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Pain 1 

CHAPTER CONTENTS although no peripheral tissue damage exists, the pain is just as
Definition of pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 distressing as somatic pain2 (see Section 16).
The taxonomy committee of the International Association
Perception and modulation of pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 for the Study of Pain defined pain as: ‘an unpleasant sensory
Peripheral nociceptive system . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 and emotional experience associated with actual or potential
Afferent nociceptive system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage’.3 Pain is
thus not a ‘primary sensation’ in the sense that smell, taste,
Pain modulation systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
touch, vision and hearing are, but is an ‘emotional state’, like
Referred pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 sorrow, love or hate. The consequence is that it is extremely
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 difficult to explain one’s pain to another person. This is
Possible mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 reflected in the numerous words that patients use to describe
Clinical consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 intensity and quality of pain: twinge, ache, distress, discomfort,
soreness, cramp, suffering, misery, agony, torment, anguish.4
Rules of referred pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
The fact that pain is always a subjective experience provides
Dermatomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 the first difficulty in its use in diagnosis. The language used is
Discrepancies between dermatomes and not always easy to understand, and the examiner usually needs
myotomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 a high level of competence and understanding to translate
Referred pain in visceral diseases . . . . . . . . . . . 15 patients’ subjective descriptions into more objective and useful
Referred pain is felt deeply and distally in the statements.
dermatome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 However, unlike the other affective states, pain is always
Segmentally referred pain does not cross felt in some particular part of the body. Having said this, the
the midline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 localization of the pain very often lacks precision, and it is often
Dura mater an ‘exception’ to segmental experienced at some distance from its source – ‘referred pain’.
reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 This constitutes the second problem in using the symptom of
Referred tenderness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 pain as a diagnostic aid.
Factors determining reference of pain . . . . . . . . 18

Perception and modulation of pain


Definition of pain The intensity of pain does not depend only on the intensity of
irritation of the peripheral nociceptive system (receptors and
Pain is the presenting symptom in almost every orthopaedic their afferents). Centripetal transmission of peripheral noci­
patient. A complaint of pain is always indicative of some variety ceptive stimulation is subject to varying degrees of facilitatory
or degree of dysfunction1 and results from a combination of and inhibitory modulation at different synapses during its
physical and psychological causes, although sometimes one or course to the cerebral cortex. An important modulation site,
the other predominates. All pain must be regarded as real. Pain of major concern to the orthopaedic physician, is the gateway
entirely devoid of somatic cause is labelled ‘psychogenic pain’: synapse in the basal spinal nucleus, but there are also
© Copyright 2013 Elsevier, Ltd. All rights reserved.
General Principles

modulation systems in the spinal grey matter, in the thalamus II


and in the cerebral cortex itself.5
I

Peripheral nociceptive system


Nociceptive receptors are defined as nerve endings that are
sensitive to noxious or potentially noxious (mechanical and C
chemical) stimuli. The perceptual aspect of the nociceptive
system consists of unmyelinated free nerve endings, distrib­
uted three dimensionally throughout skin, subcutaneous and
adipose tissue, fasciae, aponeuroses, ligaments, tendons,
muscles, periosteum and bone.6,7 Clinically, three distinct areas
of pain perception may be considered: the skin (superficial III
somatic pain); the locomotor system (deep somatic pain); and
the viscera (visceral pain). Of these, only the skin is adapted
to localize pain exactly in the region of injury. Deep somatic
and visceral pain are often felt in unusual locations (see
Referred pain, p. 6).
In normal circumstances, this nociceptive receptor system
remains largely inactive. The unmyelinated free nerve endings
are depolarized only by the application of mechanical forces B A
sufficient to deform or damage the tissue that contains them
or after exposure to sufficient concentrations of irritating
chemical substances (lactic acid, serotonin, prostaglandins and
histamine), released from local inflammatory cells and from
the peripheral terminals of the primary afferent fibres
themselves.8–10
Another important influence on nociceptor sensitivity is the
pH of the tissue. High local concentrations of protons are
known to occur in inflammation and the consequent reduction
in pH contributes to the sensitization of nociceptors.11,12
Fig 1.1 • The afferent nociceptive systems. Projection areas: I,
perceptual area; II, emotional area; III, memory storage. Three levels
Afferent nociceptive system of sensory neurone: A, primary sensory neurone; B, dorsal horn cell
(gateway synapse); C, thalamic relay.
Nerve impulses generated at the nociceptive receptor system
are delivered into the spinal cord by small myelinated and with internuncial neurones.16 However, the majority of the
unmyelinated nerve fibres (5 µm or less in diameter), that ascending nociceptive inputs terminate (sometimes after cross­
mainly belong to the Ad and C groups of afferent nerve fibres ing several synapses) in the thalamic nuclear relay sites.17 It
(Fig. 1.1). Their cell bodies are located in the dorsal root should be emphasized that not only do the neurones in the
ganglia of the spinal nerves. The very small diameter of the C thalamic centres respond to peripheral noxious stimulation
nerves explains their slow conduction velocity (1 m/s), and but they can also be activated by mechanoreceptor peripheral
their extreme sensitivity to blockade by local anaesthetic drugs. stimulation (see Pain modulation systems below).
The myelinated Ad fibres are slightly larger and have a faster The axons of the thalamic nuclei then ascend to the neu­
conduction velocity (10 m/s).13 rones of the cerebral cortex. Three thalamocortical projections
The nociceptive afferents enter the spinal cord, where they can be defined: those responsible for perception; those related
divide into short ascending and descending branches, before to the emotional experience; and those responsible for
they terminate at synapses on various groups of relay neurones memory.18
in the dorsal horn of the spinal grey matter. Most of the con­ The first project to the superior paracentral region of the
nections are to the neurones in the basal spinal nucleus (at the cerebral cortex and seem to contribute to the so-called
base of the dorsal horn).14,15 ‘perceptual component’ of pain – the patient’s ability to perceive
The efferents of these cross the cord obliquely to turn whereabouts (in which segment of his body) the pain is
upwards on the contralateral side and form the anterolateral localized.19
spinal tract, which connects the basal spinal nucleus with the The activation of the second thalamocortical projection
thalamic nuclei and has therefore traditionally been called the system, projections that pass from the medial and anterior
‘spinothalamic tract’. Most of the fibres in this tract, however, thalamic nuclei to the frontal lobes, evokes the emotional dis-
do not directly ascend to the thalamus without interruption, turbances related with pain.20 Thus, a stimulus ‘hurts’ only
but instead synapse with neurones in the brainstem reticular when the nociceptive afferent projections arrive at the frontal
system, while others re-enter the spinal grey matter to synapse cortex.

4
Pain CHAPTER 1

A third thalamocortical projection system links some of the M


medial thalamic nuclei to the cortex of the ipsilateral temporal
lobe. Here the recent and long-term memory storage systems
of the brain are located.21,22
A fourth projection system exists which relates some tha­
lamic nuclei to subjacent hypothalamic nuclei in the ventral
diencephalon. It is very probable that this thalamohypotha­ DM SG TR
lamic system provides the means whereby nociceptive afferent
activity entering the brain evokes the complex of visceral reflex
(cardiovascular and gastrointestinal) effects and hormonal
changes that are so often associated with the experience
of pain.23
In conclusion, activity of nociceptive receptors distributes P
pain into four different projecting systems in the brain, each
contributing to a specific component of the global experience
Fig 1.2 • Gate control theory (after Melzack and Wall24): P, small
‘pain’. However, the projection of pain from a peripheral
nociceptive fibres (pain); M, large mechanoreceptive fibres; TR,
receptor to the brain is not via a straight-line system. The
transmission cells (relay neurones in the basal spinal nucleus); DM,
intensity of pain is not only determined by the intensity of
descending modulation; SG, substantia gelatinosa; +, excitatory
peripheral stimulation but also depends largely on peripheral effect; –, inhibitory effect.
and central modulation systems at the various synaptic stages
in the course of the afferent pathway within the central nervous
system. These modulation systems account for the large vari­ nucleus. This inhibition is presynaptic and is reduced only
ation in the intensity of pain experienced. Patients with appar­ when there is a massive input from the small nociceptive
ently comparable pathological lesions undergo widely different afferent fibres. The latter thus facilitates central
degrees of suffering; even in an individual patient, the intensity transmission of pain. The interaction between both
of experience of pain varies widely with the prevailing emo­ systems is gate control: impulses travelling along the larger
tional mood, with concentration on the problem or with sug­ fibres close the gate, and those in the small fibres open
gestions from others. the gate so that impulses to thalamus and cortex can pass
through.
• The activity of the gate is not only modulated by impulses
Pain modulation systems from nociceptive and mechanoreceptor systems but also
receives a descending and regulating feedback from the
There are both peripheral and central pain modulation systems. reticular system, the thalamus and the cerebral cortex.
This peripheral modulation of pain has considerable clinical
Peripheral modulation of pain importance. It indicates that centripetal projection into the
One of the most important sites at which a synaptic modula­ central nervous system of afferent activity from the nocicep­
tion operates from both the peripheral and central sources tive receptor systems is not passed straight to any ‘pain centre’
is at the synapses in the basal spinal nucleus. In 1965, in the brain but receives constant modulation at its synaptic
Melzack and Wall,24 basing their theory mainly on the work of portal of entry into the neural axis at the level of the basal
Noordenbos,25 published an article entitled: ‘Pain mechanism: spinal nucleus. The modulation stems from the concurrent
a new theory’. They called their concept of peripheral pain activity of the mechanoreceptors located in the same tissues,
modulation the gate control theory (Fig. 1.2), which is based and from feedback through projection systems descending
on three premises: from the brainstem and cerebral cortex. This effect is one of
the reasons why movement and selective stimulation of mecha­
• Afferent nerves contain two types of fibres: small fibres
noreceptors can cause inhibition of pain.
(P), as described above, and large-diameter afferents (M),
which are derived from the various mechanoreceptors in
the articular capsule, ligaments and muscle spindles. Central modulation of pain
These fibres produce information about static joint Awareness of pain is also modulated at the central projection
position, pressure changes in the joints, joint movement systems.
and stresses that develop in the joint at the extremes of
movement. The fibres of mechanoreceptor transmission At the reticular formation
have a lower stimulation threshold and a faster conduction A modulation system at the reticular formation in the brain­
velocity than the smaller and mostly unmyelinated fibres stem exerts a continuous inhibitory effect on the projection
of the nociceptive system. neurones in the spinal nucleus ganglion via the reticulospinal
• In the substantia gelatinosa (SG) of the dorsal horn, both tract, which is discharging continuously at varying frequencies
afferent systems converge and interrelate, with the overall throughout life.26 The inhibitory effect on nociceptive afferent
effect that the large-diameter afferents have an inhibitory transmission is augmented when the attention of the patient
effect on the relay neurones located in the basal spinal is distracted from the site of pain. This is what occurs when

5
General Principles

another painful site elsewhere in the body is stimulated the results of a systematic examination of the phenomena of
(counter-irritation), when the patient concentrates on work or referred pain, demonstrating segmental radiation and failure to
other activities or when hypnosis is induced.27 The inhibitory cross the midline.34,35
effect of this reticular system also increases when the blood His experiments were confirmed by others.36–38 Later, the
concentration of catecholamines is very high, as can be the case concept of segmental reference of pain was refined39,40 and
in states of great emotional tension.28 Also some drugs (chlor­ exact borders of the different dermatomes mapped out.41–44
promazine, diazepam and morphine) may selectively increase
the activity of the reticular neurones that operate this inhibi­
tory system.29 Possible mechanisms
Inhibitory reticular activity is depressed and pain is enhanced
when attention is concentrated on the painful site, or following The fact that referred pain is an error in perception was first
the administration of barbiturates, caffeine or theophylline.30 pointed out by John Hunter in 1835 (cited by Cyriax).45 It was
obvious that if pain is felt elsewhere than at its true site, the
The cerebral cortex nociceptive mechanism is reacting inappropriately. However,
The cerebral cortex, especially the sectors located in the frontal since there seems to be logical consistency in the way the errors
and paracentral regions, in turn regulates the activity of the are made (pain from specific lesions is always referred to the
reticular formation. Reticular activity is increased, and percep­ same areas), there must also be a logical explanation for ‘fail­
tion of pain thus inhibited during rest and sleep and after the ures’. (If a machine always makes the same mistake, a struc­
ingestion of alcohol. Conversely, depression of reticular activity tural or functional disorder must exist.) The basis for the
is seen during increasing cortical activity, for example with inadequacy must therefore be sought in a miscalculation in the
anxiety, uncertainty and fear. pain mechanism. Theoretically, the defect can lie anywhere
along the afferent pathway, from the peripheral receptors to
the synapses in the spinal cord and the reticular area and pro­
jection zones in the sensory cortex.
Referred pain During the last century, numerous investigators have studied
referred pain. Two main hypotheses have been put forward:
Introduction • Error at the level of the spinal cord. Most authors have
opted for this hypothesis. Mackenzie described an
When the skin is pricked with a pin, the patient can exactly ‘irritable focus’ in the grey matter of the spinal cord as
pinpoint the injury. This ability to localize the pain is limited being responsible for the phenomenon.46 Also Livingston47
to skin and does not apply when the source of the pain is in placed the basis of the error at synapses in the dorsal
deep tissue. Deep somatic pain and visceral pain are often felt horns. Wedell et al48,49 and Pomeranz50 accepted a double
far from their point of source. In consequence, the examiner origin for the sensitive neurone – afferent fibres of a
needs to know the patterns of pain reference so as not to be somatic structure, and those coming from a related
misled about where to search for the seat of the trouble. Diag­ visceral structure synapse with the same spinal ganglion.
nosis of orthopaedic lesions often rests entirely on history and Taylor et al51 and Wells et al52 also made a plea for the
clinical examination and is therefore almost impossible if the spinal explanation of referred pain. Their view is that
rules and conditions relevant to referred pain are not clearly separate peripheral sensory nerves (deep somatic, skin and
understood. visceral) converge on to the same cell in the dorsal horn
Those who originally studied pain reference soon noted that of the spinal cord (Fig. 1.3).
although it appeared erroneous and anarchic, some rules of • Failure at the sensory cortex. A number of authors have
presentation did exist. For instance, pain from specific struc­ proposed that the misinterpretation is at the projection
tures is always referred to the same parts of the body: colic area of the sensory cortex rather than at the spinal
from a ureteral stone to groin and testicle, diaphragmatic dis­ level.33,53,54 The concept was clinically elaborated by
orders typically to the shoulder, angina pectoris to one or both Cyriax who based his theory on a number of premises:
arms, and the pain caused by arthritis of a hip very often to  Referred pain is a pain experience felt elsewhere than
the ipsilateral knee. Also pain is, in the main, referred distally at its true site of origin.
and its localization depends in a certain way on the severity of  Skin is an organ adapted to localize the pain accurately.
the lesion.
 Pain is experienced in the sensory cortex, which is
In 1905, Sir Henry Head described referred pain in the
abdominal wall caused by a visceral disease.31 Using the der­ organized dermatome by dermatome.
 The skin is represented accurately in the sensory
matological appearances in herpes zoster, he constructed
schemes of segmental innervation of the skin.32 He also cortex.
described dermatomic zones that became painful in the event  A memory storage system is located in the sensory

of provocation of a related visceral structure. His theory of cortex. This is fed by constant input from the skin.
pain reference was built on the concept of the segmental Input from deeper somatic structures is very rare in a
organization of the human body and its nociceptive system. normal and healthy individual.
Further experiments in this sphere were conducted by Sir As pointed out previously, pain is experienced at three differ­
Thomas Lewis in 1936.33 In 1938 and 1939, Kellgren published ent locations in the cerebral cortex. Perception – of the site of

6
Pain CHAPTER 1

Fig 1.3 • Separate peripheral sensory nerves


converge onto the same cell in the dorsal horn
of the spinal cord.
Superficial somatic pain

Deep somatic pain

Sympathetic ganglion
Visceral pain

Sympathetic nerve

pain – is located in the superior paracentral cortex. The frontal correct what is seen (provided the observer knows the correc­
lobes evoke the emotional disturbances related to pain, and the tion formula) and so locate the object accurately. The same
memory store is in the temporal lobes. applies to referred pain. The examiner must constantly ask if
The ability to localize pain in the region of injury is limited the localization of the pain is also the exact localization of the
to skin and does not apply when the source of the pain is in disorder and, if the answer is negative, what corrections must
deep tissue. In due course, a certain pain memory is built be made to arrive at the exact localization.
up in the temporal lobes, and achieves a high degree of ana­ Before this discussion of referred pain is continued, it should
tomical precision. The efficacy of the long-term memory be stressed that root pain reference does not necessarily mean
storage system is not simply a function of the intensity of the that a nerve is involved. The false idea that wide radiation of
painful experience but also relates to the length of time a pain is evidence of involvement of nerves is still strongly held
painful experience lasts or to the frequency with which it is by some and is usually the most important obstacle to a logical
repeated.55,56 Since the frequency of painful stimuli coming understanding of referred pain. To approach the problem of
from the skin is much higher than the frequency of stimuli referred pain with an open mind, the reader must constantly
coming from deeper structures, it will be obvious that pain remember that referred pain is an error of perception. Although
memory will centre around painful experiences from the skin. the nerve supply to these peripheral structures is distributed
When the same cortical cells receive a painful message arriving on a segmental basis, it does not indicate that referred pain
from a deep-seated structure, the memory will interpret it on ‘runs down’ a somatic nerve. For instance, pain at the anterior
the basis of past experience; in that the sensory cortex is aspect of the leg does not necessarily mean that a nerve struc­
arranged segmentally, the pain will be ascribed to the correct ture (L3, femoral nerve or peripheral branches of the femoral
segment but the system will fail to localize it accurately at the nerve) is involved. Although inflammation of the dural sleeve
site of the lesion. The brain therefore ‘places’ it in the tissue of the L3 nerve root does of course lead to pain extending in
it has a reference for – the skin. Pain is thus felt under the the L3 dermatome, the same pain can be provoked by a lesion
surface area connected with the particular cells that belong to in any other tissue belonging to the L3 segment (e.g. hip joint
the same segment as the tissue from which the nociceptive or psoas bursa). There will not be any difference in the nature
afferents originate. The pain is felt deep to the skin of the and extent of the pain. The only distinction between pain as
relevant dermatome and not accurately in the skin. the result of a compressed and inflamed nerve root and pain
originating from trauma to other structures is the appearance
of paraesthesia (see Pressure on nerves, Ch. 2).
Clinical consequences
The concept of referred pain is extremely important to the Rules of referred pain (Box 1.1)
orthopaedic physician, who has to deal daily with the problem.
If the principles of erroneous localization by the cortex are The first rule – reference of pain within the borders of the skin
clearly understood, the examiner can turn a misleading phe­ area that belongs to the same segment as the tissue lesion that
nomenon to diagnostic advantage. In the Cyriax concept, causes pain – follows directly from the premise that the noci­
referred pain obeys certain rules. The inadequacy in the sensory ceptive mechanism is organized on a segmental basis. Nocicep­
cortex is structural and therefore can easily be accommodated. tors, afferent fibres and the sensory cortex are all arranged
To a certain degree, referred pain can be compared with the segmentally. Afferents from skin, deep somatic structures and
refraction of light when it falls on a water surface. The observer visceral organs from the same segment relay on the same dorsal
does not see objects under the water surface at their exact neurones and project to the same area in the sensory cortex.
localization. However, since the error of perception is struc­ Pain reference is therefore confined to, and remains within, the
tural and obeys particular physical rules and laws, it is easy to borders of the cutaneous area (or dermatome) that belongs

7
General Principles

embryologically to the same segment as the tissue from which which later leads to the development of the spinal ganglion and
the pain is arising. spinal nerve.
To understand the segmental organization of the nocicep­ In due course, the dermatome differentiates into skin and
tive mechanism, it is necessary to reconsider embryogenesis subcutaneous tissue, the myotome into muscles, tendons, liga­
(Fig. 1.4). ments, capsules and bursae, and the sclerotome into bone and
fibrous septa. Although the original form of most segments is
Embryogenesis modified as the limbs are formed, their segmental innervation
remains constant throughout life. The projection area in the
Primitive body cerebral cortex also remains segmentally organized.
When a fetus is between 4 and 6 weeks old, 42 pairs of somites Limb formation
develop: four occipital, eight cervical, 12 thoracic, four to six After the first month of intra-uterine life, two pairs of buds
lumbar, five sacral and eight to 10 coccygeal.57 The first two originate at the lateral sides of the fetus. The proximal papules
and the last seven or eight pairs disappear early in develop­ appear first at the base of the neck, followed by the formation
ment. The ventral aspect of each somite differentiates into the of two distal buds in the caudal area. These extensions gradu­
sclerotome which, together with the chorda around the neural ally project from the cylindrical fetal segments from which
tube, forms the origin of the axial skeleton. The other part of they originate. As the limbs grow further and further laterally,
the somite becomes the myotome, covered by the dermatome. some dermatomes become totally disconnected from the trunk
Each pair of somites develops its own segmental innervation (Fig. 1.5).
For the upper limb, the dermatomes C5, C6, C7, C8 and
T1 leave the trunk completely to form the covering of the arm.
Box 1.1  T2, although also present at the inner aspect of the upper arm,
connects with the trunk again, and borders with C4.
Rules of referred pain In the lower limb, parts of L2, L3 and the whole der­
matomes L4–L5 and S1 withdraw from the trunk to form the
• The pain radiates segmentally and does not cross the midline
lower limb. S2 is present partly in the limb and partly in the
• The pain is usually felt deeply
buttock, where it borders with L3.
• The pain is referred distally within the dermatome
During limb formation, some muscles undergo centripetal
• The pain does not necessarily cover the area of the causative
lesion
migration and others centrifugal. As a rule, however, der­
• The pain is felt anywhere in the dermatome but not necessarily matomes distally project further than myotomes, and some­
in the whole dermatome times a muscle becomes completely dissociated from the
covering dermatome. An example of dermatome migration is

1 4 10

8
6

III IV
I II

9
7 11
2

13
3
9

12

Fig 1.4 • Embryogenesis: 1, neural tube; 2, aorta; 3, intestine; 4, myotome; 5, dermatome; 6, primitive spinal ganglion and spinal nerves;
7, myoseptum between the segments; 8, horizontal septum; 9, frontal knob; 10, maxillar knob; 11, cranial limb bud; 12, caudal limb bud;
13, umbilical cord; I–IV, gill arches.

8
Pain CHAPTER 1

Fig 1.5 • Limb formation. As the limbs grow


further and further laterally, some dermatomes
become anatomically disconnected from the
trunk.
4 4
5 6 5 6

7 7

8 T2 T1 8
T2 T1
2 2 3
3 4
4

5
5
S2
S2 S1 S1

the C5 segment in the upper limb: the myotome does not also to the dorsum of the hand and the index finger, as well as
extend beyond the elbow, but the fifth cervical dermatome to the long and ring fingers. In a patient complaining of pain
descends to the radial styloid. An example of centrifugal dis­ at the back of the forearm or at the dorsum of the hand and
sociation between a muscle and its relevant dermatome is the the index finger, it is difficult to decide whether the pain is of
diaphragm, which has a C4 origin: the C4 dermatome ends at sixth or seventh cervical origin.
the scapular spine and under the clavicle, and is therefore We use the charts drawn by Foerster41 in 1933 and corrected
completely separated from the thoracic localization of the by Cyriax in 1982,45 in order to give the broadest possible
muscle. Another instance of muscle migration is the latissimus information about the area to which pain from a particular
dorsi muscle (C7–C8) which shifts its origin to the iliac crest. segment may refer. The extreme importance of accurate locali­
The dermatomes of the seventh and eighth cervical segment, zation of pain in orthopaedic medicine requires the physician
however, do not occupy the trunk, so dissociating the muscle to use a map of dermatomes that is as close as possible to
almost completely from its corresponding dermatomes. clinical reality. The figures showing the dermatomes are based
Because of these muscle migrations, with overlaps and dis­ on Foerster,41 Cole et al,61 Cyriax,45 Conesa,62 Wakasugi,63 and
continuous areas, it is very difficult to draw accurate maps of Mitta.64
the myotomes. However, in the appropriate chapters of this
book, we will indicate to which segment each of the structures Cervical and thoracic dermatomes
under discussion belongs.
C1 to C4 occupy the scalp (C1), the back of the neck and
the temporal area, the upper half of the ear and the upper half
Dermatomes of the face (C2), the neck, lower mandibular area and chin
(C3), and the lower half of the neck, shoulder area, front of
The cutaneous area supplied by one spinal nerve is a der­ the upper chest and the area above the spina scapulae (C4)
matome. The first clinicians to draw dermatomic maps were (Fig. 1.6).
Head and Campbell.58 Their diagrams are the basis for the C5 to T2 are projected from the trunk to form the covering
classical drawings in standard neurological textbooks. However, of the upper limb (Figs 1.7 and 1.8).
they did not take into consideration the significant degree of C5 covers the deltoid area and the outer aspect of the arm
variability and overlap in dermatomic borders.57,58 Later inves­ up to the base of the thumb.
tigators such as Keegan and Garrett, and Fukui et al59,60 have C6 is the anterolateral aspect of the arm, the thenar emi­
demonstrated that dermatomes of adjacent spinal nerves nence, thumb, dorsum of hand and index finger.
overlap markedly. C7 comprises the back of the arm and hand, together with
An example of this is pain at the anterior aspect of the thigh, index, long and ring fingers.
which can be of second or third lumbar origin. The second C8 is the inner aspect of the forearms, the hypothenar area
lumbar dermatome spreads from the groin, down the front and palm, together with the three ulnar fingers.
of the thigh, to the patella. Pain of third lumbar origin T1 includes the inner aspect of the forearm as far as the
again spreads along the anterior aspect of the thigh and the hypothenar eminence.
patella but it can continue down the anterior aspect of the leg, T2 is Y-shaped and overlies the inner aspect of the upper
to just above the ankle. Pain at the anterior aspect of the thigh arm and the axilla, where it divides into an anterior and a
therefore can be of second or third lumbar origin but if it posterior component. This latter part of the dermatome
spreads further down below the patella then its origin is borders with the inferior aspect of the C4 dermatome.
third lumbar. If the upper limb is held outstretched horizontally with the
Another example of overlap between dermatomes is referred thumb pointing upwards, the original position of the embryo­
pain in the hand and fingers: C6 pain refers to the dorsal aspect logical bud is recreated, and one can reconstruct the way the
of the hand, the thumb and the index finger, whereas C7 refers dermatomes project from the trunk. This is a good way to

9
General Principles

C1 C2

C3 C4

Fig 1.6 • C1 to C4 dermatomes.

C5 C6

C7 C8

Fig 1.7 • C5 to C8 dermatomes.

10
Pain CHAPTER 1

T1 T2

Fig 1.8 • T1 and T2 dermatomes.

C5
C6

C7

C8
T1 T2
T4
Fig 1.9 • Outstretched arm with arrows showing the dermatomes.
T7

memorize the position of the separate dermatomes in the


upper limb (see Fig. 1.9).
From T4 to T12, the dermatomes encircle the trunk, more
or less following the original segmental construction of the T10
embryo (Fig. 1.10).
T4 constitutes the axilla and a patch on the front of the T12
chest.
T4 encircles the trunk at the level of the nipple.
T7 reaches the lower costal margin and covers the xiphoid
process.
T10 is level with the umbilicus, and T12 reaches to the
groin, and probably also the area between the femoral tro­
chanter and iliac crest.
Fig 1.10 • T4, T7, T10 and T12 dermatomes.
Lumbar and sacral dermatomes
L1 is also more or less circular (Fig. 1.11). It comprises the In consequence, the third lumbar dermatome lies adjacent to
lumbar region from the second to the fourth lumbar vertebrae, the upper border of the second sacral dermatome at the lower
and runs along the upper aspect of the buttock and the iliac buttock.
crest to the lower abdomen and the groin. L4 occupies the lateral aspect of the thigh, crosses the leg
L2 and L3 are two discontinuous areas, one in the lower above the ankle, and ends at the medial malleolus, the inner
lumbar region and upper buttock, and one in the leg (Fig. border of the foot and the big toe.
1.12). The areas in the buttock largely overlap. Also, in the leg, L5 consists of the outer aspect of the leg and crosses the
there is considerable overlap between L2 and L3: L2 involves ankle above the lateral malleolus, to end on the dorsum of
the whole front of the thigh, from the groin to the patella. L3 the foot. L5 also comprises the big, second and third toes,
also takes in the anterior aspect of the thigh, but spreads and the inner half of the sole.
further down, as far as the anterior and medial aspects of the S1 includes the calf, the heel, the lateral malleolus and foot,
ankle. the two outer toes and the whole sole of the foot (Fig. 1.15).
L4, L5 and S1 are completely disconnected from the trunk, Sicard and Leca65 demonstrated that the fifth lumbar and first
overlying the surface of the leg and foot (Figs 1.13 and 1.14).64 sacral dermatomes also comprise a small vertical band at the

11
General Principles

L1 posterior aspect of the thigh, which could account for the thigh
pain commonly described by patients suffering from L5 or S1
sciatica.
S2 is large and comprises the plantar aspect of the heel, the
calf, the back of the whole thigh and the lower buttock. In the
buttock, it borders with the lumbar part of L3 (Fig. 1.15).
S3 is a narrow zone at the inner side of the thigh, where it
borders with L2 anteriorly and S2 posteriorly (Fig. 1.16). The
tip ends just proximal to the knee. The upper extent reaches
the inguinal ligament where it adjoins the 12th thoracic and
first and second lumbar dermatomes. It follows that the groin
is a confluence of dermatomes, and pain, apart from that of
local origin, may be referred from a 12th thoracic, a first or
second lumbar, or a third sacral origin. The groin is also a
common site for extrasegmental dural pain reference.
S4 comprises the saddle area, anus, perineum, and scrotum
and penis or labia and vagina.
S5 is the coccyx.
As in the upper limb, the original position of the distal
embryological bud can be reconstructed by abducting the thigh
to 90°, and by lateral rotation until the big toe points upwards.
This position demonstrates the way the dermatomes were
projected from the trunk and also constitutes a good way of
memorizing the position of the various dermatomes in the
lower limb (Fig. 1.17). Proximally to distally and then turning
Fig 1.11 • L1 dermatome. proximally again, the following are encountered: L2 at the

L2 L3

Fig 1.12 • L2 and L3 dermatomes.

12
Pain CHAPTER 1

L4 L5

Fig 1.13 • L4 and L5 dermatomes.

(a) L4 L5 S1

S1 S2

(b) L5 S1 S2

Fig 1.14 • Dermatomes of the foot, (a) dorsum (b) sole. Fig 1.15 • S1 and S2 dermatomes.

13
General Principles

S3 S4 anterior thigh, L3 at thigh and leg, L4 at the lateral aspect of


the leg, anterior aspect of ankle and inner border of foot up to
the big toe, L5 at the dorsum of the foot and the three inner
toes, S1 at the lateral aspect of the foot, outer malleolus and
calf, S2 at the posterior aspect of the leg; turning back to the
trunk in the gluteal area, the boundary zone in the perineum,
between leg and trunk is comprised of S3 and S4.

Discrepancies between dermatomes


and myotomes
We have mentioned already that, as the outcome of embryo­
logical development, dermatomes do not always precisely
cover the underlying myotomes. Cyriax described eight areas
in the human body where the skin and the structure it covers
have completely different embryological derivations (Cyriax45).
These are the head, scapular and pectoral region, hand,
intrathoracic and intra-abdominal region, buttock and scrotum.

Head
S3–S5 The skull, head and face are derived from the two remaining
occipital somites, originally situated at the back of the neck.
During development, a pair of frontal knobs and two mandibu­
lar arches form and fold forwards to create the skeleton and
soft tissues around the buccal cavity. The skin of the head and
S4
face, however, are formed from the upper two cervical
segments.

Scapular region
S3 The growth of the protuberances that are to become the upper
limbs draws some segments out from the cylindrical cervical
S5
and thoracic structures. At the same time, the scapula and its
muscles, together with the latissimus dorsi (C5–C7) move
centripetally between the skin of the thorax (circularly arranged
Fig 1.16 • S3 to S5 dermatomes. thoracic dermatomes) and the underlying ribs and intercostal
muscles (circularly arranged thoracic sclerotomes and myo­
tomes). Therefore, pain in the scapular area can have both
scapular (cervical) and thoracic origins.

Pectoral region
During the growth of the upper limb bud, the same phenom­
enon as occurs in the scapular region takes place at the pectoral
L2 region. The pectoral muscles, derived from cervical segments
S1 (C6–C7) move centripetally between the thoracic dermatomes
S2
and their myotomes.
L3 L5
L4 The hand
The thenar muscles form part of the eight cervical and first
thoracic myotomes, but the skin is formed from the fifth and
sixth cervical dermatomes. The interosseus muscles are C8 and
T1, but the skin of the dorsum of the hand, except at the ulnar
border which is also C8, is derived from the C6 and C7
segments.

Intrathoracic region
It is obvious that there are numerous discrepancies in origin
Fig 1.17 • Outstretched and rotated leg, with arrows showing the between the thoracic cage and its content. The diaphragm, for
dermatomes. instance, is derived from the third and fourth cervical segments

14
Pain CHAPTER 1

and thereafter descends. Hence a lesion of the diaphragm may


cause pain felt in the neck and at the upper scapular and pec­ L1 L2
toral region, even though it lies at the lower thoracic level. The
L3
heart is derived from C8 to T4. Therefore myocardial pain may
radiate to the chest, the shoulder and the inner aspect of the
arm, as far as the ulnar border of the hand. It is presumed that
a small part of the myocardium, probably the auricles, has a
third cervical origin, which could explain the well-known clini­
cal fact that the pain of angina often radiates to the neck S2
anteriorly. The oesophagus is T4–T6 and the lungs have a
T2–T5 origin.

Intra-abdominal region
The abdominal wall has a more or less circular construction,
from T7 at the xiphoid process, over T10 at the umbilicus, to
L1 at the iliac crest, inguinal ligament and groin. In the abdomi­
nal wall, the dermatomes exactly overlie the myotomes.
Most of the intra-abdominal content also has a mid- and
lower thoracic origin. The embryological derivation of the
stomach and duodenum (T6–T10), liver (T7–T9 right), gall
bladder (T6–T10 right),66 pancreas (T7–T8) and small intes­
tine (T9–T10), fit very well with their actual localization in the Fig 1.18 • Overlap of the dermatomes at the back and the buttock.
abdominal cavity, and therefore pain derived from these organs
approximates with their surface representation. Structures of
lower thoracic, lumbar or even sacral origin, however, show a Box 1.2 
more complicated pattern of referred pain. The kidney and
ureter, for instance, have a T11–L1 derivation and, although Referred pain in visceral diseases
they are localized high up in the abdomen, referred pain can Heart (auricles?) C8–T4 (C3?)
reach the inguinal fossa and the groin (T12–L1). The colonic Lungs T2–T5
flexure is from L2 to L3, which allows the pain not only to Oesophagus T4–T6
radiate to the lower back but also to the front of the thigh. Diaphragm C3–C4
The sigmoid colon and rectum have S3–S5 origin. Hence, in Stomach and duodenum T6–T10
diseases of the sigmoid and the rectum, pain can be felt in the Liver and gall bladder T7–T9 right
iliac fossa, perineum, penis, vulva and inner aspect of the thigh. Spleen T7–T10 left
Pancreas T8
The buttock Small intestine T9–T10
The skin of the lower lumbar area and the outer buttock is Appendix T10–L1
derived from L1. At the upper buttock, there is considerable Kidney T10–T12 (L1)
overlap with the lumbar patches of the L2 and L3 segments Ureter T11–T12
(Fig. 1.18). The skin of the lower buttock is derived from S2. Suprarenal glands T11–L1
The gluteal muscles forming the buttocks are derived from Ovary and testis T11–T12 (L1)
the fourth lumbar to the first sacral segments. Consequently, Epididymis T10
the dermatomes descend further distally than the myotomes Colon: ascending T10–L1
they cover.   flexure L2–L3
  sigmoid S3–S5
Scrotum
Rectum S3–S5
The testicles are derived from T11–T12 and L1. The epidi­
dymis has a T10 origin. The scrotum, however, belongs to the
S4 dermatome. A trauma to the testicle therefore may cause
abdominal pain, a list of the segmental derivations of the
not only local pain but also pain spreading along the iliac crest
viscera, based on the work of Cyriax45 (see his p. 30), William
posteriorly and up to the lower thoracic region. Testicular
and Warwick,67 Lindsay et al68 and Guyton (cited by Van
disease frequently produces pain in one or the other iliac fossa.
Cranenburgh69 is given in Box 1.2).

Referred pain in visceral diseases


Referred pain is felt deeply and distally
It is important to emphasize that referred pain is not a phe­ in the dermatome
nomenon of orthopaedic medicine only. As described earlier,
many visceral diseases also cause referred pain. For the con­ An important difference between local pain and referred pain
venience of practitioners often faced with thoracic or is that in the latter the pain is felt deeply and vaguely. The

15
General Principles

patient thus does not point to a localized and precise area, but purely segmental reference, dural reference can be to only
outlines an approximate one and tends to describe it as ‘deep’. a part of the respective dermatomes. Thus, instead of the
That pain – with some exceptions – is always referred dis­ broad radiation to the whole back, both glutei and both legs,
tally, remains a purely empirical clinical observation and has dural pain sometimes only affects a small part, for instance one
hitherto not been explained on neurophysiological grounds. groin, or one buttock or the whole posterior aspect of the
The fact that pain that arises from the proximal part of a thigh. The differential diagnosis from a more segmental pain,
segment can be felt distally in the dermatome but a distal for instance as the result of a nerve root compression, is then
lesion is not referred proximally within this same segment, difficult.
remains an inconsistency that is hard to rationalize. However, A common clinical finding in a cervical disc protrusion that
this clinical observation is very important to the clinician con­ impacts on the dura is unilateral interscapular pain or pain in
fronted with referred pain, for the lesion must never be sought the trapezius or pectoral area. In the latter instance, suspicion
in a structure that is localized distally of the painful area. Pain of angina pectoris may then easily arise. Also the removal
at the distal aspect of the L3 dermatome (knee and lower limb) of an appendix for dural pain of lumbar origin referred
can have a proximal origin (spine, hip), but pain only in the extrasegmentally into the iliac fossa and groin is not at all
hip or the groin, cannot be caused by a lesion at the knee or exceptional.
the thigh. A possible explanation for the misleading pain reference of
the dura may lie in its multisegmental origin, which is reflected
in the great overlap between the fibres of the consecutive
Segmentally referred pain does not cross sinuvertebral nerves innervating its anterior aspect.70–73 More
the midline recent researchers describe division of the nerves into ascend­
ing and descending branches which ramify variously, to give off
The segments in the body are arranged in pairs, each of which longitudinally and transversely orientated branches.74,75 In a
has its own segmental innervation and its own projection area recent study that used the very sensitive acetylcholinesterase
in the cerebrum. Hence it is obvious that the cerebral cortex method, more ramifications between the nerve branches were
will easily differentiate between a left-side or a right-side pain, demonstrated (Fig. 1.19).76 Ascending branches up to four
and no one will question that a C5 pain on the left side has a segments cranial to the level of entry into the dural nerve
left-side origin and vice versa. The fact that pain stemming plexus and also descending branches extending up to four seg­
from a unilateral structure does not cross the midline, becomes ments caudally were observed. In addition, many vertical and
important in the interpretation of more or less centrally local­ horizontal interconnections between the various ascending and
ized pain, for instance in aches in the neck or back. It is evident descending branches were seen. The conclusion is that dural
that a lesion of a unilateral facet joint will not cause pain radiat­ nerves may spread over eight segments and that a great overlap
ing all over the lower back. Only centrally localized structures exists between adjacent and contralateral dural nerves.
(vertebral body, longitudinal ligaments, intra- and supraspinal These findings may form an anatomical explanation for the
ligaments and dura mater) can theoretically be responsible for clinical observations of Cyriax on the limits of extrasegmental
a bilaterally radiating pain at both sides of the midline. A pain reference of dural pain.77 Upwards, pain originating in the
felt centrally or bilaterally must originate from a central struc­ lower cervical part of the dura may spread to the occiput, skull
ture, or from two bilateral structures (two facet joints or two and forehead (Fig. 1.20). Downwards it can descend to T7
sacroiliac joints) but it can never be the result of a lesion in a which corresponds with the lower angles of the scapulae.
unilateral structure. Anteriorly the pain can occupy the whole pectoral area.
Extrasegmental pain does not extend beyond the upper half of
the arms.
Dura mater an ‘exception’ to A middle thoracic disc lesion can cause dural extrasegmental
segmental reference pain that may radiate to the base of the neck, and downwards
to the whole abdomen and to the upper lumbar region
Pain originating from the dura mater has a rather peculiar (Fig. 1.21).
behaviour. First, in that the dura is a midline structure, it is Dural extrasegmental reference from a low lumbar level
innervated from both sides, so that pain refers bilaterally. may reach the lower thorax posteriorly, the lower abdomen
Second, pain stemming from the dura has a very broad refer­ deep to the umbilicus, the groins, the buttocks, and the sacrum
ence and seems to cover several consecutive dermatomes. For and coccyx (Fig. 1.22). Unlike the cervical dura – which does
instance, pressure of a lumbar disc on the dura at the L5 level not radiate far into the arms – extrasegmental reference from
can cause pain in the back which radiates to the abdomen and a lumbar origin may also involve the legs, both the anterior and
groins, down to the anterior and posterior aspect of both thighs the posterior aspects, and descend to the ankles.
and legs, and upwards to the back of the lower chest. This
type of pain reference is inexplicable in terms of segments.
We therefore call it ‘extrasegmental reference’ of pain. Because Referred tenderness
in orthopaedic medicine, the dura is the exclusive source
of this type of pain radiation, it is also called dural reference. There seems to be more to referred pain than just mislocation
Pain of this nature can be very difficult to interpret if it by the patient. Within or near the area of referred pain, it is
is felt in a part or parts of the possible reference area. As in often possible to find small trigger points which are exquisitely

16
Pain CHAPTER 1

Fig 1.20 • Limits of dural multisegmental pain of cervical origin.

sensitive. Pressure on one of these immediately produces a


deep and radiating tenderness which is identified by most
patients as the source of their symptoms. Classic localizations
of these tender spots are:
• In cervical dural compression, the upper border of the
trapezius, the scapular muscles or the base of the neck.
• In lower lumbar dural involvement, the sacroiliac region
and the upper part of the buttocks.
If the tender area is palpated without the prior conduct of a
proper functional examination of the neck or lumbar spine, the
tenderness is regarded as the primary lesion, the more so
because the patient insists that it is the apparent origin of the
pain. It is no wonder then that ‘fibrositis’, ‘myofibrositis’ or
‘myofascial pain’ syndromes have long been regarded as primary
lesions. The ‘fibrositis’ concept has been used to explain the
cause of lumbago.78 Lewis33 was the first to recognize that
trigger points and myalgic spots were not primary lesions and
that the painful area, although tender to the touch, did not
Fig 1.19 • The nerve plexus of the lumbosacral posterior contain a focus.
longitudinal ligament (L1 to S4). Dorsal view after complete Cyriax considered that the localized tender area is a
laminectomy and after removal of the spinal cord and the ventral secondary effect of pressure on the dura mater.79,80 He
dura. *, cut pedicle of a ventral arch; cv, vertebral body; di,
derived his theory from the simple clinical observation that
intervertebral disc; drg, spinal ganglion; rval, ventral ramus of the
the tender spot shifted from place to place over a few seconds
spinal branch of the lumbar artery; small arrows, sinuvertebral
after a successful manipulation and that, when a full and
nerves entering the vertebral canal; open arrows, crossing
painless range of motion had been restored, the tenderness
sinuvertebral nerves. Reproduced with permission from Groen GJ. Nerves
and nerve plexuses of the human vertebral column. Am J Anat 1990;188:282–96.
disappeared.

17
General Principles

Fig 1.21 • Limits of dural multisegmental pain of thoracic origin. Fig 1.22 • Limits of multisegmental pain of lumbar origin.

However, referred tenderness has also been demonstrated


in muscular and fibrous tissue lesions,81 in visceral lesions such Box 1.3 
as ischaemic heart attacks82 and in pathological viscera. The
phenomena are not completely understood as yet but it is Factors favouring reference of pain
reasonable to assume that trigger points are caused by summa­ Strength of the stimulus:
tion mechanisms which can be understood in terms of gate- • The stronger the stimulus, the more reference of pain
control mechanisms.79 Position of the affected tissue:
Summation – the excitatory effect of converging inputs – is • The more central the lesion, the more reference of pain
an important pain mechanism. Pain may be triggered by two • The more distal the lesion, the less reference of pain
sources of nerve impulses: a major one from the lesion; and a Depth of the affected structure:
minor one from normal skin which add together. If one source • More reference from deep-seated structures
is removed, it becomes more difficult for the other to trigger • Less reference from superficial structures
the feeling of pain.83
Nature of the affected tissue:
• Little reference: bone and periosteum
Factors determining reference of pain • More reference: muscle
• Much reference: capsule, ligament, bursa, tendon, dura, dural
Referred pain is a faulty perception of the origin of a pain. In sleeve and perineurium
orthopaedic medicine it is common to see marked differences
in the extent of reference between segments, between distinct
affected tissues and between different degrees of the same
condition. The strength of the stimulus
The degree of reference – that is the distance between the The greater the stimulus, the more extensive the reference of
localization of the perception and the site of the lesion – pain. In other words, intense stimulation radiates the pain
depends on four different factors (Box 1.3). Some can be widely and slight irritation localizes the pain closer to its origin.
explained on the basis of the known pathways, others remain This phenomenon is used in orthopaedic medicine to
unexplained and result purely from clinical observations. estimate the degree of irritation or to evaluate treatment. A

18
Pain CHAPTER 1

classic example is the C5 pain that results from shoulder depth from the surface. This was confirmed later by other
arthritis. In this disorder there is a typical development of pain studies.38,44
which gradually increases. At first, pain is felt only in the Pain originating from a superficial lesion is usually pin­
deltoid area, close to the shoulder. During the following months pointed correctly by the patient but deep lesions can cause
it gradually spreads to the arm, first above the elbow but later wide reference. This follows immediately from the way
also to the forearm. At its worst, the pain can even be felt at referred pain originates. We have seen that referred pain is an
the distal end of the radius and the base of the thumb. If treat­ error of perception and that pain memory is based upon the
ment is successful or the condition regresses, the pain gradually experience gathered by recurrent stimuli through the skin,
leaves the forearm and moves upwards until it is only at the which is adapted correctly to localize pain. It follows that the
shoulder area. That the area of reference of pain becomes deeper structures lie from the skin, the less the chance that
smaller indicates that the strength of the stimulus is decreasing they will be stimulated by external factors. When internal
and inflammation improves. Serious sacroiliac arthritis can (pathological) factors activate the nociceptors in these deeply
provoke pain in the whole of the S1 and S2 dermatomes, with situated structures, the memory mechanism is inadequate and
pain at the back of the thigh and the leg, down to the heel and places the pain within the affected segment.
the sole. If the condition improves, pain first leaves the heel
and the calf. Further regression of the arthritis will probably The nature of the structure
result in localized pain in only the neighbourhood of the sacro­
iliac joint, with some reference to the buttock. There are many discrepancies in our knowledge of pain referral
The mechanism of this phenomenon is probably based on and further research is required to clarify why some structures
the fact that the more the peripheral sensory nerve fibres are give more pain reference than others. For example, pain origi­
stimulated, the more there is cerebral cortical activity.84 nating in bone or periosteum, although usually located deeply,
hardly radiates at all. This does not mean that bone pain cannot
be very severe, but it seldom gives extensive reference. This
The position of the affected structure phenomenon is of great value in clinical diagnosis. Serious but
Pain seems to refer distally only; this being so, the closer to localized pain always points to the possibility of a lesion of the
the midline the affected structure lies, the greater the possibil­ bone. For example, an intense but localized pain in the lumbar
ity of extensive reference of pain. The further the lesion lies spine is typical of a bony lesion, such as fracture, infection or
from the midline, the more accurate will be the localization of new growth at a vertebra. Also intense, deep, but very localized
the lesion by the pain it provokes. As a rule, a lesion in the pain in a limb draws attention to bone disease. In addition,
wrist or in the ankle does not give rise to diffuse pain and the severe but localized pain at the shoulder, precisely felt at the
patient usually knows quite well where the source is. Lesions true site, is always an indication of a bony lesion.
in the hand or foot can therefore be precisely indicated. Also Pain stemming from a lesion in a joint capsule, bursa, liga­
lesions in the elbow and knee cause quite well-defined pain ment or tendon is referred in an uncharacteristic way – the
that does not radiate enough to confuse either the patient or degree of pain reference is not determined by the type of tissue
the examiner. Lesions that involve the shoulder, the hip, the involved. Pain originating in a muscle seems to cause less refer­
sacroiliac joints and the spine usually provoke extensive pain ence than pain stemming from the tendon or the tenoperiosteal
reference. The segments to which the shoulder, hip and sacro­ insertion.
iliac joints belong (C5, L3 and S1–S2) have the longest der­ Intense pain reference can also result from pressure on the
matomes of the body; as a consequence, pain can be referred different parts of the peripheral nervous system. Depending
a long way distally – calf pain in sacroiliac arthritis or knee pain on the localization of the compression, the reference will be
in arthritis of the hip. segmental or extrasegmental (see earlier).

The depth of the affected structure


As early as 1939, Kellgren35, and Lewis and Kellgren85 stated   Access the complete reference list online at
that the localizing ability of a structure depended largely on its www.orthopaedicmedicineonline.com

19
Pain CHAPTER 1

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