About Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain can be challenging to diagnose.
The pain from inflamed affected organs can cause radiation of symptoms and pain to an area distant from the actual pathology.
This is called referred pain as opposed to radicular pain caused by the irritation of a large spinal nerve.
Abdominal pain may be acute or chronic.
The pain is usually described as aching and vaguely localized.
The pain usually worsens depending on the pathology noted with eating, lying down, coughing, bowel movements, and activity.
The pain may arise from any of the abdominal organs or surrounding musculature. Common causes of chronic abdominal pain include hernias, colitis, kidney stones, gall bladder stones, pancreatitis, vascular pathology, and malignancy or tumors.
Diagnoses involve a thorough history and physical as well as good imaging, including CAT scans, x-rays, MRI, and bloodwork in some instances. Endoscopy and PET scans may be helpful.
Treatment options include analgesics for temporary pain relief, low-dose antidepressants, which are helpful in both sleep and chronic pain, and opioid use for worsening chronic pain.
Physical therapy includes home exercises to help strengthen and improve the core may be helpful.
If these fail, one can be evaluated for their candidacy for surgery. Spinal cord stimulators have also been used successfully in certain conditions.