Referred muscle pain/hyperalgesia and central sensitisation
Maria Adele Giamberardino Pathophysiology of Pain Laboratory 'G. D'Annunzio' University of Chieti Italy
Department of Medicine and Science of Aging 'G. D'Annunzio' University of Chieti Italy
Referred muscle pain, resulting from algogenic conditions in viscera or other deep somatic structures (another muscle, a joint), is most often accompanied by secondary hyperalgesia and trophic changes (hypotrophy). Referred pain/ hyperalgesia from viscera is partly due to central sensitisation of viscero-somatic convergent neurons (triggered by the massive afferent visceral barrage) but also probably results from a reflex arc activation (the visceral input triggers reflex muscle contraction in turn responsible for sensitisation of muscle nociceptors). Referred pain/hyperalgesia from deep somatic structures is not explained by the mechanism of central sensitisation of convergent neurons in its original form, since there is little convergence from deep tissues in the dorsal horn neurons. It has been proposed that these connections, not present from the beginning, are opened by nociceptive input from skeletal muscle, and that referral to myotomes outside the lesion results from the spread of central sensitisation to adjacent spinal segments.
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