Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, Dr. Amy Oxentenko talks about an article published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, detailing the complexities of chronic abdominal wall pain (CAWP) – a condition that seems elusive to any workup.
Chronic abdominal wall pain is an often overlooked cause of chronic abdominal pain. The pain usually occurs due to entrapment of the cutaneous branches of the sensory nerves that supply the abdominal wall. Most of the time the pain is located in the upper right quadrant or at the site of a surgical incision.
A thorough and extensive examination is crucial to help diagnose this condition. Specifically, Carnett’s sign – a 2-step physical examination technique – should be done in all patients suspected of having CAWP as it can help support the fact that the abdominal pain originates from the abdominal wall. Treatment of CAWP consists of reassurance, physical therapy, activity modification, and pain relief. Patients can also try OTC topical anesthetics such as a lidocaine patch, or use a heating pad.
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