It is difficult to determine which organ is damaged on the sole basis of the pain's location, states Merck Manuals. Pain receptors in internal organs are scattered and limited, which means there are small numbers of nerves covering a large area. This results in pain that is referred to other areas of the body through the nervous system.
Visceral pain is pain originating from organs located in the thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities, explains The Pain Clinic. Pain receptors located in the internal organs are called nociceptors. These pain receptors are activated by inflammation, stretching or oxygen deprivation. They are not sensitive to injury caused by cutting or burning. Visceral pain is often described as sharp, stabbing, splitting or cramping in nature.
Pain from various internal organs can have conflicting areas of presentation, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Pain originating from the bladder might be felt throughout the entire perineal area, while pain in the heart can radiate to the neck and left arm. Visceral pain is commonly associated with other symptoms, including malaise, vomiting and nausea.
Visceral pain is generally responsive to weak and strong opioids, states The Pain Clinic. The National Center for Biotechnology Information also lists nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, paracetamol and serotonergic compounds as treatments for visceral pain.