Everyone has had some kind of stomach pain in their life. Whether it has been from something they ate, from being sick, or having some other kind of illness that has caused pain in the abdominal region.
The pain you were experiencing probably wasn’t very pleasant and may have put you out of commission for a little while. Having any kind of stomach pain can really put a damper on your life. It can effect your work, your school, your social life, and even your sleeping pattern. Taking care of that pain and recognizing where it is coming from is important for healing and recovery.
Pain can come from many different places in your stomach. Having some stomach muscle pain is one of the most common injuries in the exercise field. The muscles in your stomach can cause some excruciating pain when injured. So what causes that stomach muscle pain? More than likely, it is an abdominal muscle strain.
This means that one of the muscles in your abdomen has been “pulled” or stretched too much. During a workout, a person can overextend these muscles causing them to tear the muscle fibers. In severe cases, the muscle can actually rupture from its point of attachment, causing a very bad strain. Overexertion cause be caused by performing an activity that your stomach muscles aren’t ready for, exercising too much, performing exercises with improper form, lifting heavy objects, or sharply twisting the body.
THE ABDOMINAL WALL
The muscles in your belly play a very important role in life. They help support the upper body, assist in breathing, and protect your back and your organs. There are a few main muscles in your stomach that can become injured. The rectus abdominis is the muscle in the front of your stomach that gives the six pack look. It runs over the waist to the lower stomach.
The external oblique muscles are located on either side of the rectus abdominis and they assist in turning your torso to the left or the right. The internal oblique muscles are also located on the either side of the rectus abdominis but lower down towards your hip bones. They also assist in turning the torso to the left or to the right. The transverse abdominis muscle is the deepest muscle in your stomach.
SYMPTOMS OF STOMACH MUSCLE PAIN
How can you tell if you strained an abdominal wall muscle? A few of these symptoms may come about: muscle pain or soreness immediately after performing a movement, stiffness, discomfort, pain while stretching, pain when touching, muscle spasms, and in severe cases, swelling or bruising. These are all common signs of a strain but they can also be signs of something more serious. If the pain becomes too much to handle, contact your doctor to be sure it isn’t something worse!
Go by this grade to see how bad your pain is and if you should see a medical professional.
- Grade 1 – Mild Pain. You are experiencing mild discomfort. You don’t have any disability. There isn’t a limit on the activities you can do such as standing, walking, moving around…
- Grade 2 – Moderate Pain. You are experiencing moderate discomfort. This may be limiting your ability to perform some tasks such as twisting your torso.
- Grade 3 – Severe Pain. This is a severe injury which limits almost all movement of the upper body. You may also have swelling or bruising.
TREATING STOMACH MUSCLE PAIN
Now that you have this strained muscle, what can you do about it? Well, unfortunately there isn’t much. You should definitely rest the muscles as often as possibly. Since your abdomen is used in almost every movement, even breathing, this may difficult to do. Take a few days off from exercising and performing any heavy lifting.
Icing the area can also help. This will reduce any swelling or inflammation that is present during the strain. Opposite of icing, applying heat to the muscle can also help to relieve pain. Heat will loosen up the muscles in the abdominal wall and relieve any kind of tenderness. Taking an anti-inflammatory can also help to temporarily reduce pain. If the pain persists for longer than a few days, you should see your doctor immediately.
PREVENTING FUTURE STOMACH MUSCLE PAIN
If you are an athlete or someone who enjoys working out on a daily basis, getting this kind of injury can be a really problem for you. Taking all that time off to rest the muscles can drive an athlete crazy. Resting probably isn’t in your vocabulary. So how can you make sure you don’t strain a muscle again?
Taking a few precautions during your life can ensure that you don’t get a stomach muscle strain again. The biggest thing is technique. During any kind of movement, having proper technique will do wonders on avoiding tears and strains. If you are lifting something heavy, be sure to prepare your stomach.
Take a deep breath and position your body in the correct way. Warming up before any activity is also important. Too many times people go right into an exercise or a workout without even losing up the muscles.
If your muscles are tight prior to starting an exercise routine, your chances of getting injured are much higher. Take the time to loosen your muscles up! This will not only prevent injury but can also give you a better workout. If you aren’t a star athlete or an olympic weight lifter and you’re just a regular Joe starting to workout, see a personal trainer or some other kind of fitness professional before beginning an exercise routine. They will assist you in proper technique to avoid injury!