Data sources: PubMed, EMBASE, PEDro, CINALH, MEDLINE, Scopus and PsychINFO.

Study selection: studies published from January 1939 to March 2017. 

Languages: English, Spanish, French, German.


  • Ladak A, Tubbs RS, Spinner RJ:
    Mapping sensory nerve communications between peripheral nerve territories. Clin Anat. 2014 Jul;27(5):681-90.

  • Downs MB, Laporte C:
    Conflicting dermatome maps: educational and clinical implications. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2011 Jun;41(6):427-34. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2011.3506. PubMed PMID: 21628826.

  • Mulcahey MJ, Gaughan J, Betz RR: 
    Agreement of repeated motor and sensory scores at individual myotomes and dermatomes in young persons with complete spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2009 Jan;47(1):56-61.

  • Lee MW, McPhee RW, Stringer MD:
    An evidence-based approach to human dermatomes. Clin Anat. 2008 Jul;21(5):363-73. doi: 10.1002/ca.20636. Review. PubMed PMID: 18470936.

  • Murray GM, ed. Referred pain: 
    Journal of Applied Oral Science. 2009;17(6):i. doi:10.1590/S1678-77572009000600001.

Keywords: dermatomes; nerve; communications; map; cutaneous; sensory; anatomy, neck, nerves, sensation, skin, spine; spinal nerve; dorsal nerve root; human, systematic review.

Referred pain from muscle/ligaments:

  • Dommerholt J, Grieve R, Hooks T, Layton M:
    A critical overview of the current myofascial pain literature - October 2015. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015 Oct;19(4):736-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.09.003. Review. PubMed PMID: 26592232.

  • Arendt-Nielsen L, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Graven-Nielsen T:
    Basic aspects of musculoskeletal pain: from acute to chronic pain. J Man Manip Ther. 2011 Nov;19(4):186-93. doi: 10.1179/106698111X13129729551903. PubMed PMID: 23115471; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3201649.

  • Binderup AT, Arendt-Nielsen L, Madeleine P:
    Pressure pain sensitivity maps of the neck-shoulder and the low back regions in men and women. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Oct 12;11: 234. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-234. PubMed PMID: 20939890; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2964538.

  • Arendt-Nielsen L, Graven-Nielsen T:
    Muscle pain: sensory implications and interaction with motor control. Clin J Pain. 2008 May;24(4):291-8. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31815b608f. Review. PubMed PMID: 18427227.

  • Arendt-Nielsen L, Svensson P:
    Referred muscle pain: basic and clinical findings. Clin J Pain. 2001 Mar;17(1):11-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 11289083.

    On the distribution of pain arising from deep somatic structures with charts of segmental pain areas. Reprinted from "Clinical Science," Vol. 4, No. 1, June 1939.

    Deep pain sensibility. Lancet. 1949 Jun 4;1(6562):943-9. PubMed PMID: 18149303.

  • Dorsher PT:
    Myofascial referred-pain data provide physiologic evidence of acupuncture meridians. J Pain. 2009 Jul;10(7):723-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2008.12.010. PubMed PMID: 19409857.

Keywords: Muscle Pain-Referred pain-Experimental-Hyperexcitability, muscle pain, myofascial pain syndromes; systematic review; neck pain; low back pain.

Referred pain from Lung:

  • van der Bruggen W, Arens AI, van der Drift MA, de Geus-Oei LF, Gotthardt M, Oyen WJ:
    Referred shoulder pain in a patient with small cell lung cancer. Adrenal gland metastases. Neth J Med. 2013 May;71(4):203-6.

  • Abraham PJ, Capobianco DJ, Cheshire WP:
    Facial pain as the presenting symptom of lung carcinoma with normal chest radiograph. Headache. 2003 May;43(5):499-504. Review. PubMed PMID: 12752757.

  • Sarlani E, Schwartz AH, Greenspan JD, Grace EG:
    Facial pain as first manifestation of lung cancer: a case of lung cancer-related cluster headache and a review of the literature. J Orofac Pain. 2003 Summer;17(3):262-7. Review.PubMed PMID: 14558496.

  • Shakespeare TP, Stevens MJ:
    Unilateral facial pain and lung cancer. Australas Radiol. 1996 Feb;40(1):45-6. Review. PubMed PMID: 8838888.

  • Capobianco DJ:
    Facial pain as a symptom of nonmetastatic lung cancer. Headache. 1995 Nov-Dec;35(10):581-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 8550357.

  • Bongers KM, Willigers HM, Koehler PJ:
    Referred facial pain from lung carcinoma. Neurology. 1992 Sep;42(9):1841-2.

  • Capobianco DJ:
    Facial pain as a symptom of nonmetastatic lung cancer. Headache. 1995 Nov-Dec;35(10):581-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 8550357.

Keywords: referred pain, lung, pain; referral patterns, systematic review.

Referred pain from Heart:

  • Lollino N, Brunocilla PR, Poglio F, Vannini E, Lollino S, Lancia M:
    Non-orthopaedic causes of shoulder pain: what the shoulder expert must remember. Musculoskelet Surg. 2012 May;96 Suppl 1:S63-8. doi: 10.1007/s12306-012-0192-5.Review. PubMed PMID: 22528847.
  • Talner NS, Carboni MP:
    Chest pain in the adolescent and young adult. Cardiol Rev. 2000 Jan-Feb;8(1):49-56. Review. PubMed PMID: 11174873.

  • Börjesson M:
    Visceral chest pain in unstable angina pectoris and effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. (TENS). A review. Herz. 1999 Apr;24(2):114-25. Review. PubMed PMID: 10372297.

  • Katon WJ:
    Chest pain, cardiac disease, and panic disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 1990 May;51 Suppl:27-30; discussion 50-3. Review. PubMed PMID: 2186022.

Keywords: referred pain, heart, pain; referral patterns, systematic review.

Referred pain from Kidneys:

  • Pedersen KV, Drewes AM, Frimodt-Møller PC, Osther PJ:
    Visceral pain originating from the upper urinary tract. Urol Res. 2010 Oct;38(5):345-55. doi: 10.1007/s00240-010-0278-1. Review. PubMed PMID: 20473661.

  • Vecchiet L, Giamberardino MA, Bigontina PD (1992):
    Referred pain from viscera: When the symptoms persists despite the extinction of the visceral focus. Adv Pain Res Ther 20:101–110 

  • Vecchiet L, Giamberardino MA, Dragani L, Albe-Fessard D:
    Pain from renal/ureteral calculosis: evaluation of sensory thresholds in the lumbar area. Pain. 1989 Mar;36(3):289-95. PubMed PMID: 2710558.

Keywords: referred pain, kidneys, urinary tract, pain, renal colic, renal stone, systematic review.

Referred pain from Bladder, Ureter, Vulva:

  • Tripp DA, Nickel JC, Wong J, Pontari M, Moldwin R, Mayer R, Carr LK, Doggweiler R, Yang CC, Mishra N, Nordling J:
    Mapping of pain phenotypes in female patients with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis and controls. Eur Urol. 2012 Dec;62(6):1188-94. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.05.023. PubMed PMID: 22633363.

  • Fall M, Baranowski AP, Elneil S, Engeler D, Hughes J, Messelink EJ, Oberpenning F, de C Williams AC; European Association of Urology: 
    EAU guidelines on chronic pelvic pain. Eur Urol. 2010 Jan;57(1):35-48. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2009.08.020. Review. PubMed PMID: 19733958

  • Warren JW, Langenberg P, Greenberg P, Diggs C, Jacobs S, Wesselmann U:
    Sites of pain from interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. J Urol. 2008 Oct;180(4):1373-7. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.06.039. PubMed PMID: 18707715.

  • Doggweiler-Wiygul R:
    Urologic myofascial pain syndromes. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2004 Dec;8(6):445-51. Review. PubMed PMID: 15509457.

Keywords: referred pain, bladder, ureter, urinary bladder, cystitis, interstitial, pain, urethra, vulva, systematic review.

Referred pain from Stomach, Duodenum, Colon, Bowel:

  • Thompson WG, Longstreth GF, Drossman DA, Heaton KW, Irvine EJ, Müller-Lissner SA: 
    Functional bowel disorders and functional abdominal pain. Gut. 1999 Sep;45 Suppl 2:II43-7. Review. PubMed PMID: 10457044; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1766683.

  • Swarbrick ET, Hegarty JE, Bat L, Williams CB, Dawson AM:
    Site of pain from the irritable bowel. Lancet. 1980 Aug 30;2(8192):443-6. PubMed PMID: 6106097.

  • Bloomfield AL, Polland WS:
    Experimental referred pain from the gastro-intestinal tract. part II. stomach, duodenum and colon. J Clin Invest. 1931 Aug;10(3):453-73. PubMed PMID: 16693992; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC435763.

Keywords: duodenal referred pain, gastrointestinal referred pain, visceral pain, systematic review.

Referred pain from Pancreas:

  • Banks PA, Bollen TL, Dervenis C, Gooszen HG, Johnson CD, Sarr MG, Tsiotos GG,  Vege SS; Acute Pancreatitis Classification Working Group:
    Classification of acute pancreatitis--2012: revision of the Atlanta classification and definitions by international consensus. Gut. 2013 Jan;62(1):102-11. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-302779. PubMed PMID: 23100216.

  • Lieb JG 2nd, Forsmark CE:
    Review article: pain and chronic pancreatitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Apr 1;29(7):706-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2009.03931.x. Review. PubMed PMID: 19284407.

  • Ness TJ, Gebhart GF. 
    Visceral pain: a review of experimental studies. Pain. 1990 May;41(2):167-234. Review. PubMed PMID: 2195438.

Keywords: pancreas referred pain, systematic review.

Referred pain from Ovaries, Uterus

  • Jensen AM, Bewketu B, Sanford D:
    Intermittent low back pain referred from a uterine adenomyosis: a case report. J Chiropr Med. 2011 Mar;10(1):64-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2010.08.004. PubMed PMID: 22027211; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3110405.

  • Gunter J:
    Chronic pelvic pain: an integrated approach to diagnosis and treatment. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003 Sep;58(9):615-23. Review. PubMed PMID: 12972837.

  • Slocumb JC:
    Neurological factors in chronic pelvic pain: trigger points and the abdominal pelvic pain syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1984 Jul 1;149(5):536-43. PubMed PMID: 6234807.

Keywords: ovaries, uterus, referred pain, systematic review.

Referred pain from Prostate:

  • Lishchyna N, Henderson S:
    Acute onset-low back pain and hip pain secondary to metastatic prostate cancer: a case report. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2004 Mar;48(1):5-12. PubMed PMID: 17549214; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1840035.
  • Potts JM:
    Male Pelvic Pain: Beyond Urology and Chronic Prostatitis. Curr Rheumatol Rev. 2016;12(1):27-39. Review. PubMed PMID: 26717951.

  • Potts JM:
    Male Pelvic Pain: Beyond Urology and Chronic Prostatitis. Curr Rheumatol Rev. 2016;12(1):27-39. Review. PubMed PMID: 26717951.

  • Stein SL:
    Chronic pelvic pain. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2013 Dec;42(4):785-800. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2013.08.005. Review. PubMed PMID: 24280400.

  • Berger RE:
    Urologic myofascial pain syndromes. J Urol. 2005 Sep;174(3):942. PubMed PMID: 16094001.

  • Doggweiler-Wiygul R:
    Urologic myofascial pain syndromes. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2004 Dec;8(6):445-51. Review. PubMed PMID: 15509457.

Keywords: prostate, referred pain, systematic review.


  • Pyun SB, Kang S, Kwon HK:
    Anatomical and electrophysiological myotomes corresponding to the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle. J Korean Med Sci. 2010 Mar;25(3):454-7. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2010.25.3.454. PubMed PMID: 20191047; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2826750.
  • Mulcahey MJ, Gaughan J, Betz RR:
    Agreement of repeated motor and sensory scores at individual myotomes and dermatomes in young persons with complete spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2009 Jan;47(1):56-61.

  • Katirji MB, Agrawal R, Kantra TA:
    The human cervical myotomes: an anatomical correlation between electromyography and CT/myelography. Muscle Nerve. 1988 Oct;11(10):1070-3. PubMed PMID: 2847039.

  • Brendler SJ:
    The human cervical myotomes: functional anatomy studied at operation. J Neurosurg. 1968 Feb;28(2):105-11. PubMed PMID: 5638010.

    Differentiation of body myotomes in man and the origin of abdominal wall muscles. Acta Anat (Basel). 1957;30(1-4):842-64. German. PubMed PMID: 13478372.

Keywords: neurological examination, human body myotome, systematic review.


  • Ivanusic JJ:
    The evidence for the spinal segmental innervation of bone. Clin Anat. 2007 Nov;20(8):956-60. Review. PubMed PMID: 17948287.

  • Meyr AJ, Diprimio R:
    Lower-extremity sclerotomes: clinical applications and the modified mayo block. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2009 May-Jun;99(3):232-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 19448174.

  • Olsen BR, Reginato AM, Wang W:
    Bone development. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2000;16:191-220. Review. PubMed PMID: 11031235.

  • Harding G, Yelland M:
    Back, chest and abdominal pain - is it spinal referred pain? Aust Fam Physician. 2007 Jun;36(6):422-3, 425, 427-9. Review. PubMed PMID:  17565398.

Keywords: sclerotomes; segmental innervation of bone; skeletal innervation; systematic review.

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