Sometimes we may feel pain in our arm or leg but the cause of the pain is actually somewhere quite distant.
Pain can be felt in another part of the body because signals from many parts of the body often travel through the same nerve pathways in the brain and spinal cord. So a person having a heart attack, for example, may experience chest pain and or they may experience left sided jaw, neck and arm pain. Another example is a person with a bulging disc in their lower neck may experience shoulder, arm or hand pain because a nerve is being compressed.
We can also get referred pain from trigger points that are tight knots in our muscles. These can often be a cause of headaches or pain in our arms and legs.
Understanding referred pain can lead to better diagnoses of various conditions. Osteopaths are trained to understand where their patients’ pain is coming from and can therefore treat the correct problem area punctually and effectively.