1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Is Somatic Pain?

By

Updated June 09, 2014

Man massaging his shoulder
Tetra Images/Getty Images
Definition: Somatic pain is a type of nociceptive pain. Unlike visceral pain (another type of nociceptive pain), the nerves that detect somatic pain are located in the skin and deep tissues. These specialized nerves, called nociceptors, pick up sensations related to temperature, vibration and swelling in the skin, joints and muscles.

If you cut your skin, the pain you experience is somatic pain. You also experience somatic pain if you stretch a muscle too far or exercise for a long period of time. Nociceptors send impulses to the brain when they detect some kind of tissue damage.

How somatic pain and nociceptive pain are different.

Most somatic pain responds well to over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs or other analgesics. It usually fades once the injury heals, however somatic pain lasting longer than expected can become chronic pain.

Pronunciation: sew-mat-ick pain
Also Known As: muscle pain, skin pain, tissue pain
Examples:
Some examples of somatic pain include certain types of headaches as well as some types of pelvic pain.
Related Video
How to Choose Pain Medication
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Chronic Pain
  4. Types of Chronic Pain
  5. What Is Somatic Pain? (Definition and Examples)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.