What Is Referred Pain?

What Is Referred Pain?

Nobody wants to experience pain or discomfort and it can quickly become quite debilitating and distressing for the sufferer, especially if you have had treatments in the past and still can’t work out where the pain is coming from and why.

If this is the case, it’s possible that you could be experiencing referred pain, where you feel discomfort at a location other than the site of the painful origin or stimulus. This is down to a network of interconnecting sensory nerves, which supply lots of different tissues around your body.

If you injure yourself in one place in this network, it’s possible that when your brain interprets this signal, you also experience signals in the surrounding nervous tissue (Physiopedia, referred pain guide).

Because referred pain can be a symptom that there’s something quite serious happening somewhere in your body, it’s important that you don’t ignore it and you go and see someone as soon as you can.

For example, referred pain in your jaw could be symptomatic of a heart attack, so if you are experiencing pain of this kind, make sure you see a healthcare professional.


How do you treat referred pain?

It’s essential that the root cause of the pain is discovered so that the right kind of treatment can be applied, otherwise you’ll just be treating the part of you that’s in pain, rather than addressing the part that’s actually injured or infected.

Various techniques can be used to treat this kind of pain, including acupuncture, laser therapy, osteopathic manual medicine and trigger point injections.

It can be particularly distressing to experience referred pain, however, because it can be tricky to identify the root cause and this can have an impact on your mental health, as well.

Generally speaking, you will need to speak to a healthcare provider if you are experiencing referred pain, especially if you know you haven’t hurt or strained your body in some way.


How can osteopathy help with referred pain?

Osteopaths have been specially trained to locate underlying sources of pain, using a variety of different techniques (such as massage and muscle manipulation) to restore proper function to the affected area of your body.

If you’ve already been to see an osteo, you may well have noticed that they don’t always treat the site where the pain is felt, but often places elsewhere on your body near the painful area.

If you do find yourself struggling in this way, come and see us here at Frimley osteopathic consultancy OsteoVision to see how we can help. We have a team of experts who specialise in pain management, rehabilitation and recovery, and we’ll be able to help you start living pain-free – allowing you to get back on your feet quickly.