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Integrated Health Solutions

The leading Downtown and Northside Indianapolis Chiropractor

Comprehensive treatment for lasting pain relief.

What is “Referred Pain”?

Have you ever experienced pain in an arm, leg, finger or toe that feels completely random or difficult to explain? Are you aware that pain isn’t always perceived in the exact same area? Did you know that even issues with the spine can present in the extremities?

People are often surprised when they hear that chiropractors treat more than just back pain. They often associate chiropractors with adjustments, which address misalignments in the spine but also throughout the body. Other issues, including headaches, sciatica and other referred pain can be treated with a multitude of therapies.

In this article, we’ll discuss what referred pain is, how it works, and the best way to treat it so you can get back to living pain-free!

What Is Referred Pain?

Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than the site of origin. It is the result of a network of interconnecting sensory nerves that supplies many different tissues. For example, most organs refer pain out to the body, such as the heart referring to the left shoulder.

Why does this happen?

Pain is simply a symptom – it’s our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. The sensation is a warning from the nervous system to stop doing something that it perceives as harmful. When one nerve detects pain, it will send a signal to the other nerves in the network, letting them know there’s an issue in the area. These nerves then tell your brain that there is pain in another area of your body. The “referred pain” occurs because multiple sensory neurons converge on a single nerve pathway – the brain is sometimes unable to distinguish where exactly it came from. 

Referred pain can present as several different sensations and has the capability of being either subtle or intense. Referred pain can be caused by nerve root irritations, peripheral nerve entrapments or many other impediments on the nerve pathways, including inflammation. This is why it is important to not assume that the location of pain is the source. 

How do you treat Referred Pain?

The most important aspect of treating referred pain is knowing its origin!

At Integrated Health Solutions, our doctors are highly trained to discover and treat the source of the dysfunction. 

If you are suffering from chronic pain that seems to have no cause, our physicians can help relieve your symptoms by treating the underlying dysfunction. Our integrated approach not only helps lower pain, we also help restore the body to its optimal potential while eliminating aberrant factors that are causing the dysfunction.

Content provided by Dr. Drew Hunt

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