Types of pain

There are two types of pain in the body one called somatic pain which comes from the skin, muscles and soft tissues.

Visceral pain

Visceral pain comes from the internal organs and can be experienced as feeling dull and vague and is experienced by 40% of population.

Organs are not as well supplied by sensory nerves, so their pain usually comes from a reduction in blood supply (e.g. the heart in a heart attack or angina), or distension (e.g. the bowel or gall bladder as in irritable bowel or gallstones), or compression (as when a tumor compresses against an organ).

In Visceral pain people often experience a sense of unwellness including profuse sweating, nausea, bowel disturbance, changes in heart rate, temperature or blood pressure.

Very often visceral pain can radiate to other parts of the body for example in a heart attack symptoms may be sweating, nausea, vomiting, palpitations and anxiety with pain radiating down the left arm, the stomach, back, neck and jaw. In a silent heart attack pain in the chest may be absent.

Kidneys have a typical presentation of loin to groin pain, Lung and diaphragm to neck and shoulders, liver and gallbladder to and around the right shoulder blade, both stomach and pancreas to upper stomach area.

Somatic pain

This is generally seen as a musculoskeletal pain, it has a more defined area as nerves supply the bones, joints and muscles and as a result tends to be more intense.

The receptors picking up these pain impulses are called nociceptors and are sensitive to swelling, temperature and vibration and gives a pain sensation as for example bruising yourself when falling over.

Deep somatic pain usually arises from joints, tendons and muscles, whereas superficial somatic pain arises from the skin and mucous membranes.

Somatic pain can become chronic as for example in low back and neck pain (not caused by nerve damage), fibromyalgia, tension headaches and arthritis.

Help is at hand

Somatic pain can all be generally helped with Osteopathy and Acupuncture, both effective in reducing the pain from both muscles, tendons and the deeper joints.

For many kinds of visceral pain help is at hand to help reduce pain particularly in more benign conditions such as irritable bowel. However, it is always important to seek further treatment to seek advice in treating the affected viscera.