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What Is Referred Pain?


By Biagio Mazza

Referred pain is the phenomenon that occurs when the interpretation of where you feel pain, is actually different than the directly underlying cause. We at Elite Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy have patients come in all the time and they'll say, "I swear to you my problem is right here." However, it doesn't have anything to do with that area of their body, it's just being sent there.

For example, the shoulder is a really interesting structure in the body. As nerves come out of the neck, they kind of cluster into the shoulder before they spread out into the rest of the arm. And it's just to get all the nerves down that provide sensation, provide muscle strength and power to arm musculature itself.

But the problem is, if you have an injury in the shoulder, that pain doesn't always get interpreted right where you feel it. So you can have a problem that's actually underneath the surface on your shoulder, and feel it all the way down your arm. Alternatively, you can have a problem in your neck, and not feel in your neck at all. In fact, you may feel ait down in your arm.

All that being said, when you experience pain from an injury you have to be seeing a good clinician to make sure they can tease out whether it's true pain from underneath where you're pointing, or if it's referred symptoms from a different injury.

If you are experiencing pain and would like to get a better understanding of the rootcause of your injury give Elite Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy a call at 816-941-2550 and ask to schedule a FREE 30 minute consult with me, Biagio.