The abdomen (belly) is an anatomical area bounded by the ribs above, the pelvic bones below and the flanks on each side. Abdominal pain can come from a variety of conditions. Most commonly, abdominal pain arises from organs within the abdominal cavity, such as the stomach, pancreas or intestines. Pain can also arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (for example, the skin and abdominal wall muscles). Occasionally, pain felt in the abdomen may actually arise elsewhere, such as the pelvis or chest. We call this “referred” pain because it is being felt at a site different from the actual injured organ or body part.
Most often, abdominal pain is limited in duration and caused by minor problems such as indigestion. Persistent, severe or recurring pain, however, should be evaluated by a physician. Patients who develop abdominal pain usually first visit their primary care physician or a gastroenterologist (doctor who specializes in the digestive tract). Depending on the cause, numerous treatment options are available at Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center. Common causes of abdominal wall pain include muscle injury and post-operative pain after abdominal surgery (for example, hernia repair). Treatment for these conditions may involve medications, physical therapy and targeted injections, such as TAP block or II/IH block. Similarly, treatment for abdominal pain caused by organ injury (for example, chronic pancreatitis or cancer), may involve medications and targeted injections, such as celiac plexus block or hypogastric plexus block.