Abdominal Trigger Points are a cause of stomach pain that’s often missed. And that’s unfortunate because treating these trigger points is not hugely complicated.
There are many causes for stomach pain, and you need to rule out some serious causes before you can go ahead and look for trigger points. The primary cause of abdominal pain is often your organs, for example, the gut, liver, kidneys etc.
If you have chronic abdominal pain, you first need to get tests to confirm there’s nothing serious going on in your organs. However, many people take the tests, are giving a clean bill of health for their organ – but they still have pain.
What often happens next, is they’re given a diagnosis of ‘abdominal wall pain’ and sent home with some pain medication – and that’s it. Which leaves a lot of people with chronic abdominal pain, and no idea of treatment options. Added to that, chronic stomach pain is a surprisingly common condition. It affects 40% of children, and 25% adults will have significant abdomen pain at some stage in their life
The problem is, while medics are excellent at finding and treating organ problems, they often forget about the biggest organ of all – your muscular system.
Active abdominal trigger points can be a serious cause of stomach pain. They can cause severe pain, and if they’re not treated, the pain can carry on for years.
The picture is slightly more complex as well. Triggers can be created secondary to organ pain, IBS or endometriosis. When an area is very sensitive, you’ll get associated active trigger points in the abdominal wall. This because trigger points are a protective reflex. They’re switched on by pain in an area.
In some cases trigger points are secondary to cause of abdominal pain. What can happen is the original cause settles, but triggers remain stuck in a protective mode. After an injury or organ problem has healed, abdominal trigger points can become the ongoing cause of pain.
There are two important abdominal muscles which can get trigger points in them. These are:
The rectus abdominus is a strong straplike power muscle. Most people know this as the muscle which forms your sixpack. Trigger points in this muscle are unusual. Some refer pain where the trigger point is, however some can refer pain into the back as well.
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The obliques are muscles that form part of your core. These important posture muscle stabilise the spine, pelvis and internal organs. They provide strength and stability when you twist your body.
The obliques are complex muscles. They wrap around your body in layers, each layer running perpendicular to the other. You have the external obliques, and the internal obliques. The deepest layer is the transverse abdominus.
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