Referred vs. Radicular Pain!
Pain is not simply just pain😱! Pain is a very complex process that our brains experience. 🧐
One of the greatest challenges that health care providers face, is finding the SOURCE of the patient’s pain and understanding what type of pain the patient is experiencing. .
For instance, a patient may feel pain in their arm💪🏼 but the damage to their tissue may be from their shoulder. This is just a simple example of the challenges health care providers face when assessing their patients.
Being able to understand and distinguish the type of pain you are experiencing will not only help you be in tuned with your body, but also help in your rehabilitation.
💢Referred pain tends to be pain that is less focal and contained to a general area. It is usually close to the source of the pain. This type of pain is often associated with trigger points, which are small knots in your muscles. This type of pain is usually dull and aching, often deep and steady. The pain can be present at rest or with movement. Referred pain can result in complaints such as: muscle aches, headaches, low back pain, jaw pain, or even mimic symptoms like carpal tunnel syndrome.
⚡️Radicular pain is usually associated with nerve pain. This type of pain starts in one place and travels to another, usually along the path of the affected nerve. Radicular pain can feel like pins and needles💉📍, burning🔥, electric shock along the pathway of the nerve, and/or tingling (little ants 🐜crawling along the nerve). If you suffer from this type of pain, it is most commonly constant with altered skin sensations at rest or with movement. This pain is caused by a nerve irritation/impingement from:
The classical example of radicular pain is sciatica. If you irritate your sciatic nerve, it causes an electric/burning pain that shoots down your buttock and down your leg to your toes.
Whenever you feel pain, take a deep breath and really think about what you’re experiencing. Ask yourself: Am I feeling an electric shock, dull ache, or burning type of pain?