Visceral pain

Gastrointestinal turmoil.  That’s probably more than Laura would want me to say about the effect that Decadron had on her.  She might let me add that it went on for weeks on end.

Gastrointestinal turmoil, not the sharp pain of, say, a needle stick, but more, much more—constant, unending twisting of the insides of her body.  Medical texts call this turmoil “visceral pain,” as distinguished from the somatic pain of a needle stick.   “…     [T]he neurobiology of visceral pain differs substantially from that of somatic pain and thus the two different types of pain are experienced quite differently.”  In contrast to the skin and other areas where somatic nerve signals begin, the  “pain pathways in the visceral tissues” have a smaller number of receptors, causing “a more diffuse area of pain ….”  (Ransom et al. 249)

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