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What Is Visceral Pain?

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Updated July 16, 2014

Senior patient suffering from backache
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Definition: Visceral pain is a type of nociceptive pain that comes from the internal organs. Like somatic pain, pain receptors called nociceptors send signals to the spinal cord and brain when damage is detected. Unlike somatic pain, however, visceral pain is harder to pinpoint.

Other ways somatic pain and visceral pain are different.

Visceral pain is often described as generalized aching or squeezing. It is caused by compression in and around the organs, or by stretching of the abdominal cavity. Sometimes visceral pain may radiate to other areas in the body, making it even harder to pinpoint its exact location.

Visceral pain responds well to weak opiods such as codeine, though stronger opiods such as morphine may also be used.

Pronunciation: viss-uhr-ull pain
Also Known As: organ pain
Examples:
Some types of pelvic pain, such as those caused by irritable bowel syndrome or bladder disorders, are considered to be visceral pain.
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