Medical Definition of Referred pain

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Referred pain: Pain felt at a site other than where the cause is situated. An example is the pain from the pancreas, which is felt in the back. Pain in internal organs is often referred to sites distant from them. Mechanisms of referred pain are complex, and are related to innervations of organs by afferent pain fibers which following similar paths as the sympathetic nervous system.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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