Abdominal Pain Syndromes
Chronic Abdominal Pain

Woman with abdominal pain clutching her stomach

Common Causes of Chronic Abdominal pain:

Signs and Symptoms:

Acute Pancreatitis

Woman with abdominal pain holding her stomach

Testing:

Diagnosis:

A comprehensive physical exam and medical history to establish an understanding of an individual's subjective complaints of location, quality, duration, timing and frequency of recurrence, and factors that worsen or relieve pain (particularly eating or moving bowels). A specific inquiry as to whether milk and milk products cause abdominal cramps, bloating or destetion is needed, because lactose intolerance is common, especially among African Americans. In adolescents, a diet history is important because ingestion of large amounts of cola beverages and fruit juices (which may contain significant quantities of fructose and sorbitol) can account for otherwise puzzling abdominal pain. Pasts medical history should include nature and timing of any abdominal surgery and the results of previous tests that have been done and treatments that have been tried. A drug history should include details concerning prescription and illicit drug use as well as alcohol.

Man with abdominal pain clutching his stomach

Treatment:

  • Drug Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anesthetic/Corticosteroid Injections
  • Cognitive methods
  • Regular follow-up visits should be scheduled weekly, monthly, or bimonthly, depending on the patient's needs, and should continue until well after the problem has resolved.
  • Psychiatric referral may be requied if symptoms persist, especially if the patient is depressed or there are significant psychologic difficulties in the family.
Chronic Pancreatitis

Woman with abdominal pain laying down with an ice pack on her stomach

Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that develops over a number of years, usually after a history of recurrent attacks of acute pancreatitis.

Signs and Symptoms:

Woman with abdominal pain laying down clutching her stomach

Testing:

  • Lab Work
  • CT Scan

Diagnosis:

A targeted history and physical examination combined with appropriate testing should help the clinician identify and properly treat this condition.

Treatment:

  • Drug Therapy
  • Celiac Plexus Block
Visceral Pain

Woman with abdominal pain clutching her stomach

Visceral pain is the pain we feel when our internal organs are damaged or injured. 

Some causes are:

Signs and Symptoms:

Testing:

Woman with abdominal pain holding her stomach

Diagnosis:

A comprehensive physical exam and medical history to establish an understanding of an individual's subjective complaints of pain and characteristics of the pain such as: onset/offset, character/radiation of pain, associated symptoms, time pattern, exacerbating/ameliorating factors and severity.

Treatment:

  • Drug Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anesthetic/Corticosteroid Injections
  • Facet Joint Nerve Rhizotomy
  • Spinal Cord Stimulator
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavioral methods of pain control

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