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Abdominal & leg pain

Updated July 19, 2017

Abdominal pain occurs in the abdominal area (also called the stomach or belly). If you have abdominal pain, most likely it is not a serious problem. If it persists, seek medical attention.

Leg pain is common, especially following an injury. However, there are several non-traumatic causes of leg pain as well. According to E Medicine Health, "pain in the legs can be present because of conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves and skin."

Definitions

According to Medicine Net, abdominal pain is defined as "a pain that is felt in the abdomen." The pain typically originates from the organs within the abdominal cavity.

Leg pain is defined as a pain felt in the legs.

Other symptoms

The abdominal pain can be associated with other symptoms, such as fever, inability to keep food down, vomiting blood, bloody stools, difficulty breathing, painful urination, tenderness and inability to pass stool.

Leg pain can be associated with other symptoms as well, such as fever and difficulty walking.

Causes

According to Medicine Net, abdominal pain is caused by "inflammation, by stretching or distension of an organ or by loss of the supply of blood to an organ."

Other causes of abdominal pain include appendicitis, bowel blockage, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), chronic constipation, diverticulitis, food allergy, heartburn, food poisoning, kidney stones, menstrual cramps, pelvic inflammatory disease, Chrohn's Disease, ulcers and urinary tract infections.

Causes of leg pain include trauma (fractures, sprains or bleeding), non-traumatic leg pain (peripheral artery disease, blood clot, low back pain, neuropathy, joint pain, illness, muscle pain (like a charley horse), muscle injury, hamstring injury, skin abnormalities and diabetes.

Characteristics of pain

In addition to a complete physical exam, the following will help the doctor in determining the cause of the pain and provide proper treatment: the way the pain begins, the location of the pain, the pattern of the pain, the duration of the pain, what makes the pain worse and what relieves the pain.

Exam and tests

In order to properly diagnose the abdominal pain, the doctor may perform different tests, including lab tests (a complete blood count, liver enzymes, urinalysis, etc.), plain X-rays of the abdomen, radiographic studies (MRI, CAT scan and abdominal ultrasound) and endoscopic procedures (like a colonoscopy).

In order to properly diagnose the leg pain, doctors may perform the following tests: X-rays, ultrasound, arterial-brachial index (an evaluation of blood flow via exercise and at rest), CAT scan, MRI, nerve conduction studies and joint aspiration.

Treatment

How the pain is treated depends on the diagnosis. For example, if you have abdominal pain and the diagnosis is appendicitis, then the doctor may treat with medication or surgery. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment will centre on controlling the pain and preventing any future problems.

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About the Author

Jennifer Sobek has been a writer since 1993, working on collegiate and professional newspapers. Her writing has appeared in the "Copperas Cove Leader Press," "Fort Lewis Ranger," "Suburban Trends" and "The Shopper News," among others. Sobek has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Rowan University.