Referred pain is a phenomenon where pain in one part of the body can spread, almost by osmosis, to affect unrelated joints and tissues. Referred pain accounts for a number of common headaches, as well as some cases of arm, elbow, and wrist pain which may in fact originate in the shoulder.
The mechanisms behind referred pain are still being studied, but there is no question that it’s real, and often immobilizing. So it is newsworthy that a recent study found that knee pain may be behind all sorts of related complaints too:
“We found that the severity of knee pain and having pain present in both knees were significant risk factors for the development of widespread pain. In contrast, having only structural changes on X-ray indicative of knee osteoarthritis was not.”
Needless to say, “widespread pain’ is exactly what you think it is. Treating the source of referred pain can often resolve its offshoots downstream, as it were, so knee pain doctors such as myself are always looking for new ways to rip this problem out by the roots through careful knee treatment and knee surgery.