Causes of Abdominal Pain
There are many causes of stomach and abdominal pain. The severity of these causes ranges from minor to potentially dangerous. Besides the standard medical care methods of treating pain centered in the lower torso, there are alternative treatment options. Abdominal pain can be related to stomach pain and whatever is causing the stomach pain, or it may be a result of other, independent reasons. It can be either fleeting or chronic, depending on the condition. The pain can be sharp, sudden, sore, or dull. It may worsen depending on the activity that the patient is engaging in or it could be more consistent.
Location, Duration & Triggers
Depending on its causes, there are various remedies that can provide relief, ease the pain, and maybe even cure that which was the source of the pain in the first place. Common origins of abdominal pain are constipation, food allergies and intolerances, and indigestion. For females, menstrual cramps or endometriosis can be bothersome. Males and females can both suffer from the onset of urinary tract infections. Some patients may have developed ulcers or pelvic inflammatory disease. Gallstones and kidney stones also cause abdominal pain. Another trigger of stomach pain is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Some acute conditions, such as appendicitis or hernia, are known to cause severe lower abdominal pain. Many of these disorders can also cause the patient to experience nausea.
It is important that doctors and other practitioners note the type and location of pain, as well as the duration and the triggers. The specific set of symptoms and triggers that occur could give the medical practitioner an idea of what the cause is even before they perform any tests to confirm the official diagnosis. Some medications and supplements may be involved either the initial irritation or in providing the patient relief from the pain.
Certain activities such as standing up, sitting down, lying down, or eating can alleviate or worsen the pain. Patients may have a recent injury or pregnancy. A differential diagnosis should also note whether or not the pain is radiating, such as to the lower back, groin, buttocks, or shoulder. The abdominal pain might just be part of this radius and the actual problem might find its source elsewhere in the body, requiring a different form of treatment.1
Doctors will officially diagnose the reasons for the stomach or abdominal pain by running various tests of the urine, stool, and blood. Enemas, X-ray, and barium swallows, as well as endoscopy, CT scan, and ultrasound, may also be performed. If there is a bacterial infection, then the doctor will need to prescribe antibiotics to rid the patient’s body of the bacteria. Patients with inflammation can be given medications for managing and calming that situation. There are also prescriptions for GERD and ulcers.
Patients could also benefit at home from making changes in their diet. They may be given advice on nutrition, such as avoiding foods that trigger pain, allergies, and intolerances. Patients should consult with their doctor before entirely ridding themselves of certain foods from their diets. That’s because there are cases where they might inadvertently eliminate the wrong types of food. Common food allergies or intolerances, such as tree nuts, are usually the first suspects if it seems like the pain originates from a food-related aggravation. Those with hernia and appendicitis will need surgery to properly cure these conditions.2
Chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists can provide alternative options to traditional medical treatments, medications, and surgery. Unless the cause of the pain is something that could only be treated with traditional medical methods, a complementary and alternative care practitioner will probably be able to help.
It is not unusual for chiropractors to find that patients with back pain actually have abdominal pain which has been inadvertently associated with an area of the body other than its origin. Besides the typical digestion and disease origins of stomach and abdominal pain, patients may also have a pulled muscle, or strains and sprains of ligaments and muscles. Chiropractic care can help patients with their pain. They can develop treatment plans depending on the cause of the problem. Chiropractors are well-trained in the matters of naturally treating the body through adjustments, manipulation, and lifestyle habits that the patient could change at home. These changes apply both in the cases where patients should change their diet and exercise routines. These should be tailored to the patient’s needs that they could begin to practice.3
Patients may also seek the help of a massage therapist or perform self-massage at home. Aside from pain relief, it is thought that massage can help to eliminate toxins. Massage is often a very relaxing experience, which might also be helpful in a stressful time. One such stressful time is when the pain of a bodily injury or condition is creating stress in a patient’s life.4
Research on acupuncture has shown that it can impact hormones and anti-inflammatory chemicals. Its actions on the nervous system may aid in the release of endorphins or immune system cells.5