Diagnosis and Investigation of Throbbing Pain

Throbbing pain is described as continuous severe pain, which pulsates like heart beat. Throbbing pain is also described as rapid, violent and vibrating pain. Regional throbbing pain is described as throbbing headache, throbbing tooth pain, throbbing chest pain, throbbing abdominal pain and throbbing pain in arms and legs. It is important to diagnose the right cause of a throbbing pain for it to be effectively treated.

Diagnosis and Investigation of Throbbing Pain

Diagnosis of Throbbing Pain in the Head or Throbbing Headache

Throbbing pain in the head or Throbbing headache is mostly caused by migraine, temporal arteritis and brain tumor. The brain tumor is ruled out following CT scan and MRI studies.

Temporal arteritis is unilateral pain mostly located over the side of skull and temporal bone. Migraine is prolonged severe unilateral pain. The temporal arteritis is caused by autoimmune diseases and diagnosed following biopsy study of temporal artery.

Diagnosis of Throbbing Tooth Pain

Throbbing pain in the tooth is caused by tooth caries with or without tooth abscess. Tooth X-Ray differentiates the presence of cavity and abscess.

Diagnosis of Throbbing Pain in Hands and Legs

Throbbing pain in swollen fingers and toes are caused by either gout or abscess. Infected joint and soft tissue around finger and toes often causes abscess formation resulting in throbbing pain. X-Ray and clinical examination will differentiate the cause of throbbing pain in hands and legs. The soft tissue swelling caused by fluid is abscess and bony hypertrophy with deposit of crystals is caused by gout.

Throbbing pain in hands and legs with skin discoloration following exposure to cold is caused by frostbite. X-Ray or CT scan differentiates the depth of tissue damage.

Throbbing leg pain associated with back injury, disc bulge, disc herniation or following back surgery is caused by irritation or injury of sensory nerve. The pain is described as radicular pain. These causes of radicular pain are differentiated and evaluated with CT scan or MRI.

Diagnosis of Throbbing Chest Pain

Throbbing chest pain within breast tissue is caused by breast abscess or breast tumor. The Breast examination and radiological study will differentiate and conclude the diagnosis of abscess or tumor.

Throbbing pain in chest caused by fractured rib is mostly observed over the injured rib and pain intensity increases with deep breathing. Patient often prefers to breath shallow. X-Ray and MRI study helps to diagnose the fracture rib.

The intra-thoracic throbbing chest pain is frequently caused by infection of pleura, which results in pleuritis or pleural abscess. X-Ray chest and CT Scan study helps to differentiate pleuritis and pleural abscess. Radiological study indicates thickening of pleural membrane in Pleuritis and fluid collection around the lungs when abscess is present in pleural space.

The throbbing chest pain caused by lung abscess or lung tumor is differentiated by clinical examination and radiological studies such as X-Ray, CT scan and MRI. The sputum study is also performed to evaluate the presence of cancer cells or bacteria in sputum.

Diagnosis of Throbbing Abdominal Pain

Throbbing abdominal pain is caused by abdominal aneurysm, mesenteric arterial ischemia, abdominal abscess, pelvic abscess and abdominal cancer.

Aneurysm of abdominal aorta causes throbbing abdominal pain, while dissected or rupture abdominal aortic aneurysm causes throbbing intra-abdominal pain as well as severe intractable pain in lower back pain. The MRI or CT scan radiological study is used for diagnosis.

Mesenteric artery thrombosis causes lack of blood supply to the intestine and colon resulting in intestinal ischemic changes followed by severe throbbing pain in the stomach. The disease is diagnosed following MRI or CT abdominal and mesenteric arterial Doppler study.

Throbbing abdominal pain is rarely caused by perforation of intestine or colon. Perforation is followed by infection and inflammation of peritoneum known as peritonitis. Peritonitis also result in throbbing abdominal pain. Peritonitis in few cases follows with peritoneal abscess, which causes pulsatile throbbing abdominal pain. The investigations such as X-Ray, CT scan, MRI, lab study of peritoneal fluid and endoscopic study of peritoneal cavity.

Intestinal or colon cancer causes severe throbbing abdominal pain. Benign cancer often causes dull continuous pain during initial phase and later when nerves are irritated pain become throbbing and severe. The malignant abdominal pain causes severe intractable throbbing pain secondary to irritation of peritoneum and surrounding nerves.

Diagnosis of Throbbing Back Pain

Back pain when caused by disc bulge or herniation causes radicular pain. Most radicular pain is burning pain and rarely in few cases pain is felt as throbbing pain. On the contrary back pain caused by facet joint disease is often throbbing pain and continuous back pain. Throbbing back pain with increased intensity following back movements is mostly caused by fracture of vertebral body. The image studies like X-Ray, MRI and CT Scan assist to differentiate disc bulge, herniation, facet joint disease and fracture of vertebrae as a cause of throbbing back pain.

Throbbing back pain when caused by metastatic cancer of vertebral body of neck or lower back also result in radicular pain, which often runs down the arm or leg respectively. The vertebral body metastatic cancer caused fracture of vertebrae and foraminal stenosis resulting in irritation or squeezed of spinal nerve. The vertebral body cancer is diagnosed by radiological studies like X-Ray, MRI and CT Scan.

Epidural abscess or hematoma causes throbbing back pain anywhere from neck to sacrum depending on site of hematoma or epidural abscess. The X-Ray, CT scan, MRI and Doppler study helps to diagnose space occupying disease like epidural abscess or hematoma in neck, mid back and lower back.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 22, 2019

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