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How Does Pain Spread?
How Does Pain Spread?

Pain does not necessarily stay in one position. With time, pain can spread from one part of the body to another, shift, expand or radiate, making treatment even harder.

One common way that pain spreads to other parts of the body is by overcompensation, where we change our movement patterns in order to compensate the injured or hurt part of the body. A typical example is a back pain due to chronic knee or foot pain. If a part of the lower leg, like a knee or foot, is irritated, our normal body mechanics may disrupt and become limp when walking. When this modified pattern of gait persists for a longer period, it puts additional stress on other body parts which may have to work extra hard to compensate for leg weakness. Before you know it, the lower back muscles begin to tighten up, get sore and rigid, which can spread easily to the right hip and even up the back to the shoulder.

Further discomfort may also be caused by stopping us from using a hurting body part. Therefore, patients may experience prolonged pain in their hands or shoulders. When they try to continue their normal work at home or at work, they rely primarily on the opposite hand and arm. This over-dependence on one side of the body will result in substantial overuse and new pain. A right-handed person with carpel tunnel syndrome and pain in right hand may get similar experiences also in left hand. You must follow your treatment in a pain clinic.

Measuring pain

Numerical Rating Scales: It measures pain on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 means no pain, and 10 shows the worst possible pain. It is helpful to assess improvement in pain levels in response to treatment or worsening.

Verbal Descriptor scale: This can be used to assess infants, seniors or people with autism or dyslexia cognitively impaired. Instead of numbers, specific informative questions are asked to limit the patient's feeling of pain.

Faces Scale: The person in pain shows a series of faces that range from distressed to happy. This is used mainly in children and also has great results on autism affected people.

Brief Pain Inventory: This is a standardized questionnaire that evaluates the influence of pain on mood, behavior, and sleep patterns and how pain may have impacted the interpersonal relationships of the patient.

McGill Pain Questionnaire: It allows people to select terms from 20 classes of words to get a thorough understanding of the feeling of pain. For examples, Group 6 is "tug, fire, shoot" and group 9 is "dull, sore, hurting, dull, strong."

There is also something known as pain, and this can be seen from sore "triggering points" muscles. Trigger points are close and sensitive when you hit them, but they can also induce the pain that occurs elsewhere. Because many spend so much time on laptops or smartphones, causes frequently form around the trapezium, which has a large back and shoulder blade muscle behind the arm. In some cases, headaches, jaw pain, eye pain and even ring finger pain have been due to the activation of trapezial points.

Referred pain may also be caused by nerve irritation. Sciatica is a common instance of a bulging or herniated disk rubbing on the nerve in the lower back causing pain to travel down the back of the leg. This form of referred pain can feel like a sensation of electric firing that radiates the leg.

The way pain is treated in the brain can also cause symptoms to spread in the body. Intense nerve pain arising from the injured arm or leg may begin to arise in another arm or leg not injured. Which causes it is still unknown, but the new pain in the uninjured limb will imitate the original nerve pain.

As you can see, there are many ways pain can spread or travel around the body. The more we understand the causes in each situation, the more likely we are to handle them effectively. Checking how the health team feels the pain can provide helpful hints. For example, muscle pain usually feels sick, throbbing, twitching or tight and you begin to experience some kind of muscular overcompensation in a part of the organ that was not previously damaged or injured. But if you feel more electric, shooting, burning, or knocking, then that probably suggests nerve irritation, like a herniated disc pinned on the back. In many cases, restoring function and movement where pain has begun will help reduce discomfort and tension in other overworked parts of the body. Listen to your body for insights to guide the process.

At Neuroscience Specialist, in our pain clinic in OKC, we will treat your chronic pain or other pain as per requirement. Make your appointment today with us.

**Information presented here is not intended to be qualified medical advice. Nothing expressed herein creates a doctor-patient relationship.