We Treat Recurring Abdominal Pain Without Surgery or Drugs
Clear Passage Physical Therapy® is a world leader, with over two decades of experience treating the adhesions that cause chronic or severe abdominal pain using a non-surgical, hands-on physical therapy. Studies and citations published in respected U.S. and international medical journals indicate that this therapy decreased abdominal adhesion pain and returned function to abdomino-pelvic structures, without surgery. Complete our online Request Consultation form to receive a free phone consultation with an expert therapist and learn whether our therapy can help you.
The abdomen contains tissues and organs from various body systems, each with its own structure and function. Any of them can become inflamed or diseased. Adding to the complexity of the abdomen is the fact that these interrelated structures may be also become easily injured because they are largely unprotected by the ribs that enclose the chest organs, above.Abdominal pain may involve any of the complex array of organs in the abdomen, including the stomach, intestines and gall bladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys and colon. Abdominal pain can radiate into the pelvis and urogenital organs as well.
Any of these important structures can cause pain or dysfunction when they become bound by adhesions that form in the abdomen after a surgery, infection, injury or inflammation. While surgery is sometimes deemed necessary in order to treat abdominal adhesion pain, the most skilled doctor cannot prevent adhesions from forming as the body heals from surgery. A large study published in Digestive Surgery showed that over 90% of patients develop adhesions following open abdominal surgery. (Liakakos et al., 2001)
In our experience, we find that, in most cases, the diagnosis of adhesion pain is fairly logical. Most medical causes (e.g. infection, disease, systemic problems) will appear on diagnostic tests. If these fail to yield a diagnosis, we suggest looking at a major mechanical cause – adhesions.
Adhesions are internal scars that form after any healing event – and often remain in the body as permanent ‘glue’ in or near the places where the body healed. Because abdominal adhesions do not appear on diagnostic tests such as x-ray, ultrasound, CT or MRI, we ask the patient “Did you have a trauma, surgery or infection a year or two before the pain started?” If the answer is “yes,” it reconfirms to us that adhesions are a likely cause.
A few minutes into your first treatment, our therapists will locate abdominal adhesions by palpating your abdomen and speaking with you about the specific areas that are tender or painful. Because our work is very site-specific, you may find us providing a gentle but deep manual therapy to areas of your body where we feel abnormal tensions. If an area is too painful to touch, we will start distal to the painful area as we unravel the adhesions from nearby tissues that pull into your areas of greatest pain.
Patients often find that their pain diminishes and function improves quickly as we detach the adhesive cross-links that formed over years or decades. As that happens, they experience restored alignment, balance and mobility in the body, even beyond the areas causing symptoms. We work into the abdominopelvic organs, then may work into the pelvis, sacrum, thoracic and lumbar spines, the back and hip muscles, and any adhered connective tissues we discover. We suggest that patients who also suffer from neck pain or headaches, which are common in this population, have us work into those areas as well, but if you have specific requests, we recognize you as the “leader” of your therapy team.
Finally, we work with you to improve your function and tolerance for physical activity with the goal of returning you to a pain-free, active and productive lifestyle. To that end, we educate you in a lifelong preventive and restorative exercise program to improve flexibility, strength and endurance. We are glad to work hand in hand with your physician or other provider during therapy or as part of follow-up to keep you on the life path you envision.
Too often, this sends patients into a repeating cycle of adhesions-surgery-adhesions, with no end in sight. This problem has been highlighted in several studies, including one published in Lancet, which noted that over a third of all surgery cases were readmitted to the hospital two or more times (mean) to repair adhesions in the 10 years after surgery. (Ellis et al., 1999)
Some people face the choice of treatment at Clear Passage or surgery. Click here to watch an Internet video of surgery to remove adhesions, called lysis of adhesions (graphic). The physician comments on the cause of the adhesions — prior surgery — and general precautions to be taken to avoid injuring blood vessels and other organs.
By Belinda Wurn, PT, National Director of Services, Physical Therapist at Clear Passage Physical Therapy - Gainesville, Florida Area