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Rectus Abdominis Trigger Points 


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system whose full cause is unknown

IBS is the most common gut problem worldwide, with an estimated 20% of the population of the US experiencing symptoms,13% in Canada, 12% in the UK, and 6.9% in Australia.

Full and reliable statistics are not available for the whole world and diagnosis varies from place to place. 

IBS can affect anyone at any age, but it commonly first develops in young adults and teenagers and is twice as common in women as in men.



IBS Trigger Points

Rectus abdominis trigger points may cause chest pain, heartburn, belching, and diarrhea.




Inspection of the gut through scanning, surgery, or under the microscope shows no abnormalities, but the condition typically gives rise to stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

The pain experienced in the stomach can be mild to severe and will often vary from time to time with each individual.

The area of the stomach where the pain is felt will also move around, and IBS usually happens in bouts that can last for very varied lengths of time—this changes from individual to individual and for each individual between different bouts.

The pain usually eases with passing stools and someone with IBS will usually experience a lot of gastric gas. In IBS the gut appears to be overactive in specific areas.

Whilst it is not yet fully understood why this overactivity of the nerves or muscles of the gut occurs, it is believed that stress, anxiety, and emotional upset appear to play a major role.


About half of people with IBS can relate the start of symptoms to a stressful event in their life and symptoms tend to become worse during times of stress or anxiety.

Food intolerances may play a part, and some cases of IBS follow gastroenteritis or traveller’s diarrhea, while other cases appear to be linked to antibiotic use.

Some medications are used to treat IBS but increasing your intake of soluble fiber can help.

Eating regular meals, increasing the intake of probiotics, and trying to decrease sources of stress and anxiety are all things that the person with IBS can do that help ease their symptoms.

Massage can also be a positive aspect to treatment, including self- massage of the abdomen.

IBS and Trigger Points

Abdominal trigger points can influence the function of your gut, and gut dysfunction can perpetuate the trigger points.

The abdominal area is separated into four parts (quadrants). Abdominal trigger points will typically refer pain in the same quadrant where they live but may transmit symptoms into other parts of the abdomen, as well as to the back.

Doctors Travell and Simons noted that abdominal trigger points can cause more than just pain and muscle dysfunction.

In fact they can also be associated with vomiting, anorexia and nausea, as well as common IBS symptoms.

Abdominal trigger points may be perpetuated by such events as emotional stress, occupational strain, paradoxical respiration, and performing fitness exercises such as sit-ups with poor technique, or simply overworking the muscles.

It's also worth noting that a more recent study (2010, Fall et al) indicated that core muscles may become hyperalgesic with multiple trigger points when IBS is chronic.

Contraindications - Massage and Trigger Point Therapy

Do not treatment anyone who is pregnant.

Do not perform treatment if the IBS has not been medically diagnosed so that other, more complex, conditions have been ruled out.

• Do not treatment someone who has Crohn’s disease or a leaky gut.

• Do not treat anyone who has had recent abdominal or gynecological surgery.

• If clients have blood in their stools, do not treat and refer to their medical practitioner.



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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 





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