Somatic Pain

There are several types of pain of which the cause, symptoms, and affected areas will differ. Somatic Pain is one of these types of pain which occurs when pain receptors in tissues (including the skin, muscle, bones, joints, and connective tissues) are activated. For example, cuts to the skin and headaches are classed as Somatic Pain.

What are the symptoms?

Somatic Pain is often localised in the affected area. It is usually constant and can become more severe as a result of movement. Somatic Pain can be confined to a localised area or spread across larger areas of the body. This kind of pain is often described as:

  • Cramping
  • Aching
  • Gnawing
  • Sharp

It is often divided into two forms: superficial pain and deep Somatic Pain. Superficial pain occurs when pain receptors in the skin, mucus, and mucous membranes are activated – injuries such as cuts and burns are usually linked to superficial Somatic Pain.

In contrast, deep Somatic Pain occurs when pain receptors deeper in the body – such as in tendons, joints, bones, and muscles – are activated. This type of Somatic Pain usually fells more like aching than superficial Somatic Pain.

Cause and treatment

As Somatic Pain can affect many areas of the body, there can be a number of different causes, including:

  • Minor or major injuries to joints and bones
  • Trauma to the skin
  • Damage to connective tissues
  • Muscle strain
  • Bone fracture
  • Disease that affects connective tissues (such as osteoporosis)
  • Cancers of the bones or skin
  • Arthritis

Treatment options often address the underlying cause of Somatic Pain – such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis and to manage symptoms. This can include the use of over-the-counter painkillers (such as ibuprofen and paracetamol) or stronger painkillers, including opioids.

Medical Cannabis and Somatic Pain

Medical cannabis has long been considered a potential alternative to strong painkillers for the management of pain. There is growing evidence that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) plays an important role in pain signalling. This could make cannabinoids a useful therapy for pain management.

Our specialist physicians are experienced in assessing individual cases and helping to determine whether medical cannabis could be an effective option.

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