Abdominal Pain

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Abdominal pain occurs between the chest and pelvic regions and can be crampy, dull, achy, intermittent, or sharp. The major organs located in the abdomen include the intestines, kidneys, appendix, spleen, stomach, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.

Causes of Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain may be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Acid reflux
  • Vomiting
  • Stress
  • Infection, such as UTI
  • Abnormal growths
  • Inflammation
  • Obstruction
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Digestive system disorders, such as GERD, IBS, Crohn’s disease, and lactose intolerance
  • Gallstones
  • Heart attack
  • Hepatitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Injury
  • Uremia
  • Cancer
  • Fecal impaction
  • Enlarged spleen

Severe abdominal pain may be caused by organ rupture, near-rupture of the organs (such as appendicitis), gallbladder stones, kidney stones, and kidney infection.

Lower abdominal pain in women may be caused by:

  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Miscarriage
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Types of Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain can be characterized as localized, cramp-like, or colicky.

Localized pain occurs in only one area of the abdomen and is often caused by issues with a particular organ. One common cause of localized pain is stomach ulcers.

Cramp-like pain may be associated with constipation, bloating, diarrhea, or flatulence. In women, cramp-like pain can be associated with menstruation, miscarriage, or illness affecting the female reproductive organs. Pain may be intermittent, and may completely subside on its own without treatment.

Colicky pain occurs suddenly and may feel like a severe muscle spasm. This type of abdominal pain may be a symptom of more severe conditions, such as gallstones or kidney stones.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Patients should seek immediate medical care if their abdominal pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Bloody stools
  • High fever
  • Vomiting blood
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Swelling or severe tenderness of the abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss

Treatment Options for Abdominal Pain

Westcare Clinics healthcare practitioners treat abdominal pain with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management techniques, and occupational medicine, depending on the cause and severity of the pain.

Joint and soft tissue injections, such as epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), piriformis injection, sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections, can help ease and even treat abdominal pain. The type of injection that is done will depend on the severity and location of the pain.

Patients suffering from abdominal pain may benefit from pain management techniques, such as physical therapy, therapeutic massage, mind-body techniques, gentle exercise, and occupational therapy. The pain management techniques will be customized according to the patient’s needs.

Westcare Clinics also offers occupational medicine to help patients maintain the strength and flexibility they need to continue working. Our healthcare practitioners are qualified to train employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities to the physical limitations of their employees.

Advanced Treatment

Patients experiencing abdominal pain may need complex, long-term care to completely eliminate the symptom. Advanced treatment options may include surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation, depending on the underlying cause of abdominal pain. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment for abdominal pain.



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