Visceral Pain

Jun-Ho La, G. F. Gebhart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The sensory (afferent) innervation of the viscera is unique in that each organ is innervated by two spinal nerves arising from different vertebral levels, or a spinal and vagal nerve branch. Extensive central terminal arborization and convergence of visceral afferents onto second-order neurons make it difficult to localize the site of visceral pain. Chronic visceral pain and hypersensitivity typically involve persistent sensitization of visceral afferents by substances including inflammatory mediators released from immune-competent cells. Afferent sensitization drives central sensitization that further amplifies primary afferent input and which can also produce cross-organ sensitization due to the unique pattern of visceral innervation described above.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the Neurological Sciences
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123851574
ISBN (Print)9780123851581
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Afferent sensitization
  • Central sensitization
  • Cross-organ sensitization
  • Functional visceral disorders
  • Organ hypersensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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