Body Lab Milano

Pain and Referred Pain – What is the difference?

One of the most common types of pain we see coming from our patients in our clinic is referred pain. So what is this exactly? Referred pain, is a referred sensation, is a phenomenon in which a person feels pain or sensation in an area of the body that is different from the actual source of the problem. For example, a commonly known referral pattern is when a person experiences a heart attack and they feel pain in the left arm rather than the chest, where the heart is located.

This occurs because of interconnecting sensory nerves and the pain is perceived in a location different to the actual site of painful stimulus. Osteopaths, like us are trained to distinguish between pain and referred pain. 

Osteopathy focuses on the musculoskeletal system and its influence on overall health. As Osteopathic practitioners, we assess and treat the body as a whole, rather than focusing solely on the site of pain.

Now that we have understood that Osteopaths can distinguish between pain and referred pain, let us examine how we can asses, understand and diagnose pain on examination using various techniques.

* Connective tissue/soft tissue: Muscular and fascial release, ligamentous balance and stretching are just some of the techniques used to address tension or imbalances in the soft tissues. This can help alleviate tension and strains that may have contributed to pain.

* Joint mobilization: Aiming to restore normal range of motion and alleviate any joint-related factors that may have contributed to referred pain

* Various techniques: Address structural imbalances that could be related to pain. These techniques aim to restore proper alignment and function.

* Overall body (postural) balance: We consider the body as an interconnected system, and work to restore balance throughout the body. By addressing any postural or bio-mechanical issues, we can reduce strain on certain body regions and potentially alleviate pain.

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