Posted by: ensomabodyworks | January 21, 2015

Heterotopic Pain

Heterotopic Pain: What is it and why you need to know about it.

Heterotopic pain (HP) is a phenomenon where the source of pain is not where you experience it, commonly called “referred pain”. HP can have several causes: diseased organ (e.g., a dysfunctional gall bladder) expressed through right shoulder blade pain, or dysfunctional infraspinatus (shoulder blade) muscle, expressed as deep shoulder joint pain and/or nerve like tingling sensations down the arm.

So what Marty? Your MD or Yoga teacher and Massage and Physical Therapist may not know that there are at least 24 dysfunctional muscles that create HP. Dysfunctional muscles are routinely mistaken for other medical conditions, misdiagnosed, and then mistreated, often with prescription medications and lots of diagnostic testing ($$$$$ out of your pocket). Here are some examples:

  • Didn’t know about the gallbladder symptom? Many therapists will just mash away at the shoulder blade area while Yoga and Pilates teaches will strengthen the scapula stabilizers in an attempt to strengthen the area instead of asking, “Are you also experiencing nausea? A “Yes” maybe a gall bladder issue while “No” may equal muscle. And 4 different ones can refer to that exact spot!
  • How many medical doctors know that a dysfunctional scalene muscle group (deep front of the neck muscles) can refer pain down the arm and into the hand, confusing the sick muscle with a cervical pinched nerve, or into the chest mimicking a cardiac event.scalene tp (See this image here)
  • Have complaints of pain that shoots from the top of the foot into the big toe. It could be an L4-5 disc / nerve impingement or a trigger point at the top of the shin in the tibialis anterior.
  • Ligaments can refer pain consistently much like muscles. Your iliolumbar ligament can refer pain down the hip and around towards the trochanter (and even the testicle!)
  • Dysfunctional muscles are often misdiagnosed as strains or rotator cuff issues

See what I mean? Lots of reasons for referred pain and muscle is overlooked and mistaken for other problems.

Now what? If you read this far either you are a health info type person or maybe you have an ache or pain for a while that’s not going away. Drop me a line…let’s talk. Maybe I can direct you to more resources to read up or help with your issue.



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