Encyclopedia of Pain

2013 Edition
| Editors: Gerald F. Gebhart, Robert F. Schmidt

Visceral Pain and Nociception

  • James M. BorowczykEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-28753-4_4789


Visceral pain is pain that is caused by nociceptive information arising from the organs (viscera) of the body, e.g., the heart, stomach, intestine, bladder, and uterus.


Of all the different pain types that have undergone increasingly intensive study in the past 10–20 years, visceral pain is the poor cousin (Cervero and Laird 1999). Due to recent developments in imaging (Hobson and Aziz 2003) and the development of improved animal models with a focus on gastrointestinal tract pain (Al-Chaer et al. 2000), this deficiency is being addressed.

Lewis distinguished two types of visceral pain: true visceral pain arising from a viscus or part of a viscus and pain arising from the parietal peritoneum or pleura (Lewis 1942). More recently, Cervero and Laird ( 1999) ascribed five cardinal characteristics to visceral pain:
  1. 1.

    Visceral pain may not be evoked from all organs, either because they are not innervated or because the stimulus is inappropriate.

  2. 2.

    Visceral pain...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal MedicineUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand