Visceral pain

Visceral pain occurs in organs and tissues of the thoracic and abdominal cavities. It may be caused by several factors, including:

• Inflammation

• Chemical stimuli

• Spasm of a hollow organ

• Overdistension of a hollow organ

Inflammation of the appendix (appendicitis) and gallbladder (cholecystitis) are common examples of visceral pain. Chemical stimuli may include gastric acid (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer) or those substances associated with tissue ischemia and tissue damage. Spasm of the smooth muscle in the wall of a hollow organ causes pain due to the direct stimulation of mechanical nociceptors as well as ischemia-induced stimulation of polymodal nociceptors. This type of pain often occurs in the form of cramps. In other words, the pain increases to a high intensity and then subsides. This process occurs rhythmically, once every few minutes. Cramping pain frequently occurs in gastroenteritis, menstruation, and parturition (labor). Overdistension of a hollow organ causes pain by excessive stretch of the tissue and stimulation of mechanical noci-ceptors. Overdistension may also cause collapse of the blood vessels, resulting in development of ischemic pain. Severe visceral pain is typically accompanied by autonomic nervous system responses, such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, and pallor. This type of pain is poorly localized.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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