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The thoracic spine: a source of abdominal pain

Sparkes, Valerie ORCID: and Hunter, J. 2003. The thoracic spine: a source of abdominal pain. Presented at: 14th International Congress of WCPT, World Physical Therapy 2003, Barcelona, Spain, 7-12 June 2003.

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PURPOSE: Unexplained abdominal pain accounts for over 50% of patients attending Gastroenterology Clinics. Musculoskeletal causes of abdominal pain are noted in the literature, however this cause of abdominal pain is often neglected and patients can have persistent pain for many years. This study aimed to identify if the thoracic spine was implicated in unexplained abdominal pain. RELEVANCE Unexplained abdominal pain can lead to repeated clinic appointments and investigations. Early identification of source of pain would reduce these costs. It would identify that the thoracic spine is implicated in abdominal pain. SUBJECTS: 120 subjects with unexplained abdominal pain were recruited to study. All were screened for serious visceral pathology by Senior Medical Physicians. Subjects with inflammatory or neoplastic disease were excluded. METHODS AND MATERIALS. All subjects were assessed by a senior physiotherapist using validated and reliable examination procedures ascertained in previous research. This included a subjective and physical examination including assessment of range of movement and palpation of the thoracic and lumbar spines. Those who appeared to have a musculoskeletal cause to their symptoms all received treatment. All patients were followed up at 6 months to monitor reponse to treatment ANALYSES: The most frequent (mode) spinal levels that reproduced the subject abdominal pain were noted RESULTS: In subjects who had a musculoskeletal cause to their symptoms (12 .5% n =15), thoracic levels 9,10 and 11 at the side corresponding to the pain, were the most frequently noted levels. CONCLUSIONS:The thoracic spine can be implicated in the production of abdominal pain. The thoracic spine as a source of pain should be considered in patients with unexplained abdominal pain when serious visceral pathology has been excluded. Early assessment could lead to reduced investigations and clinic appointments. Thoracic levels 9,10 and 11 were the most frequently noted segments to reproduce abdominal pain.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
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Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 08:49

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