Deep referred pain is also called "scleratogenous" referred pain and is far more likely a cause of symptoms referring down a patient's arms or legs than is a true nerve root or "radicular" problem. We also call deep referred pain "somatic referred pain" where the "soma" or body tissues like muscles, bone, joint, ligaments, skin and fascia.
Once a trained clinician in the area of pain has ruled out central and peripheral nerve damage, their consideration of a patient's pain source causing referral should be that of joints, ligaments, or muscles. This is the most common scenario. The cause of this type of referred pain comes from our understanding of a patient's modulation of pain perception. There are several proposed theories for referred pain including:
Examples of a patient's deep referred, "somatic" or "scleratogenous", referred pain that is most commonly seen with spinal related complaints could be from things like:
Though describing the concept of deep referred pain as above may make it sound simple and easy to comprehend, the truth is that deep referred pain can overlap considerably with other clinical pain presentations and differentiation may be difficult. A way to remember "scleratogenous" pain is that it may be:
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Dr. Jared Wilson, DC, MS
Dr. Jared Wilson blogs about chiropractic health and other relevant health news. He is an expert in musculoskeletal injuries and functional rehab. He holds a Chiropractic Doctorate degree and a Masters degree in Exercise and Sports Science.