Muscle, Nerve or Organ Pain
Published in the Times Standard
          Patients frequently assume and comment that their pain is “just in the muscle, Doc.”  While sometimes they’re right, distinguishing the source of their pain is crucial to the healing process and pain reduction.
            Pain is a sophisticated complex mechanism created for our protection.  To feel pain, specialized nerve fibers are stimulated.  These neurons are referred to as nociceptors and they respond to irritants whether mechanical, as in tissue injury, chemical, heat, cold or pressure.  Through connections or synapses with other nerves, the sensation is transmitted by electrical impulses to a part of the spinal cord up to the brain where we experience them as pain.  So the pain that’s “all in your head,” really is! How you interpret the sensation depends on the pathway that is taken through the spinal cord.  Some feel it as dull and achy, some sharp and stabbing or throbbing.
            Nociceptors are more numerous under the skin where a higher concentration of nerve endings exist (cutaneous pain).  Somatic pain is from ligaments, tendons, bones, joints, blood vessels and even nerves themselves, all are less populated with nociceptors.  Visceral pain is from body organs or internal cavities, which have even less nociceptors.  Cutaneous pain is therefore of shorter duration, more localized and well defined.  Somatic pain is dull, poorly localized and longer in duration than cutaneous.  Visceral pain is a more aching type and of a longer duration than somatic pain.  You can see why it’s important to distinguish the location and type of pain.
            Generally speaking, nerves that are pinched or irritated produce numbness or tingling of pins and needles, shooting or stabbing pain like an electric shock.  Muscle pain will be a more localized, sore, burning type, pinpoint tenderness if a strain/sprain or trigger point is involved.  The problem comes in distinguishing the referred type of pain.  Is it shoulder pain or my heart or gall bladder referring pain to the area through related spinal cord connections?  Mechanism of injury can make the pain obvious, but old injuries can recur out of the slightest of movements.
            This complex interconnected nerve system becomes an all important lifeline to our bodies.  Uninterrupted or dampened impulses along these nerves to and from the spinal cord are crucial to our health.  Chiropractic’s goal is to get to the cause of the pain and provide the proper adjustment needed to restore the communication lines.  If it’s not chiropractic then a referral can be made to another physician.  If it is something Chiropractic deals with, then nothing else will “naturally.”
Crosbie Chiropractic
Michael H. Crosbie, D.C.
1828 Main Street
Fortuna, CA 95540
(707) 725-5668