Everyone experiences abdominal pain during their life. The pain is usually in response to food consumption, intestinal gas, or a minor trauma. The pain may last for a matter of minutes, a couple of hours, or a few days, and then dissipate. However, if you are experiencing chronic abdominal pain, you have dealt with serious abdominal pain for more than three months. What Is chronic abdominal pain? Abdominal pain is felt in the area between your chest and your groin. This is the part of your body that is described as the stomach or belly. No doubt, after the first few days or weeks of abdominal pain, you visited your doctor, and they checked you for some of the disorders that commonly cause abdominal pain. Some of the diseases they will check for include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Aortic Aneurysm
- Aortic Dissection
- Colon Cancer
- Food Intolerances
- Chronic Bacterial Infections
- Ovarian Cyst
- Chronic Hepatitis
Symptoms of Chronic Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is often accompanied by other symptoms, including:
- Pain Urinating
- Abdomen That Is Tender to the Touch
If your doctor diagnosed what was causing the pain, he likely recommended a course of treatment to minimize the pain. But what if there is no identifiable cause for the pain you are suffering? Or what if the treatments they are offering do not work?
Functional Abdominal Pain
If your doctor could not find a specific physical disorder causing your pain, you may have what is referred to as functional abdominal pain. This is a chronic pain that lasts more than six months and that is not related to a physical disorder, body function, drug use, or toxin.
Being diagnosed with functional abdominal pain is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it is nice to have a doctor verify that the pain is real. However, just knowing that the abdominal pain you are experiencing is not in your head does not make the severity of the pain or its impact on your life any less.
If you are dealing with chronic abdominal pain, you likely agree with the sentiments of one sufferer who said, “When my pain started, my life pretty much fell apart… I could not move, and I spent my days lying in bed. Life went on around me and without me. I went from being an active participant in life to being a spectator.”
Understanding Why You Have Chronic Abdominal Pain
To understand abdominal pain, you need to understand the way pain receptors in your abdomen function.
Nerves travel from your abdomen to your spinal cord. Signals are sent to different areas in your brain. Different parts of your brain are set aside to sense abdominal pain. Some parts focus on the location or the intensity of the abdominal pain, while other areas focus on the memories and emotions connected to this pain.
Because of this physical/emotional connection to abdominal pain, stress may make your pain worse. Abdominal pain after repeated physical traumas may cause the nerve receptors in the stomach to become overly sensitive. This can lead to even normal activities being experienced as painful.
Your brain can turn down the intensity of the pain signals it gets from your body. Unfortunately, for many chronic abdominal pain sufferers, this ability to regulate the severity of pain in their abdomen has been turned down.
The Emotional Toll of Chronic Abdominal Pain
If you are dealing with functional abdominal pain, likely there are times when you feel alone. You may not know anyone dealing with the same level of pain as you are, and so the support you receive maybe thin.
The problem becomes worse when you visit your general practitioner and they tell you that since they cannot find an identifiable cause for your pain, it is likely that your pain is in your head.
If you have not been able to identify the source of your pain, abdominal pain can affect the way you live. Every bite of food you eat and every beverage you drink builds within you the anxiety that it might be the thing that causes you to have a painful attack. If abdominal pain affects your ability to control your bowels, there is also the stress or frustration that because of the pain you may have an embarrassing moment.
How We Can Help with Chronic Abdominal Pain
Chronic abdominal pain destroys lives. It affects the way that you interact with others, the way you see yourself, and the plans that you have for the future.
We understand how challenging of a thing it can be to live day in and day out with abdominal pain, and we are determined to use our skills to help you manage and if possible remove the pain.
The most important step is listening to you. It’s true that we’ve seen many clients dealing with chronic abdominal pain, yet the pain that they experience and the pain that you experience is unique. Only by listening to you, learning about your experiences, and asking pertinent questions can we create a treatment program uniquely designed for you.
Our goal is to create a short-term pain relief and a long-term pain relief program. When you walk out of our offices, you will know what our plan of attack is and what you should expect every step of the way.