abdominal muscle

What conditions can affect the abdominal muscle

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Seeing bodybuilders or athletes with six-packs sure sounds interesting and appealing to some people. Of course, it is never easy to achieve those body goals as the need for regular workout and a good diet plan is the key to achieve such goals. Doing workout or playing sports does come with a risk of injury and might make a person feel the abdominal muscle somehow feels off. If a person feels the pain getting worse or starting to cause disturbance to their daily life, he or she should find a doctor as it may indicate some serious ongoing issues.

Abdominal muscles are muscles forming the abdominal walls. It is located between the ribs or the chest and the pelvis of which the area contains hip bones, bladder and rectum. The abdominal muscles help keep the abdominal organs such as stomach, intestine and kidneys safe and always in place. It also helps support the trunk, especially the deep abdominal muscle with the muscles in the back that attach to the spine or pelvis to create the core muscles. This not only helps keep the body stable, but also protects the spine during movement.

There are few conditions that could affect the abdominal muscle. Most common are the muscle strains or pulls. This could be from activities causing the abdominal muscles to be overstretched or overused. Examples of activities or events that could lead to muscle strains are poorly performed movement of the trunk or improper technique while playing sports involving running, turning, jumping and lifting heavy objects. Sometimes even laughing, coughing or sneezing for a long time could cause strained abdominal muscles.

Another condition that affects the abdominal muscle is a hernia. Hernia in general is defined as a protrusion of an organ or part through the wall of muscle or tissue that normally contains it. In the case of hernia of the abdominal wall, there is weakness of the muscle of the abdominal wall. A person suspected of abdominal hernia will have symptoms of lump or protrusion of the abdomen that can be seen under the skin, pain sensation especially around the protrusion, constipation, thin or narrow stool and unspecific symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever and increased heart rate. However, not all cases of abdominal wall hernias exhibit symptoms as some may only present with symptoms when straining such as after lifting heavy objects or during bowel movement. Simply said, some symptoms may only be visible when the pressure inside the abdomen increases.

Lastly, a condition that can affect the abdominal muscle is abdominal rigidity. It is a condition characterised by involuntary response of tightening of the abdominal muscle in response to the inflammation occurring inside the abdomen. It is in contrast with guarding as it refers to voluntary muscle contraction to avoid pain.  However, the term abdominal rigidity and abdominal guarding sometimes is difficult to extinguish as pain and abdominal rigidity often occur almost simultaneously. There are many causes that could lead to this such as abscess inside the abdomen, perforated intestine, stomach or gallbladder, trauma, inflammation inside the abdomen (peritonitis) and appendicitis.

Since abdominal muscle can be affected for various reasons, it is important to talk to a doctor if a person shows symptoms that start to affect their daily life activities or when a person shows intense pain to get to the root cause of the problems. Treatments vary with the cause underlying the conditions. This can range from doing advice on how to lift heavy objects carefully, eating a healthy diet packed with fibres from fruits and vegetables to ease constipation, exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles, prescription of medications and surgery.

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