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Pain Management

Unexplained Abdominal Pain

07/10/2007

Question:

I've been having the most unusual pain in my upper abdomen just slightly on my right side. I had my gallbladder taken out in January of this year and ever since I've felt this pain in about the same location. I had a CT scan and nothing showed up. This pain will feel it`s worst when I bent forward. I think because I have a back ache in the same area only in my back that this abdominal pain might be causing that too. I had went to a gastrointestinal doctor and he did an upper endoscopy and found nothing. He said it is probably irritable bowel syndrome and sent me on my way. I have had bouts of irritable bowel syndrome off and on throughout the years and never did it feel like this. This is a sharp pain that almost feels like it could be muscle or something present in that area that could be pushing on something and it hurts the most when bending forward. Any thoughts as to what it could be and where to turn from here? Thanks!

Answer:

Sharp pain that occurs with movement/bending may very well be coming from the abdominal muscles—as you suspected. Careful examination by a Pain Medicine specialist may reveal one or more trigger points. These are small areas of taut muscle bands that may be treated by local injections. If these are not helpful, other injections may be done for diagnostic purposes, such as a differential epidural block to help guide further treatment.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University