Abdominal Injuries

Abdominal injuries bring pain anywhere from below your ribs to the pelvis. The abdomen is the site of many vital organs including the stomach, liver, bowel and reproductive organs. There are also major blood vessels in the abdomen. Serious causes of abdominal injuries and pain include appendicitis and pregnancy problems. However, most abdominal pain is harmless and goes away without surgery.


Rectus abdominus strain

What is rectus abdominus tendinopathy?

The Rectus abdominis muscle is the long muscle in the middle of the abdomen, otherwise known as the ‘six-pack’. Pain can arise from the attachment of the Rectus abdominis muscle at the upper margin of the pubic region.

What causes rectus abdominis strain?

An unexpected or large force stretching the muscle or overuse due to excessive abdominal contractions e.g sit ups

How does rectus abdominis strain feel?

When abdominal injuries are sustained, localised sharp pain is experienced with contraction of the muscle, which occurs when the trunk is bent under load or resistance.

Management of rectus abdominis strain and how to fix it

The assistance of a sports medicine professional is invaluable. This could initially involve imaging techniques. With a more accurate diagnosis an appropriate management plan can be put in place. This may involve activity modification, anti-inflammatory medication and soft tissue techniques such as ice and massage. The correction of surrounding biomechanical abnormalities and a gradual task specific strengthening program will assist in preventing a re-occurence. Occasionally, some clinicians advocate injection of corticosteroid.


What is a stitch?

Abdomonal pain occuring during exercise.

How does a stitch feel?

Typically it feels like a very localised sharp crampy pain.

What causes a stitch?

It is not completely understood but it may be due to spasm of the diaphragm muscle, air trapped in the bowel or referred pain from the thoracic spine.

Management of a stitch and how to fix it

If you are experiencing regular sporting stitches, try the following: avoid food for a few hours prior to exercise, adequately hydrate and stretching of the thorax prior to exercising.

Other conditions of greater medical concern

Go straight to your doctor or the emergency department of the nearest hospital if you have any of the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Pain lasting for several hours
  • Pain and/or bleeding if you are pregnant
  • Pain in your scrotum if you are a male
  • Pain and vomiting
  • Pain and vomiting blood
  • Fever and sweats
  • Become pale and clammy
  • Have been unable to pass urine
  • Have been unable to move your bowels or pass gas