Non-Gastric, Functional Abdominal Pain
Relief for non-gastric, functional abdominal pain syndrome can often be achieved through treatments of the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems. Like non-cardiac chest pain, chronic pelvic, bladder and interstitial cystitis pain, non-gastric abdominal pain can have neurologic and musculoskeletal sources that contribute to the pain.
These musculoskeletal factors are not always obvious to the lay person or practicing physician. They may be present alone or in concert with other more traditional pain etiologies. Examples include Myofascial syndromes, spinal nerve irritations and facet syndromes, Iliopsoas muscle spasm and pubic ligament strain.
When pain from the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems increase pain in an internal organ, or when they refer pain to an internal organ, it is called Somato-Visceral pain (neuro, musculoskeletal- internal organ pain). Many people understand that crushing pain in the chest and left arm is a sign of a heart attack, or that pain in the sternum may actually be coming from gastric reflux.
In this instance however we are suggesting that pain is not coming from the internal organs but rather it is being referred to them. Chronic non-gastric abdominal pain by definition means that no source with the abdomen can be found to explain the pain. It is also referred to as functional abdominal pain syndrome.
That does not mean that there is no physiologic or anatomic reason for the pain. It just means it is not coming from the internal organ itself. Somato-Visceral pain is a bona fide source of pain in many of these cases.
In addition to the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems it is often a good idea to evaluate immune, vascular and nutritional status. Many cases of non-gastric functional abdominal pain respond to dietary changes or immune modulation. None of these causes of abdominal pain exist in isolation and most times it is necessary to address more then one aspect to help the body get back onto a healing path.
Fortunately these are all treatable conditions. Furthermore, by coordinating care with other doctors who may be treating the internal organs outcomes can also be enhanced. While one can never guarantee that treating any one, or all, of these conditions will cure non-gastric functional abdominal pain at Piedmont Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, P.A. we have enjoyed excellent success in getting relief. When treating the internal organ alone is not enough then a close look at somato-visceral aspects is well worth the effort.