Pain is sensed by nerves and interpreted by the brain. Sometimes the brain is not good at localizing the pain accurately. Some simple examples are heart pain often refers to the left arm, shoulder or chin, hip osteoarthritis may show itself as knee pain. Similarly, disks and vertebrae may refer to the buttocks and thighs.
When addressing painful problems it is important to remember that pain in a particular location may be referred from a structure at some distance from the point of pain.
One easy test to identify whether the pain is a referred one is to press on the area where the pain is sensed. If the pain is aggravated then the chances are the pain is local. However, if the pain is unchanged or even relieved it is possible that the pain is referred.
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