Differential Diagnosis in PT, P-03: Pain Types and Viscerogenic Pain Patterns


A large part of the physical therapy screening process is identifying red flag histories and red flag signs and symptoms. Understanding how and when diseased organs can refer pain to the musculoskeletal system helps the therapist identify suspicious pain patterns.

This course will describe pain types in general and viscerogenic pain patterns specifically. A large component in evaluating pain during the screening process is being able to recognize the client demonstrating a significant emotional overlay.

The instructional focus of this course is on developing advanced clinical reasoning skills related to determine a client’s appropriateness for physical therapy. The course builds on concepts of evidence-based clinical practice as they are used to identify conditions that might mimic neuromuscular or musculoskeletal dysfunction. In particular, understanding the way in which visceral pain is referred to the musculoskeletal system is the focus of this Part 3 of the series Differential Diagnosis in Physical Therapy.

Upon completion of this course, the Learner will be able to:
  • Identify 3 sensory symptoms of visceral pain presented during clinical examination
  • Name & describe three (3) mechanisms by which viscera refer pain to the soma
  • Identify 3 characteristics of systemic pain compared to musculoskeletal pain
  • List 2 key reasons for systemic origin of joint pain
  • Analyze 2 of the emotional overlays as factors in the client's pain response analysis to apply clinical judgment to the client’s POC determining PT intervention

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