Somatic Pain@2x

Somatic Pain

Somatic Pain is a type of nociceptive pain that is experienced locally. If you cut your skin, stretch a muscle too far, exercise for a long period, or fall onto the ground and hurt yourself, it is somatic pain. This pain is described as constant or intermittent, gnawing, aching, cramping, and throbbing. Somatic pain is frequently localized to a certain area. It is continuous and stimulated by movement.

This type of pain is often divided into two forms:

  • Superficial pain befalls when pain receptors in the mucous membranes, skin, and mucus are activated. Common daily injuries typically cause superficial somatic pain.  
  • Deep somatic pain happens once pain receptors are activated by the stimuli deeper in the body including bones, joints, tendons, and muscles.

Furthermore, somatic pain may be spread across more areas of the body depending on the range of the injury.

Causes of Somatic Pain

The cause of somatic pain is not yet clearly known, but this type of pain happens from a variety of sources. Somatic pain has several different possible causes that include:

  • A bone fracture
  • A collision that harms connective tissues
  • A minor or large injury to bones or joints
  • A stressed muscle because of extreme use
  • Any cut or trauma to the skin
  • Arthritis
  • Cancers that affect the bones or skin
  • Diseases that affect connective tissues such as osteoporosis

Risk Factors of Somatic Pain

Women are most likely to experience somatic pain because they generally have a high pain sensitivity. Women also have a higher likelihood of developing conditions such as osteoporosis, fractures, and reproductive organs issues that may cause somatic pain.

Another factor that may have a role in the perception of somatic pain is genetics. If you typically have more pain receptors, the more pain you will be experiencing. Stress and depression are mental health conditions that may also contribute to a higher perception of pain.

In addition, low calcium consumption for somatic pain due to osteoporosis is a risk factor for somatic pain.

Treating Somatic Pain

Somatic pain will typically subside within a few days. On the other hand, if you experience persistent or severe pain for at least a week, you must see your doctor. When seeing your doctor, it is important to provide them with the following information:

  • Your medical history
  • The intensity of the pain
  • How long you have had the pain
  • Where you feel the pain
  • When you started experiencing the pain

Your doctor will then put your symptoms in the context of your medical history and other health problems you may have. Sometimes, your doctor will also run objective tests such as physical exams and lab analyses.

After reviewing your symptoms and other factors, your doctor will give you a treatment plan. This may include seeing a specialist to deal with the underlying cause such as a gastroenterologist for a stomach issue and an orthopedist for joint pain. Also, your doctor may recommend that you see a pain management doctor.  

Medications for Somatic Pain

Doctors will frequently recommend medications for the treatment of somatic pain. Over-the-counter medications you can take include:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Tramadol
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen

More severe types of pain can be treated using prescription medicines. Your doctor may prescribe medications such as:

  • Metaxalone
  • Baclofen
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Opioids including Oxycodone and Hydrocodone

It is essential to be very watchful with these medications as they are addictive. Rheumatologists and Orthopedists may use injections to treat pain in the bones and joints. The recommended medications may be different for each patient. Follow carefully the given prescription of your doctor especially in treating certain types of pain.

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