The Trainer’s Room: Abdominal Muscle Strains – Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Upper Abdominal Muscle Strains | Lower Abdominal Muscle Strains - Treatment, Symptoms, Prevention(The Trainer’s Room is a regular column at Midwest Sports Fans by Denver chiropractors Dr. Niall McNally and Dr. Ihsan Erhuy, the pain and rehabilitation experts at the Mountain View Pain Center in Denver, CO.

All treatment options provided in this article should not be taken as specific advice, but rather as a general guide regarding what is typically done to treat the injury being described. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any pain management or rehab program.)

With the exciting end to the World Baseball Classic and Opening Day just around the corner, we have decided to discuss strained and torn abdominal muscles for this article. In fact, two players were recently plagued with similar abdominal muscle strains: Chipper Jones and Dustin Pedroia.

Chipper Jones, from the Atlanta Braves, had to be pulled out for a week from the WBC tournament after suffering an abdominal muscle strain. He even had to leave the game against Venezuela because of the injury. Dustin Pedoria from the Red Sox was also sidelined with a strained abdominal muscle.

Disclaimer: First, we must warn you that abdominal pain is an abnormal occurrence, and is not to be taken lightly; you must seek medical attention right away as this could be something more serious than a strained muscle. We advise anyone having any abdominal pain to please contact your medical practitioner right away.

Abdominal Muscle Strain Symptoms

It is important to know that this type of injury can take some time to heal (time will depend on the severity of the injury). Often in the case of a complete muscle tear the pain is instant and very intense. The pain description most patients give is knife-like or sharp pain at the site of injury. The pain results from abdominal muscle strain - lower/upper - symptoms, treatment, preventionmicro-tears in the musculature that occurs during torsion (twisting) movements. Other common signs and symptoms of an abdominal strain or tear can be tenderness and inflammation over the area.

Unfortunately, basically everything we do during the day is aided with the contraction of the abdominal musculature, since it is an important muscle of core stabilization. As a result, an abdominal muscle strain can cause pain all day long, and any movement involving flexion of the trunk can also cause an increase in pain. Examples of this are as simple as sitting up or getting out of bed in the morning.

Muscle strain grades

  • 1st Degree: Minimal damage to the muscle, tendon, or musculotendinous unit
  • 2nd Degree: Partial tear to the muscle, tendon, or musculotendinous unit
  • 3rd Degree: Complete disruption to the muscle, tendon, or musculotendinous unit

One of the reasons it can take so long to recover is because you constantly use the muscles while breathing; and, as we mentioned above, we use our abdominal musculature in basic stabilization throughout the day. However, it is possible to have a minor strain that can heal in a relatively short period of time, if the appropriate steps are taken.

Another result of abdominal muscle weakness is an increase of the lumbar curvature (hyperlordosis), which in many instances can lead to low back pain. If a complete tear of the musculature occurs there is also a possibility of a further complication, such as a hernia.

Abdominal Muscle Strain Treatment

Kinesio-taping, although fairly new, has been shown to have great results with this type of injury. The specific method of kiabdominal muscle strain treatment - kinesio taping | upper, lowernesio-taping depends on which muscle has sustained the injury and can be determined by your doctor.

The injury that Chipper Jones suffered from was an oblique injury. The external oblique muscle fibers run downward and medial (toward one another), and they cooperate in the flexion of the trunk by resisting one another. If the fibers on only one side are contracted, then the action performed is lateral flexion and rotation of the trunk to the opposite side.

The kinesio-taping method for this type of injury is fairly simple. For an external oblique injury your doctor would find the muscle in question and apply specialized tape in the direction of the fibers. Do not read this and think you can tape yourself. Remember you must use a specific type of elastic tape, and the application and direction of the tape is very important. If the taping is done properly it will provide increased stability to the area. If done improperly it can result in an ineffective treatment.

One of the other most effective types of treatment for this injury is everyone’s favorite advice: ice it and rest it. After the initial injury, apply ice to the area in question quickly to prevent it from further developing unnecessary swelling. The second part of the recommendation, rest, is of course the last thing any athlete wants to hear, but it is an important step in the recovery process. Remember that with an injury like a muscle strain, if you do not give your body time to heal then you can damage the muscle further or risk tearing the already weakened muscle all together.


There is no quick fix for an abdominal muscle strain. However, there are supplement protocols out there to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

  • Many studies have shown that ginger root has many benefits, one of which is the reduction of inflammation. Many traditional herbal practitioners use ginger root to aid in the treatment of arthritis, bursitis, and ulcerative colitis, all of which are inflammatory conditions.
  • Omega Fatty Acids are also very beneficial in the healing process.
  • Vitamin C and other bio flavinoids are also beneficial in the healing of connective tissues.

Abdominal Muscle Strain Prevention

The best things you can do to prevent an abdominal muscle strain is to properly train your body. You may ask yourself, then why do professional athletes suffer from this injury? Are they not properly trained? Well in most instances yes, they are properly trained; however, it is also possible to strain or tear the muscle from abdominal muscle strain prevention | symptoms and treatment | upper, lowerover training your body. The best way to prevent injury is to consult your doctor or trainer and set up a program that helps to strengthen your core. Some common exercises for this can be done on the physio-ball and many are free weight exercises such as the plank maneuver (pictured right).

Another important prevention method is to make sure you have the appropriate technique when performing your exercises. Whether you are swinging a bat or lifting weights in the gym, having the correct technique is very important to protecting the body from injury. If you want to take it a step further, you can see your practitioner or a sports therapist to see if there is a muscle imbalance or something altering your posture that may have a weakening effect on your core.

As far as Chipper Jones and other professional athletes with similar injuries, we predict that they should recover from their injuries within 1-4 weeks (depending on severity of their injury).

Disclaimer: Once again, we must warn that abdominal pain is not a normal occurrence. Please seek medical attention right way. This article is the opinion of the Mountain View Pain Center, for this particular type of injury. If you feel you have had a similar type of injury please contact your primary care physician and do not attempt to perform any of these treatments without the approval and supervision of your doctor.


The Trainer’s Room is written exclusively for Midwest Sports Fans by Denver chiropractors Dr. Niall McNally and Dr. Ihsan Erhuy of the Mountain View Pain Center in Denver, CO. You can contact them by leaving a comment below or sending an email to

Dr. Niall McNally is certified in chiropractic neurology and has a strong background in sports iDr. Niall McNally - Pain and Rehabilitation, Denvernjuries and in the rehabilitation of common nagging athletic problems. Dr. McNally also is trained in pediatrics, orthopedics, and nutrition.

He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma and successfully completed his Doctor of Chiropractic degree at the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, TX. A very active athlete, Dr. McNally played hockey up into the junior level. In fact, it was his love for hockey, and the Colorado Avalanche, that originally gave him the idea to one day practice sports medicine and chiropractics in the area.

Dr. Ihsan Erhuy - Pain and Rehabilitation, DenverDr. Ihsan Erhuy specializes in motor vehicle accident injures, back, neck, and extremity problems, as well as treating pregnant patients and children. He is certified in the Diversified, Gonstead, Thompson, Upper Cervical, Activator, Sacral Occipital, Applied Kinesiology, Soft Tissue techniques.

Originally from Adana, Turkey, Dr. Erhuy graduated from the University of Arizona and also susuccessfully completed his Doctor of Chiropractic degree, along with his bachelor of science in health and wellness, at the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, TX.

About Mountain View Pain Center

At Mountain View Pain Center we are committed to relieving your pain and restoring you to good health and wellness. We are able to do this by combining expert advice, the highest quality chiropractic care currently available, advanced soft tissue work and state-of-the-art rehabilitation programs. At our office you will experience the benefits of a dynamic team approach and receive a level of care which is virtually unmatched elsewhere. With this powerful combination our chiropractors can dramatically improve your life and the lives of your friends and family. The Mountain View Pain Center is located in Centennial, CO which allows us to provide convenient chiropractic care and rehabilitation treatment to Aurora, Centennial, Denver, Lakewood, Parker, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Cherry Hills, Lone Tree, and Green Wood Village.


  1. How do you recognize the difference between an abdominal muscle strain and/or tear, and a hernia? I have pain on the lower left abdominal/groin area which occurred during lifting weights.

    • The best way is to go see your doctor. Hernias do not always cause pain, however it is common to gt a hernia from heavy lifting. In some cases of a hernia you may see a small lump in the groin area. If this is the case go straight to the doctor. Either way I think its best to get a routine check up, if there is a abdominal strain follow the steps above. If there is a hernia it will require a minor routine surgery.
      Dr. McNally

  2. Chelsea Lum says:

    Ok so this is my ab injury…. about 4 weeks ago I was challenged to try the treadmill on a uphill on it's highest elevation without using hands. I was given this challenge to see quicker results in my weight loss. So naturally I started it off 30 minutes 5 days a week for 2 weeks or so. But after about 2 or 3 times of doing this exercise I felt a strange feeling in my abdominal area (oblique middle section) which in turn caused my bladder to behave in a spastic manner and keep me up for 4 weeks! It feels like alot of pressure siting on my bladder. Naturally I got all the tests done to find an infection, none were present. Now with much regret I have decided to take some weeks off at the gym. My question to you is this…what can I do to get back to the gym soon as possible? Second question…how bad is it that I kept trying to work through the pain and discomfort for about 2 weeks after I noticed it? I really need to get back to the gym!!!

    • Well the extra 2 weeks probably did cause some extra damage, but don't beat yoursefl up about it. If you are in pain during training then it is a good idea to rest and get treatment. What was your doctors final diagnosis after the tests. If there is in fact an injury to the abdominal muscles, follow the steps above and rest the area. Once you get back to cardio try the elliptical instead, it will decrease the pounding of running and will easier on the body.
      Dr. McNally

  3. I play alot of recreational softball in a very competitive league. I noticed approximately 8 weeks ago pain in my lower abdominal area ( just above the pubic region). i have since tried to rest it for recovery. I have only played 2 games in the last 8 weeks. However, after playing last night I started to notice more pain in the lower ab upper pubic region. As the night passed the pain became more intense and more noticeable after sitting for a period of time and trying to get up and walk. Is there anything other than ice and rest that you would reccomend?

    • Get this checked out. It is possible there is a small tear or hernia in the area and you don't want to let that slide. If this has been going on for 8 weeks with alot of rest then something else may be going on in the area.
      Dr. McNally

  4. hi doc
    i play alot of soccer and for the last 3 months i`ve had pain in my lower abdominal area when it first occured i could`nt lift my leg up, i when to my gp and he told me it was`nt a hernia, and just to rest it, 6 weeks later its a lot better but still not 100 percent, and for last 6 -7 weeks i can still feel it. i play soccer but not to my potential as i dont feel right, is there any exercises or treatment i can do to get me 100 percent.
    thanks george

    • It will hard to get to 100% without any treatment, if it is a muscular issue it should be a short and relatively easy treatment process. Is the pain deep in the groin area and is it more painful when lifting the leg? If so you have a possible issue with the psoas muscle. One way to stretch this is for example sake let’s say the left leg is the one in pain. Keep the left leg planted and foot facing forward. Keep this leg straight and take a long step with the right leg and lean back over the left leg. You should feel a stretch and pull in the front of the left leg.
      Dr. McNally

  5. Hi, I start suffering some pain in my left lower ab / upper groin area playing in a tennis match two months ago, Iinjury inhibited my movement – running, walking and lateral movements all caused pain.

    So we went with the tried and true RICE treatment for 4 weeks without me doing any sports or lifting other than low seated, unintense stationary biking. It improve to a point where 4 weeks ago I feel no pain walking although still get a little pain in running or any explosive movement. I had a committed 2 month trip in Southeast area so I figure this is good enough to go. Now a month into the trip – I found that the stituations unfortunately stopped improving, despite rest and light physical activity – I continue to get pain when I sit up in bed from a laying position or walking up hill, specifically in this little area between stomach and groin on the left side, I tried RICE again…but it is there strengthing / stretching / massaging excercise and treatment I can get for this? Since am in a lot of remote areas and not going to be back to in States for a while, seeing doctors with the right expertise/qualifications is not an option right now. Thanks for any advice you can share here…Chris

    • I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. The fact this has taken so long to heal can mean there is a tear in the muscle that has not properly healed, a hernia, or something else all together. If there is a doctor or nurse you can see in your area, they can do a quick hernia check without any fancy equipment or lab tests. Also muscle injuries take longer to heal in the abdomen, because you have to use this muscle all day with any movement of the core. I hope this helps.
      Dr. McNally

  6. One more thing to add – since there are a lot of allergic elements here, when I sneeze or cough hard, the area also hurts (I think it is close to this muscle called iliopsoas (by the muscle definition on wikipedia)..thanks

    • The Psoas muscle is a deep muscle in the abdomen that can cause pain in the deep groin area, and even in the back. This muscle runs on the inside of the spine down the front of the pelvis and into the femur, so walking, running, and lifting the knee can cause pain. I have explained how to stretch this area, in a comment below. Make sure not to bounce when doing this and stretch for a few seconds, hold then try to go further do this several times a day. You can test to see if this muscle is tender by laying on your back putting your hands on the inside of the pelvis on your stomach breath in and out while pushing down. If this area is tender you may have a psoas problem.
      Dr. McNally

  7. Hi there, I have been suffering from pain in my lower abdominal area in the right hand side towards the groin area from playing soccer for about 8 weeks before christmas which i thought would heal on its own. I carried on playing with this pain for about 5 or 6 weeks until i realised it hurts to much to sprint, change direction, or strike the ball with my right foot. I since have rested over christmas for 3 weeks until the pain had near enough gone and tried to play again but the pain came back straight away. I thought I may have a hernia and went to my local gp who were not that helpful to check and they could not see any signs of a hernia and said it was muscular. So i have resented for another 3 weeks till now and done some basic strenghthening exercises ( sit ups ) and it is alot better but still no where near 100 % is there anything else i should or can do ? please help

    • Hi Andy and thanks for the comment. I want you to avoid sit ups for now. Especially any weighted ones. If there is a muscular problem here, then you could aggravate it. You want to continue to stretch the area. I have explained below how to stretch the Psoas muscles, I want you to do that as well as back bends, which will give a slight stretch to the abdomen. Also start with body weight core exercises this will help build up strength to the abdomen and protect the area for the future. If you are unsure on which core exercises will work, shoot me an email and I will write some down for you.
      Dr. McNally

  8. Hi, I am 15 years old and I have some kind of tear/strain or possibly a hernia from the information that I have been reading on this website. It is above my groin area on the left side. It rarely ever causes any pain. I lift weights a lot and when I squat I feel it. It's a warm feeling, kind of a sharp pain too, but not too intense at all. When it happened it felt like someone had poured hot water on the area that I felt it. I was wondering if you could maybe give me your opinion on what type of injury it is from the information that I've given you. Thank you – Jonathan

    • Do you have a lump in the area? Should like a hernia from your description, but the only way to be sure is to go to your doctor and have him check it out. This is very common in people your age and as well in weightlifting. If there is a hernia, then they will surgically repair it, do not worry though this is a very simple procedure you are in and out of the hospital in a few hours and the recovery process is pretty short.
      Dr. McNally

      • There isn't a lump, If It is a hernia and I have to get surgery, would I ever be able to weight train just as hard as I did before in due time?

        • If it is a hernia, then they will surgically repair. This is a fairly minor surgery you will be back to lifting in just a few weeks. You will be able to lift the same amount of weight. My only recommendation is before getting back to heavy weights concentrate on core exercise. this will help protect the area in the future, protect you from further injuries, and will actually increase strength over all. Get it checked out either way, hopefully there is just a muscle strain, however to be on the safe side you will want to check this out.
          Dr. McNally

  9. Dr, I have a lower right abdominal pain that is not new but currently burns when in almost any position but leaning forward. It hurts after I overdue a workout that includes situps and lateral pull downs. The reason it is so intense now is because I have been shoveling snow for a week after the recent Washington DC snow storms. Also, I had my appendix out when 16, almost 48 years ago. Could my right side abdominal muscles be weak because of that operation? Any recommendations?
    Thank you
    Dave C

  10. Hi, i just got a gym membership 9 days ago. I totally overdid my abdominal workout. It felt sooo tight for 2 days that when i stood up after sitting in class for a while, it hurt to stand up straight. then i thought it went away, but i have not worked my abs out since. then yesterday my stomach seemed slighty bloated and jiggly like right under the skin had water under it. it doesnt really hurt but i think that its really bruised under the skin…because i cant see any bruising but i feel like it is.. what do you think this is? i feel like it is 3rd degree muscle strain, what should i do?

    • i was quickly jumping too conclusions. its probally a 2nd degree muscle strain actually. 3rd degree is much to severe. haha.

      • If you go and do a serious ab work out after being in active for a while it is possible to seriously strain the area. This can take up to a week to start feeling better. I actually did the same thing to myself years ago and it hurt my stomach to do everything and anything for about a week. The concern here is what you are describing as a lump with water under the skin. Where exactly is the lump or bloated area. If this is around the waist line or closer to the groin area, then it is possible you have given yourself a hernia or small tear in the abdominal muscle causing the area to swell. If that little lump still remains I would get into your doctor to have it checked out.
        Dr. McNally

  11. Hello i have been feeling pain in my oblique muscle for the past week, when i run and do squats i can feel pain but it is not the hip. what do i do?

    • How high up in the muscle is this? Did you do anything specific to injure this area or has this come on gradually. First advice is to rest for one week, with no strenuous activity at all to let the abdominals rest. While resting you can stretch all muscles including the abdominals. If this does not help, get into see your doctor have him/her check for possible hernia or muscle tear.
      Dr. McNally

  12. Hi Doctors, I have a question regarding my 6 year old son. He was on a trampolene at school (I was not present so I can not tell exaclty what happened), but apparently, he jumped up and landed on his feet (on the trampolene), and then fell forward onto his hands (I believe with feet still down) on trampolene. He apparently had a sharp pain from this. It’s been a week now, and very little improvement at all since after that initial sharp pain. He’s without pain while doing regular daily activities, but when I pick him up (from under his armpits to lift him), he screams out in pain. Also, he has more of an ache (far less pain) when he bends down or sometimes crawls into bed. He’s never had any such pain(He’s thin and has very good muscle tone.) My guess is that he was nervous on the trampolene and therefore tense/straining more than the average kid on it (while simulatenously physically straining (due to the sport itself). I will take him to his pediatrician, but just wanted to ask you if you think this sounds like a muscle tear (and nothing mroe severe). Also, if so, how long might this take to heal? Thank you! Pam

  13. Activeman says:

    Back in July, 9 months ago, I injured my left side. I don't really know how except the fact that the day before I hit a lot of golf balls and on the day off I was playing 16" softball. Interesting enough, it wasn't my side that hurt on the day of, it was my lower left back that became very strained. After that pain went away, my lower left side has been hurting ever since and bad enough where I can't sleep on my left side. It is not a sharp pain, but a dull agonizing pain. Over the last 9 months, I have stayed very active and I work out a lot (i.e. Completed P90X with a lot of plyo, yoga and ab workouts). The exercise never hurts my side, it's sleeping that does the most "damage". My wife finally made me take a week off from working out, but that did not do a thing. I went to a chiropractor and he was thinking it was an oblique, but he hasn't looked at it too thoroughly. Any ideas? Do I need a MRI or X-rays?

    • Sometimes in an injury to the psoas muscle you have a deep pain in the stomach and even the back. The psoas is often strained in excessive activity and increased abdominal workouts. The musle is used when doing abs, and lifting the legs (flexing the leg). Use your hand on the inside of the pelvic bone, where your waist line is. Take a deep breath in and out and press down if this area is tender or sensitive, you may have injured the psoas muscle. An x-ray will not show soft tissue injuries so if the treatment you are under going is not working you may want to have the doctor order and MRI.
      Dr. McNally

  14. After months of not working out, I decided to go back to the gym. Sunday, I went on a advanced hike, it was very difficult considering how out of shape I am. Monday – day off, Tuesday 45 minutes on elliptical, Wednesday 45 minutes on elliptical and did one weight machine for the underarms. Thursday I worked out for 45 minutes on the elliptical.

    On Wednesday night, I was experiencing menstrual cramping, but by late Wednesday night, the pain from my lower abdomen to my upper abdomen was in severe pain. I thought that it could be severe menstrual cramps. I woke up on Thursday and it was brutal (I probably shouldn’t have worked out). Last night, was the worst yet, excruciating pain in my muscles, it hurts to breath, take a deep breath and do daily functions. I’m hoping it’s just a muscle strain. Also, I feel a nerve in my right clavicle area that feels like its connected to my stomach so when I make movement that is too much for stomach area it hurts that nerve.

    Any ideas?


    • Go see your doctor on this one. Usually coming off a period of inactivity you should slowly work back up to longer workouts. It is possible you over strained yourself by doing too much too soon. However when you have intense pains like this in the abdomen you should always be checked out to be on the safe side.
      Dr. McNally

  15. Hi Dr McNally. I came across your online forum regarding oblique muscle strain injuries. I find it most interesting because I have been suffering for over 2 years now of the most excruating pain imaginable. I have seen ever doctor you name it including sports doctors. I've done ever test you name it as well. Finally recently a 4th dynamic ultrasound found a small left sided external oblique grade 1 intramuscular tear with hypoechoic area measuring 8 x 2 mm. The tear is adjacent to the intramuscular fascia. Hyperemic flow in the patient's area of concern.
    I've had 1 cortisone injection and 1 prp (plasma rich platlet) injection with no relief. Also done extensive pyshio, chiro accupunture, massage therapy etc.
    I am hoping I can find a surgeon who can help me. The surgeons I have seen have not taken my ultrasound finding of muscle tear seriously and suggest further rest.
    I am still suffering and want to consult a surgeon who is familar with my "rarer" ab muscle tear. I live in Toronto Canada but am willing to travel anywhere for a surgeon who could potentially help me. Pls advice with info of surgeon or anyone who could help or any other advice etc.
    Thank you so much!

    • Are you looking for a surgeon in the United States, Canada, or are you loking for someone who will pay attention to your symptoms no matter where they are? I live in Denver, Colorado and I could pass on your lab findings to a doctor in the area, he will have a look and see if surgery is an option which should save you a trip. If you go on the website you can find my direct email. If you can scan or fax your x-ray, MRi, Ultasound, any findings you have will help. I will also look for a doctor close to you as well and see what I can come up with.
      Dr. McNally

  16. Aubrey Pritchard says:

    Dr, I have this really sharp pain in my upper abdominal. i dont know how it was caused, all i know is that it has gotten worse and ive only had the pain for five days and it’s gotten worse. everytime i breath, cough, laugh, walk, get up out of bed, it hurts. My dad told me that i had to skip track practice for a week, but i really hope that it will heal before then. Please, do you know how long my muscle will be this way, and do you know if there’s anything that i can do to make it heal faster, or make it feel better. i’ve been taking ibuprofen, and advil, but it doesn’t help much

  17. Brandon says:

    Two months ago I felt tenderness in the lower left abdominals in the oblique area just about the hip bone on the left side. There is a bump a good 4 inches stretching from the hip bone directly in line with my belly button . A CT and ultrasound ruled out a hernia and 2 months of physio, rest, ultrasound therapy has done nothing and I may be worse off, I from time t0o feel pain in the hip,groin and hip flexor. Every dr, therapist, say they have enver seen such an injury, any ideas and if so how would I treat it? Anychance it could be a tear of the abdominal wall with the muscle protruting and if so how would that be repaired? Surgery, injection, etc? Also a blood and urine test were clear Thank you!

  18. hello Dr. i play soccer and two weeks ago i played until i feel a tear on the left side of my side which i dont what part of the muscle that is, its very hard to tell because at first i couldn't bend over to pick up anything if i cough it hurts. pls is there's any way you can tell me what i torn.

  19. Is it possible to strain a muscle in the lower right abdomen from moderate hula hooping? The pain is only felt sporadically over the day. Ibuprofen seems to help. I had an exam and they could not find signs of anything that might cause this pain. There were no other symptoms.

  20. Michelle says:

    My son plays soccer and trains two/thre nights a week for 1.5-2hrs. While playing a game one day his right side near his waist started hurting him out of the blue. He didn't do anything specific like fall or anything it just started hurting. We went to an orthopedist and he said i think it's a strained oblique. He has had a couple x-rays which show nothing. We have done therapy/stretching, his muscles were sooo tight. it has been 5-6 weeks and he tried to play soccer (as a test) and couldn't. Now it is both sides and he is stiff. It is worse than before and i see he has a hard time bending and pain walking or doing certain motions. It feels like it is all across his lower back at the waist from side to side. Does this sound like more than a pulled oblique? There is no swelling or bruising. Do you think this warrents a MRI or bone scan and if i had a choice which one is better, or are they the same?

  21. I, too, have pulled left side muscle above hip but only hurts when I go up and down stairs and fast walk.
    What can I do to fix muscle pull and stop the pain? Thanks

  22. ive noticed a rather painful place in the left side of my abdomine. ive come to believe i might be over working it with my constant hitting (im a volleyball player) for the past 2 weeks. how do i reduce the pain but still be able to participate in my daily activities?

  23. I was playing soccer yesterday and got a cramp in my right side. It lasted all day and I went to sleep and woke up and the pain is still there and there is also a bulge. The pain is about a half inch above my belly button and about 7 inches to the right. Anyone know what this could be?

  24. Doctor, i'm REALLY stressed out because my lower right quadrant is feeling like swelled inside, it feels like strained but it is focused in the spot near the region of the appendix….my mother had this issue and had hers removed 8 years or so ago…also, I've been constipated, but no fever, no nausea or vomitting, just a minor burning sensation and a slight cramping in that area, I dont want this to be appendicitis but i want to remove it now researching all of this…i'm worried, and i've had this irritable disturbance grow slightly and progessively past three days…i had belly buttons pains MONTHS ago tho' but i don't think that could make sense if it refferred to appendicitis….I beg for any advice, it is much appreciated, i'm worried sick, not sure what to do, Josh,16.

    • Josh I have that same feeling.. Was it your appendix? I went to the doctor the other day and they did standard testing for appendicitis and she ruled it out for the most part, but Im still in pain and your symptoms seem very similar to mine

      • I know this is an old post, but I was just wondering how everything turned out. I think my pain is actually a strained abdominal muscle, but at first I thought appendicitis also. I did a lot of googling and noticed that often the pain from appendicitis usually starts right above your belly button. I had no nausea, vomiting, or fever myself (as well as no insurance), I know the key sign of appendicitis besides all that other lovely stuff I just mentioned is something called "rebound tenderness". If you draw an imaginary line between your hip bone that you can feel on the front and your belly button, the appendix is in the 1st 1/3rd of that area. If your doctor is gently pressing on your abdomen, and you feel the pain right there when he releases the pressure, that's a key sign.

  25. Sad and in Pain says:

    Hi Dr. McNally,
    I also have an injury to my right side which no doctor can figure out. I am a 33 yr. old female. It seemed to happen spontaneously 15 months ago and I am still in a lot of pain. (Although I do have 2 small children, so maybe it was in relation to lifting or carrying them). It is my right side, half way between the bottom of the rib cage, and the top of my hip, at the narrowest part of my side. I have had 3 CT scans, 1 MRI, a HIDA scan, a colonoscopy, and many ultrasounds. None of the testing has shown any problems. The pain is searing, and there is definitely a spasm involved. I have tried Skelaxin, it did not help. I recently saw an internist who has ordered an MRI of the spine. I haven't had the testing done yet. I am fearful it will be another dead-end. I cannot use my abdominal muscles in any way, just bending, or getting up from sitting, even turning over in bed, is painful. I can no longer exercise or be as active as I used to be. I contacted an orthopedist, but was told they couldn't help me since the area was not connected to bone. I am feeling very frustrated and helpless. I was starting to get a lot better, around months 10-14 of this ordeal, but recently saw a doctor about 3 weeks ago who pushed so hard on my abdomen, that it seems he re-injured me. Instantly it felt as if something tore inside of me. He made no attempt to help me, I couldn't even get off of the exam table. Again I am in constant pain and the spasms are back. I feel like a year of healing has been wasted. I have also tried amitriptyline, it didn't help the pain, and it caused weight gain, which caused extra pressure through my mid-section, and thus, even more pain. All of my doctors think I am crazy and the only thing they will do is refer me to a psychiatrist. Before this happened, I had no medical problems, now doctors think I am crazy. If this is a muscle injury, why can't it be imaged? How long will it take to heal completely? Why was I so easily re-injured after a full 14 months? Will I always be that susceptible to re-injury? Any suggestions for me, or referrals? (I am in the DC area).
    Thank You for your time,
    Sad and in Pain

    • Hi Dear, I know how you feel. I have pain in the same area. I went through a battery of tests and everything was clear.
      I think I may have pulled something there. It has been 4 months now. At times it feels like it is getting better, than I do something like twisting the wrong way and it comes back as if it has been re-injured. My doctor thinks it may a muscle injury. But he says it should have healed by now. He also jokingly suggested it was all in my mind. It is most likely a muscle injury that takes awhile to heal and keeps on getting re-injured.

    • Hi I have exactly the same problem as you i'm 34 year ol female, I have 11/2 year an IVF and somthing tore my right side since them I had been from all kind the doctors and know one seems to fine the cause of my problem, last july i went to a naturopath and put me on strick diet and sundely I feel great but just two days ago I went to visit my chirop and he tiwisted and i felt again the pull on my stomach and since then I started again with this discomfort my problem is also that goings to my uretra as well so is no just my stomach what ache also the irratation I got, I hope you find a cure and get better and do not let doctor said you are crazy,, you aren't alone my friend

      • Hi Jessica thank you for your comments here. can you clarify something for me. I did not fully understand you sentence about you have an 11 12 IVF an something tore into your side. Can you clarify what you mean there and how the injury started. I am glad the Naturopath was able to give you some relief sometimes the problem is not the muscle wall, and can inside the muscle wall or even in the intestinal tract which a diet and supplements may help.
        Dr. McNally

  26. Jackie racine says:

    Yesterday, I turned and pulled something in my right lower abdomen. Actually, I thought I tore something. Since then, I have had a lot of discomfort. My abdomen feels swollen. Now the pain is radiating to all lower abdominal area. (R L M ) I feel a lot of pressure when I use the bathroom. I am trying what kind of Dr to go and see tomorrow. I will try to hold off until I hear from you. THanks so much. I have enjoyed reading you replys.

  27. Hey. I'm a 25 year old male. In 2009 I did some physiotherapy for some right shoulder discomfort and lower back pain I was getting, the physiotherapist suggested it was my hunched posture (I spend a lot of time sitting at a computer). She gave me some exercises to do, they involved sitting and arching my back over a chair (presumably to straighten my back) and standing with my back against a wall and holding the position for 10 breaths. During this time I started getting some pretty bad pain in my abdomen, just under my rib cage. I was also getting chronic diarrhoea and feeling extremely week and just generally very unwell. During this period I continued to do these exercises, I had no idea they could be causing the symptoms, and I just got worse and worse and worse until I could barely eat, for about 8 months I couldn't eat bread or milk as it would cause extreme discomfort and pain. I had a lot of tests (colonoscopy, blood test, stool sample etc.) They were all clear, so we started to look at other causes and the one the doctors settled on was psychological. I have a history of depression and anxiety and the doctors suggested these were the causes of my symptoms. I accepted this diagnosis and went on Mirtazapine, which I'm still on now. I haven't done these posture exercises for about 5 months and my symptoms have slowly improved. I had resumed my regular 'hunched' position in front of my PC, but my lower back pain came back, so over the past 2 weeks I have been trying to sit properly again, ie. back straight, shoulders back and high (I haven't done the posture exercises though, and I will never do them again) but the abdominal pain, weakness and chronic diarrhoea has come back. Fortunately it's nowhere near as bad as before, but I'm still getting a lot of abdominal pain. When I sit at my PC with my back straight I can feel the muscles in my abdomen becoming very tight and almost numb to touch. Is it possible that this posture could be causing my symptoms or is it all psychological as the doctors have suggested? I asked my doctor about this a few months after firstgetting the symptoms and she virtually dismissed it, so I continued with the posture exercises, they were really helping with the back pain I was getting, infact the back pain went totally, so I think the physio was right in her diagnosis of 'bad posture'. Is there any advice you could give me? I feel like I'm in a catch 22 situation, if I sit hunched my lower back pain returns, but if I sit correctly I can feel the muscles tightening and hurting in my abdomen. Will the symptoms ever go? It's been so long now (about a year and a half) that I'm starting to wonder.

    • Hello I am 26 yr old male who has the same symptoms you had when this post was made upper abdominal pain chronic diarrhea and extreme weakness and i was wondering if you were ever diagnosed and if so what was it? How can i get help because i am becoming more and more unsuccessful trying to find help with this i have been to two different doctors who say they cant find anything other that a high white blood cell count in blood test, urine analysis or CT scans and as you know this is an excruciating pain and it is becoming more irritating to be given pain meds prescribed antibiotics and told that i am fine. If anyone could give some insight it would be greatly appreciated.

  28. BUY a back brace man i had the same problem there are many diffrent kinds speak to your doctor about them

    • Don't listen to the people who say it's all psychological. Why in the world would you get diarrhea from sitting up straight? If it made your back pain better, it doesn't make sense that you would be so psychologically upset. My advice is to go to a different doctor if possible. Maybe keep a detailed diary of what's going on. There could be some easy solution that these doctors just can't figure out. And just please watch for weight gain on mirtazapine. I was on it once and gained 25 pounds. My doctor swore it couldn't be that because "that doesn't usually happen." I pretty much told him I was stopping it, and voila, I was finally able to lose the weight. I have a strong instinct (I'm a nurse by the way) that this isn't psychological at all, the doctors can't figure it out, so they try to make you think it's all in your head. Personally, I'd be willing to bet money it's not. Good luck!

  29. could be a sports hernia check into it ……

  30. Erin Shelnutt says:

    I started doing p90x last week and this morning while trying to do a pullup (I tried to start without the chair) I felt something pull above the right hip toward the center. I tried to complete the workout and had a tough time with pushups,the rest of the time I used the chair to do the pullups and the ab routine some of the exercises I could not complete and the pain seems centralized to that side. Is this an oblique muscle I have strained??? I have had about 4 medial hernia repairs due to an incision up and down my stomach. But this does not feel like that pain. Please help and or direct..

    • hi there,
      i just experienced this same exact thing this morning doing the pull up/push up p90x dvd and was google-ing strained muscles in the abs when I found this… I was wondering how yours turned out? i was using the chair when mine happened but i went up funny and right away a sharp pain happened in my lower ab sort of above my hip bone towards my belly button. i figured it was pulled muscle no big deal until i tried to do the pushups and it was SO painful. the rest of the dvd was difficult and painful.

      i was wondering how you treated your injury and is it better?

      thank you!!


  32. I believe I might have a torn muscle in my lower groin area. I have had this going on 2 years now and the problem does not seem to heal. Last week I notice tightness like something pulling from under the ribcage bone down toward the stomach area on the right. I have been to several doctors but no one seems to be able to tell me what the problem is. Any idea what kind of doctor I should be going to?

  33. Hi (:
    I am a 14 year old girl and I have just strained my external oblique muscle during dance. I havent been dancing for a month and it kills me not dancing. I love it so much and I want to get back to dance soon. This article has helped me a lot but it is not speeding up the process. Is there anything else i can do to increase the healing process?? pleaseee help mee(:

  34. Hey, I just did something to a muscle in my abdomen doing pull-ups… Gotta wait till the morning to figure out exactly what the severity is, but over the last 3 years I've torn my ACL, gotten right shoulder tendonitis, CPPS, lyme disease, bilateral inguinal hernia repair, my sternum cracks randomly when i sneeze, and I have had numerous tests done to reveal that "nothing" is wrong with me, even though I feel pain all the time. I'm going to physical therapy now for my upper right back. Thank God I have insurance.

    Randomly, one day last year I came home from work (I noticed some of you work desk jobs), walked into my room and felt the most sudden and sharp pain in my upper right back that i've ever felt. It felt like someone was slicing my back open. I didn't expect this pain to last for too long, but it has become the worst thing to ever happen to me other than tearing my ACL. My therapist has suggested it's coming from my neck.

    My advice to everyone in here is to just try and keep their heads up, and work out very lightly until you can feel your strength coming back, otherwise you'll end up like me. Someone who constantly overdoes it and hurts himself.

  35. Hi Dr.

    Thanks for reading this, and if you could help in anyway, I would be grateful.

    I am 40 years old in general good health, I don't drink alcohol or smoke and look after myself most of the time.
    Just over a month ago I started having a dull pain in my left testicle and lower abdomen area during a soccer game. It was only present when I ran. Kicking the ball, stretching was no problem. I thought it was probably a muscular strain.
    I tried playing again a few days later and after about 10 minutes it returned. I immediately stopped playing.

    I did a bit of weight training after 5 days and there were no problems.
    Then 8 days after the soccer game, I started feeling pain again. I was only standing or walking. It would come and go. Then by late evening it was constant. The pain was similar to just after you get hit in the testicles when it radiates to your stomach, but not so unbearable.
    After a few hours the testicular pain left and I felt an ache on the side of the pelvic bone. After waking up the next day, there was no pain unless I moved around certain ways – the pain was around the lower left abdomen/hip area.
    The testicle however had no pain directly. The pain was when I touched around the epididymis area. But then if I continued feeling around the exact area of pain, the pain moved to another part of the epididymis. But it was localized around that area – behind the testicle close to the body.
    I have had varicoceles since I was 21 and they have never caused a problem before (I am aware of).
    I had a hip injury (the hip jolted from falling directly on my knee and the leg extended out like I was going to jump on a horse) from soccer around 19 months ago (had around 4-6 weeks break from that) which sometimes feels a little strained, but nothing that prevents me from doing anything. I never got it looked at.

    So, after the soccer game I took a month off soccer but was able to weight train and cycle without any problems. There was no pain in the area, but I was aware at times of something in the left testicle. I did sometimes feel the pelvic area at the back left hand side there was a dull pain, but it was not set off due to moving. It would come and go.
    I returned to soccer training. I warmed up with stretches, went jogging beforehand and then after about 20 minutes of taking it easy on the soccer field I could feel the lower left ab pain again. This time it felt a little different. Almost like something was slightly twisting something there.
    No testicle pain. The pain occurred when I was running or tried to run.
    The next 2 days there was some slight pain in the ab with certain movements and a dull pain in at the back pelvic area that would come and go.
    What do you think?

    And what field of medicine would this fall under?
    Thanks a lot.


    • Mike,

      I'm no doctor, but i had a similar problem which lasted for around 4 years, until i couldn't take the aching anymore. I went to my local doctors and accident and emergency only to be told i had an infection of some sort. After 12 months on anti-biotics, there was no change, so i went to see a physio, asi thought it may be muscle related.

      The physio immediately said it was a hernia, if you google inguinal hernias, that should give you a bit more information. It is a hernia that pushes through the inguinal cavity, near your nuttsack… Like you say not unbearable but very uncomfortable.
      So i then booked in to see a surgeon, who operated only to find i had 2 hernias!! at an age of 21!!

    • I am a rugby player, so core strength is very important to me, and for the past few years i have had no problems. I have been in the gym regularly, gone jogging, cycling, and played rugby without any major problems. A few aches here and there but what do you expect after a double hernia operation…

      All this until i went to play soccer 2 weeks ago, running wise i was fine, no problems, but kicking the ball really caused it to flare back up again, especially if you are over stretching, or perhaps kick the floor a little. So this maybe the answer to your abdominal pain. The larger these hernias get, the worse the pain gets. For me the pain stetched from my belly button, right down the groin, and inside leg. Not a constant pain but irregular. No more soccer / football for me!!

  36. Hi, I am a 41-year-old woman who is 5'5" and weighs 160lbs. A year ago I pulled the abdominal muscle just about my pubic bone while doing pushups and situps. I have only been walking for excercise now, but it's still not healing. This past week I went to my chiropractor and he did x-rays on me and noted that my hips are not straight and gave me a lift in my right shoe to help correct the alignment. As for the abdominal muscle, he told me that sometimes it takes up to two years to heal and suggested that I ice it once a day. Is there anything else I can be doing to help heal my abdominal muscle?

    • Have your chiropractor check the pubic bone itself for misalignment. There is an adjustment that can be made in that area that is very helpful. Also look up Kiegel exercises. They are typically done for pregnant women, however are excellent in strengthen the muscles of the pubic floor and lower abdominals. As for the lift. I myself do not prescribe those, however they can be effective. As long as the lift is short term then you will be fine. If he is working with you to perform the adjustments and exercises, eventually the problem will resolve and there will be no need for the lift in the future. If your chiropractor is unfamiliar with the pelvic adjustment, he can contact me and I will explain it to him.
      Dr. McNally

      • I had an xray done of my pelvic and lower back area…would that show misalignment?
        The lift is supposed to only be temporary. He is going to re-xray me in 4 weeks to see if it's doing any good. I am getting bi-weekly adjustments in the meantime to help make sure I stay on the right track.
        I am also doing stretching and I walk about 3 miles a day. I ice in the evening while watching tv.
        I will try the kegal exercises and see if they help.
        Is there a chance I actually pulled the muscle from the bone? Should I get an MRI to see what the damage is?
        Also, my chiropractor suggested perhaps wearing a hernia belt…would that be beneficial?

        • Ask if your doctor is familiar with the kinesio tape method. We have used that on several of our abdominal muscle strain cases and get very positive results. The likely hood of actually tearing the muscle away from the bone is not that likely. however there could be a small tear in the area causing chronic inflammation. Continue with your chiropractor for a few weeks. If there has been no changed in pain levels, then go for the MRI. If your chiropractor is expecting there maybe a small tear in the muscle causing a hernia, then it maybe beneficial to wear the belt. If he does not suspect a hernia then I would not see the need for it.

  37. Hi! I have an abdominal injury that I need help identifying (would like to know what muscle it is if possible). I was 7 months pregnant with my first daughter 3 years ago and when I am pregnant my belly goes very far out in front of me so my muscles understandably are being stretched quite a bit. I was helping my sister take her wagon apart that her kids just rode in at the zoo and it all of a sudden felt like someone stabbed me in my lower belly. I know I ripped some sort of muscle. The pain seemed to go from hip to hip but my OB thinks it is weird because she said muscles are vertical. For the next week I could hardly walk. The rest of the pregnancy I had pain and could not put pants on without sitting down (I had pain when I would lift my leg in a standing position). After giving birth I came home from the hospital and got up to walk and I couldn’t take one step. My husband had to carry me everywhere for days. Even now this muscle bugs me, I cannot push something with my foot that is on the floor out of my way. Any thoughts?


  38. Hi doctors, I have a question last night i caught a pass in a football game and steched out the right side of my abs under my ribs by the hip and also took a helmet to that side. It really hurts when i cough or sneeze. It hurts to twist my hips and it hurts to get up and down out of bed. I was just wonding what i Should do?

  39. Hi im a 25 year old male who used to be in elite shape. I have had an abdomnial slash psoas injury i think for about a year and a half from falling down some stairs. ive had my dr press around on it to check for a hernia and do a ct scan to make sure organs were fine and everything checked out ok she said no hernia, so i now assume its a muscle thing……ive been sidelined with a neck injury for the past 6 months so i ordered the ab contour belt so i could still tone and the ems aggravated my psoas and oblique, this has been persisting now for a year and a half and i feel pain in my lower back and side plus in the front but only on the right side….what exactly is my injury and what should i do to get rid of the pain and get back to working out.

  40. hi dr im having right side abdominal pain very low abdominal area thats persisted for about a year and a half from a stair accident…it radiates from the front the side and in my lower back. ive also gone to the dr and shes felt around the area and said i have no hernia and ive also had a ct scan that she said showed no hernia im in a good amount of pain what should i do… could this be a psoas injury or will an mri show exactly whats going on. o let me ad that its just recently gotten worse since i used the ab contour which is an emt stimulation ab belt ive used it twice and stopped

  41. Hi
    I have had this slight pain in my lower left side slightly above my hip for two days now. I hav also noticed that my stomach area is bloated. However I do know it is the week before my monthly cycle. But I have never had this trouble before. I think it could be just a strained muscle but am unsure.

  42. Lois Kidd says:

    I started golfing at the golfing range for the first time in my life and I did great….other than in my way upper part of my stomach i thought i waz having just soreness but now im all most ready to die!!! I feel like it my heart or pulled zomething ….it almost feels like it is burning…please help

    • Lois without seeing you all I can do is make an educated guess as to what’s going on. What is most likely the case is an acute muscle strain. When you switch to a new sport or exercise, especially if you went from a state of inactivity you will put a new stress on muscles. Tennis for example involves quite a bit of core work as you are rotating the torso to hit the ball. When working out the abs or core for the first time in a while you can get a very uncomfortable and sometimes sharp pain in the upper portion of the abs especially along the attachments of the ribs. If you do feel this major burning sensation and feel like there is something of concern I would seek out further medical care. As for the stomach strain like that, the most annoying part is everything is uncomfortable from moving to laughing. The abdominal muscles usually take longer to heal as they are constantly used when breathing. Typically the second day is worse the 3rd can be as well and then the inflammation process begins to decrease and should start to improve over the next week. As for now ice, and if there is no improvement or you feel concerned get to a doctor and see what’s going on.

  43. Lois Kidd says:

    Please someone reply!!!

  44. Lois without seeing you all I can do is make an educated guess as to what’s going on. What is most likely the case is an acute muscle strain. When you switch to a new sport or exercise, especially if you went from a state of inactivity you will put a new stress on muscles. Tennis for example involves quite a bit of core work as you are rotating the torso to hit the ball. When working out the abs or core for the first time in a while you can get a very uncomfortable and sometimes sharp pain in the upper portion of the abs especially along the attachments of the ribs. If you do feel this major burning sensation and feel like there is something of concern I would seek out further medical care. As for the stomach strain like that, the most annoying part is everything is uncomfortable from moving to laughing. The abdominal muscles usually take longer to heal as they are constantly used when breathing. Typically the second day is worse the 3rd can be as well and then the inflammation process begins to decrease and should start to improve over the next week. As for now ice, and if there is no improvement or you feel concerned get to a doctor and see what’s going on.

  45. Lois Kidd says:

    Thank you so much!! That really makes sence…it is actually beginning to feel some what better at times.I thank you so much…..

  46. Hello,
    I injured my lower left at the end of May but it seemed to happen abruptly and I’m not entirely sure how I did it. I woke up the morning after a long jump and weight session with intense pain on my left side near my waistline. I got checked by a dr, they said no hernia and i should be fine in a few days. I took two weeks off and started training again and it got worse. I now haven’t done anything, besides my core strengthening exercises, since mid-June. I had an ultra-sound and no hernia showed up. I have seen 3 dr’s and they all said no hernia but one dr. thinks i have osteitis pubis. My groin hurts occasionally but it is mainly pain in the one spot by my waistline. After working with my physiotherapist on core strength and hip/groin flexibility he thinks I have a sports hernia. I am seeing slight improvements slowly with the strengthening but still not %100 recovered after about 12 weeks. Do you think I need to have more diagnostic testing done, or continue with my strengthening and rest?

  47. Shannon Lawrence says:

    I felt something pull/tear around waist area, and I have been trying to stretch and exercise, but to no avail. Is it possible I completely tore whatever is around waist?

  48. Hello,
    My 12 yr old daughter was running during soccer practice and during a quick turn she felt instant pain and dropped to the floor. The pain was in the upper right side of her abdomen. I took her to the ER the following morning where they took blood and urine test and also did an ultrasound to rule out gall stones or inflamed apendex. The ER doctor and her primary doctor both think its a strained or slightly torn muscle. Should I of requested an MRI to be done to confirm this? Its been exactly 2 weeks today, she still has some pain, but not nearly as bad as before. She tried to practice last night, but she started to feel the pain again so she sat out. How much longer will it take to heal?

    • I am having the exact same problem that started 3 days ago, and I think mine happened when I was doing yoga. I spent several hours in the ER last night, and they came up with nothing. I am having trouble doing literally everything, so it sucks. I hope she ended up getting better quickly.

      • John, I apologize about the late response. How is your daughter and how did everything turn out?
        Many times the abdominal strains and tears are difficult to detect on imaging, my recommendation would to be checked out by someone, who specializes in sports injuries and see if they can give you some answers on how to appropriately treat the area.

  49. hi doc I was working out doing triceps lying down on bench and herd a pop upper abdomen ive had mri cat scans and xrays doctors say its my back I have dick problems im trying to tell them ive had back problems for 20 years now and never had pain in abdominal erea befor I herd the pop then the pain its been three months now and no change please help

    • sorry about the typo I ment back not dick srry

      • Where exactly is the pain? Does it radiate anywhere? Can you describe the symptoms for me?


          • doc one more thing have you ever had a sun burn and put your shirt on the radiating pain that travels every where that’s the pain like nerve damage

          • I personally have never felt that sensation myself but have heard of it. In the case of a severe sunburn you can actually get sun poisoning which can be a very intense sharp tingling pain that goes all over. If that’s the case use a lot of aloe and apply lotion with Vitamin E twice a day for a few weeks, you need to get as much moisture back into the skin as soon as possible. Do not go back out in the sun with no sunscreen for the rest of the summer your skin will be very vulnerable. As for the back and stomach area its very difficult to tell you exactly what’s going on without seeing you so my suggestion would be to see a sports doctor or sports chiropractor that can preform an exam. It could potentially be a sprained rib, you can hear a pop in the area which is essentially the cartilage getting slight tear. This can cause a lot of pain and radiate around as well. Can feel very tight around the body and can cause problems when coughing, sneezing, or even breathing. Hope that helps a little
            Dr. McNally

  50. no its not sunburn the radiating pain its like that touch one spot and it radiates all over its from working out and hearing a pop in my upper abdominal erea its allways painfull but if my shirt rubs on it or I touch it the pain radiates to the ribs

    • Have you seen your doctor yet? This sounds as well like it maybe shingles however you would not hear any popping noise with that. It becomes very painful and radiates in a specific pattern.

  51. I have been having severe, sharp burning pain in my lower left abdomen after doing crunches at the gym. Feels move internal than muscular. … and advice? Pain intensifies with movement.

    • Ice and rest the area. With abdominal injuries it becomes difficult to rest as every time you move they flex. Typically this is an over use injure and some light stretching and ice will help. Best stretch for that area is like the yoga move the Cobra.

  52. Hi Dr McNally. Around 5 weeks ago I believe I strained an abdominal/oblique muscle on the upper right side, near the base of my ribs, while coughing. (I’m a healthy 35-year-old female, but I was recovering from a bad flu that I think caused a bit of wear and tear.) For the first few days the pain was very sharp, and some positions caused pain like an intense ‘stitch’, and I had to take painkillers before bed because moving in my sleep was so painful it would wake me up.

    The injury has improved greatly, but I am concerned it has not healed yet. It still feels generally ‘bruised’ and tender, and it still feels quite uncomfortable to lie on my right side. I went to my local GP last week, who was very dismissive and didn’t even make an attempt to diagnose the problem – he told me to ‘press on it’ when I coughed or moved to minimise the pain, but not to worry about it.

    I guess my concern is that, despite its acute onset and its drastic improvement, it could be a symptom of disease rather than injury, maybe cancer – ovarian or appendix (although it seems too high for that), or liver? Does cancer pain ever come on suddenly and then improve? Do you think I should get a second opinion, or should I just wait another few weeks and see if the healing progresses?

    I appreciate your time.

  53. I started having this sharp stabbing pain right below my right rib cage about a week or two ago. It came on suddenly, but has been persistent ever since it began. Sometimes it spasms out and I can’t breathe. I cant work out or move certain ways or it hurts so badly. It feels like I have an elephant sitting on my ribs. I got x-rays and blood tests (for liver/kidney problems) and so far nothing has shown anything. I definitely dont have kidney stones because when someone punches my back it doesn’t hurt. THe pain does spread to my back when it spasms tho. It also hurts when I press on my stomach in the center or to the right side where the pain is. The pain temporarily goes away when I take advil. It is truly excruciating tho (and I have a very high tolerance for pain). I am a professional athlete. Oh, and I have been bulimic on and off for about 7 years. Please help me. I dont know what the pain is from and I need to get better. What should I do?


  1. […] The Trainer’s Room: Abdominal Muscle Strains – Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention – In fact, two players were recently plagued with similar abdominal muscle strains: Chipper Jones and Dustin Pedroia … of Chiropractic degree at the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, TX. A very active athlete, Dr. McNally played hockey up into … […]

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