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Abdominal Strain – Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Posted on December 29, 2011 by pmruser

Abdominal strain isn’t pretty. True, it’s a muscle strain, but unlike most other muscle strains, an abdominal muscle strain typically isn’t one you can sport with ease or dignity. They hurt; at best, they feel awkward internally, while also making you feel awkward as a social human being. Abdominal strains are just about the worst. Recovery time can be sped up by knowing:

  1. how to identify an abdominal strain when you have one
  2. what caused it to begin with
  3. what you should do to treat it effectively


An abdominal strain can be anything from a slight over-stretching of the muscles to a partial muscle tear or complete muscle rupture. Despite these varying degrees of severity, no matter how serious the injury is a few symptoms will always remain constant:

●      sudden onset of pain

●      localized pain

●      localized swelling

●      pain increases with movement

If you are experiencing just those symptoms, you more than likely over-stretched your muscle; a common occurrence, especially in athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

A partial tear in your abdominal muscles will include the above symptoms, but will also typically cause:

●      localized discoloration

●      tenderness to the touch

An abdominal strain that involves musculature rupturing will include all of the above symptoms, but may also include the symptoms of shock, which can manifest as:

●      nausea

●      vomiting

●      rapid heart rate

●      excessive sweating

●      pallor (paleness of color in the skin)


Any type of abdominal strain can be caused by suddenly twisting your abdomen or by bending too far backwards (hyperextending your spine).  Keeping your abdominal muscles flexible can prevent an abdominal strain, and this is especially important for athletes, who typically use their abdominal muscles more often than others.


If you believe you have torn or ruptured your abdominal muscles, please seek medical attention.  You may have done damage to other parts of your body, as well as the musculature of your abdominal wall.  Also, it’s not uncommon to use therapeutic ultrasound to help heal severe abdominal strains, and this is a procedure that in most cases needs to be performed in your medical professional’s office.

If the abdominal strain is mild, any of the treatments that make up the UH-OH system should help to heal the strain and alleviate your pain:

●      Unwarm – ice the pained area, but never for more than 20 minutes at a time

●      Halt – stop whatever activity you were doing at the onset of the pain and rest for a few days

●      Outfit – wrap your abdomen with a bandage, applying slight compression

●      Height – keep the strained area as level with your heart as possible to facilitate blood flow

Final Notes

If you find yourself wondering if your abdominal strain is serious enough for you to seek medical attention: please seek medical attention.  The “wait-and-see” method is often the worst way to go about deciding whether to visit your local medical professional, and with a muscle strain that could be a tear or rupture, you could just be causing yourself more injury by “waiting” and “seeing.”  Take care of yourself, first and foremost, and don’t take unnecessary risks with your health, whether or it involves abdominal strains or not.