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Urol Res. 2010 Oct;38(5):345-55. doi: 10.1007/s00240-010-0278-1. Epub 2010 May 16.

Visceral pain originating from the upper urinary tract.

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Department of Urology, Hospital Littlebelt, University of Southern Denmark, Dronningensgade 97, 7000, Fredericia, Denmark.


Pain originating from the upper urinary tract is a common problem and stone colic is one of the most intense pain conditions that can be experienced in the clinic. The pain is difficult to alleviate and often leads to medical attention. In humans, pain mechanisms of the upper urinary tract pain are still poorly understood, which often leads to a trial and error approach in clinical pain management. Pain from the upper urinary tract seems to have all the characteristics of pure visceral pain, including referred pain with or without hyperalgesia/trophic changes in somatic tissues and viscero-visceral hyperalgesia. However, further studies are needed to better understand these visceral pain mechanisms with regard to optimising pain management. This review gives an introduction to visceral pain in general and upper urinary tract pain in particular, with special reference to pain pathways and pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain modulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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