Abdominal pain can be one of the most frustrating conditions for both those who are suffering from the pain and for their doctors. Because the vast majority of abdominal adhesions (sticky spots between tissues) will not show up in diagnostic imaging, medical practitioners can sometimes end up at a loss for how to help their patient out of pain. This is where knowledgeable, trained massage and manual therapists can be such a huge help.

There are a wide range of issues that can cause abdominal pain and it is course always best to get checked out by your doctor to see if anything stands out in MRI's, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests. For many people, imaging and other tests reveal no problems. If that is the case for you, here are a couple of things to consider:

1. There is hope. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of abdominal adhesions are not extensive enough to show up on pictures, those adhesions can cause an extraordinarily amount of pain and dysfunction. The good news is that they can be basically felt and often released by a trained practitioner who knows what they are doing, or by yourself, if you have some knowledge of what you are feeling for.

2. It's not rocket science. Although belly pain and dysfunction (especially once it has become chronic pain or dysfunction) can be a complex nut to crack, it is possible to find a way out of it. For most people this requires a combination of manual therapy / massage, increased movement every day, and a fundamental calming of the central nervous system. The beautiful part about this is that each of these aspects of recovery feeds the other. The tricky part can be figuring out where to start.

For some people, the starting place is with mindfulness or meditation practices in order to reduce some of the mind chaos around their pain and dysfunction so they can more comfortably make other decisions about which manual or other energetic treatments (such as acupuncture) to pursue.

For other people, the starting place is the simple practice of laying their hands on their belly and breathing methodically in order to re-establish connection and an open line of communication with their troubled belly.

And for yet others, the starting place is to start by finding a practitioner who trust who can asses the tissues of the belly and abdomen and create an initial treatment plan in order to start directly releasing the problematic tissues. Some people prefer to learn to do this assessment and specific massage for themselves.

Everyone is different and there is no one “right” way. Just know that when it comes to abdominal pain and dysfunction, there are options through massage and manual therapy that have proven effective for many, many people.