Advanced Pain Institute

Arcadia | Encino

Abdominal Pain

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What is Abdominal Pain?

Everyone since childhood has had abdominal pain. Most abdominal pains are temporary, and doctors can quickly diagnose and treat them. However, bellyaches can be a sign of a serious illness that can turn into a medical emergency. For instance, severe pain around the belly button, low-grade fever, and loss of appetite accompanied by nausea or vomiting are symptoms of appendicitis that require immediate medical attention. 

Whether you have mild abdominal pain or serious stomach cramps, abdominal problems may have different origins. They can include the small and large intestines, gallbladder, urinary bladder, ovaries, autoimmune, ureters, kidneys, infections, and food allergies. 

If you have been experiencing pain in your stomach for more than three months, you might have a condition called chronic abdominal pain or functional abdominal syndrome. Symptoms of concern include:

  • Sharp or dull pain
  • Severe discomfort 
  • Pain around the belly button
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Discomfort that lasts for minutes or hours
  • Bloating 
  • Pain that wakes the person up at night
  • Loss of appetite and weight

When and sometimes, but rarely, we don’t have a diagnosis and have ruled out ischemic bowel, perforations, infections, autoimmune, and the patient is incapacitated, the use of spinal cord stimulator/neuromodulation should be seriously considered to block abdominal pain and to minimize or avoid the use of opiates and narcotics.

Although spinal cord stimulators are not approved yet for chronic intractable abdominal pain, Dr. Minehart has been able to use this modality for some of his patients.  

If you have chronic intractable abdominal pain, Dr. Minehart would be the ideal person to see at the Advanced Pain Institute.

Types of Abdominal Pain

On your appointment with Dr. Minehart, you may describe your abdominal pain as crampy, achy, dull, intermittent, or sharp. Abdominal pains described like these are also called a stomachache. Other types of abdominal pain include:

  • Generalized Pain – If you feel the pain in more than half of your belly, you have general pain. This type of pain is commonly associated with indigestion, gas, or a stomach virus. If the pain gets worse, it could be because the intestines are blocked.
  • Localized Pain – This type of pain is found in a single area of your abdomen. It is usually associated with problems in your digestive organs such as the appendix, gallbladder, or stomach.
  • Cramp-like Pain – This type of pain is usually temporary and not severe. Gas and bloating, followed by diarrhea, are common causes of this pain. However, you should seek medical attention when pain occurs more frequently, lasts for 24 hours, or occurs with a fever. Menstruation in females can also cause cramp-like pain.
  • Colicky Pain – Colicky pain is usually a symptom of more severe conditions like gallstones or kidney stones. It tends to come and go in spasm-like waves. Patients experiencing this type of pain should consider visiting a doctor as soon as possible.

What causes abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain can be caused by any inflammation or disease that affects any organs or blood vessels in the abdomen.

The causes of abdominal pain can include:

  • acid reflux
  • appendicitis
  • bowel obstruction
  • causes of heart pain
  • constipation
  • food poisoning
  • heartburn
  • gallstones
  • gastroenteritis
  • trapped wind
  • ulcers

Arcadia | Encino

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