What Causes Pain in Internal Organs?

Visceral pain is a type of discomfort that originates from the body's internal organs, such as the stomach, pancreas, or intestines. It is caused by swelling and stretching of the organs, obstruction, especially of the intestines or urethra, and visceral hyperalgesia, which is an increased sensitivity to pain. People may also experience a pattern of recurring visceral pain due to problems such as stomach sensitivity. Visceral pain is distinct from somatic pain, which occurs when pain receptors in tissues (including skin, muscles, skeleton, joints, and connective tissues) are activated.

Deep somatic pain occurs when stimuli activate the body's deepest pain receptors, including tendons, joints, bones, and muscles. Visceral pain is often referred to as referred pain because it can cause changes in sensation and even neuropathic pain. For example, heart pain may spread to the left arm and neck, bladder pain may be felt in the perineum, and a kidney infection may cause back pain. The internal organs do not have a high density of nociceptors like the skin does, and the mapping of pain in the brain is not detailed with respect to visceral pain.

This means that strong pain relievers such as narcotics are not used because they can slow down the digestive system and cause increased pain. Doctors will ask about symptoms to diagnose certain diseases related to visceral pain. They will be able to provide a treatment plan that reduces pain by treating the underlying cause and directly reducing the sensation of pain. In some cases, a more aggressive approach may be needed.

Marcie Macvicar
Marcie Macvicar

Extreme web nerd. Total food aficionado. Typical coffee evangelist. Alcohol enthusiast. Passionate coffee evangelist.

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