Referred pain | Anatomy Slices

A 55 year-old man presents at the clinic with a pain in his right shoulder. After a short examination, the doctor says that the source of his pain is his gallbladder.

The patient is very confused; his gallbladder isn’t in his shoulder, so what’s this about? Is the doctor right?

Well the answer lies in the anatomy. Let’s take a look at this in Complete Anatomy for more information.

Gallstones can cause inflammation of the gallbladder. Usually pain is felt in the epigastric region. However, if the inflammation irritates the peritoneum around the diaphragm, the pain can travel through the nerve, to its origin at C3 and C5, which is also the origin of the nerves that innervate the skin of the right shoulder.

Pretty cool eh? This is just one way in how the human body is truly remarkable!

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