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    Chronic Abdominal Pain

    Chronic Abdominal Pain Treatment

    Chronic Abdominal Pain is a type of pain that has existed for more than 6 months and is associated with no specific evidence of a particular disease or condition. This pain is neither associated with bodily functions like bowel movements, eating or menstruation; nor is it associated with medication or toxin. Chronic Abdominal Pain can be categorized into Non-Cancer related abdominal pain, or Cancer-related Abdominal Pain.

    Pain receptors in the abdomen respond to mechanical and chemical stimuli. Stretch is the principal mechanical stimulus involved in visceral pain and is brought on by distension and contraction. Different types of chemical and physical causes can work together to make you feel abdominal pain and the threshold for perceiving pain varies among patients. Chronic pain may be triggered by an initial insult, and for some people, normal physiological processes such as digesting food can be felt as painful. Visceral hyperalgesia may predispose to chronic pain even after the initial cause has resolved. 

    Pain originating in the organ walls can often be perceived to come from a distant site, this is known as referred pain. Referred pain usually is located in the skin’s dermatomes at the causative organ’s spinal levels, or can be from an organ pushing on a nerve that travels elsewhere in the body and causes pain at the distal site. A classic example of this pain is an inflamed gallbladder being perceived as aching scapula (posterior shoulder).

    Cancer-related Chronic Abdominal Pain

    If your chronic abdominal pain is related to cancer, some treatments that could decrease the intensity of your pain are:

    • Intra-thecal pumps for pain medication
    • Celiac plexus block
    • Splanchnic nerve block
    • Spinal Cord Stimulators implant

    Non-cancer Related Chronic Abdominal Pain

    Sources of this abdominal pain could be chronic pancreatitis, prior abdominal surgeries or trauma-related injury.These causes of chronic pain can still be debilitating and deserve a thorough diagnostic approach to treatment and long-term management. This includes pain that has been present for longer than two months and is not associated with organic pain causes, and pain caused by chronic bloating, constipation, etc. 

    How can this be treated?