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What Are the Most Common Causes of Stomach Muscle Pain?

Stomach muscle pain is often caused by an abdominal strain.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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Abdominal strains are the most common cause of stomach muscle pain, though other injuries or conditions can cause pain in the stomach region. Overuse commonly causes pain in the stomach muscles as well, and people who do not use the muscles frequently may feel pain when those muscles are suddenly used more than normal. Muscle fatigue is common, especially in athletes who may use those muscles to the point of exhaustion. Strain from coughing or sneezing frequently can lead to pain in the abdomen. Sometimes stomach muscle pain is not muscle pain at all, but a pain in the abdominal region that feels similar to muscle pain.

Muscle strains occur when the small fibers that make up the muscle tissue begin to tear. This tearing can cause pain in the affected muscle, and when tearing occurs in the abdomen, stomach muscle pain will result. Such injuries often heal on their own if treated properly; the RICE treatment should be used to treat these injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. These steps allow the muscle fibers to repair themselves naturally while helping prevent swelling, bruising, or bleeding. A muscle strain may or may not prevent the injured person from moving normally; minor strains may not affect the person much, but a more severe injury can lead to significant pain or tenderness.

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A muscle rupture in the abdomen can lead to stomach muscle pain as well, and this injury will require a doctor visit immediately. A rupture occurs when a muscle tears completely, and it breaks away from itself or the tendon that attaches it to bone. Ruptures can be quite painful, and they are often accompanied by swelling, bruising, and a raised bump where the muscle has bunched up. Surgery may be required to fix this problem, so one should seek a doctor's help immediately upon injury.

Sometimes muscle fatigue due to overuse can lead to soreness, tenderness, or stiffness. This condition usually goes away after sufficient rest or light stretching. When muscles tire, they tend to tighten up, causing stiffness or tenderness in the affected areas. When stomach muscle pain occurs, the muscles may simply be tight, or they may have excess build-up of lactic acid, which is a by-product of burned glycogen. The body uses glycogen as its primary energy source during physical activity, and as it burns, lactic acid builds up in muscles, causing an aching or burning sensation in the affected muscles.

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Discuss this Article

John57
Post 4

Has anyone else ever laughed so hard that your stomach muscles hurt? I have a group of girlfriends I get together with every few months, and this usually happens when we are together.

I look at this as a good kind of stomach muscle pain. When I am holding my side because I am laughing so hard and tears are streaming down my cheeks, that is a good thing in my book.

I am also familiar with other stomach muscle pain that is from physical ailments. The pain I get from laughing so hard is the kind that I think everyone should experience from time to time.

SarahSon
Post 3

I have had more than one cold that lingered for several weeks. My stomach muscles would be so sore from coughing and sneezing that you would have thought I had been really working them.

In a sense I guess they were getting a workout, but not in the way they should have been. Once the cold went away, the muscle soreness went away as well.

sunshined
Post 2

@myharley-- That happens to me quite often because I am not that consistent when it comes to exercising. I get on a kick where I am really motivated to get in shape, and start out doint too much too soon.

My poor muscles are really sore for several days after that. Even if I only do 5-10 minutes of abdominal exercises, I can really feel it in my stomach for the next several days.

If I was more consistent at keeping my muscles toned and conditioned I wouldn't have so much soreness, but it seems like I never learn my lesson, as I do the same thing the next time around.

myharley
Post 1

Whenever I start doing a new exercise routine that focuses on the abdominal muscles, I always have some abdominal muscle pain for a few days following the workout.

I don't mind some mild muscle pain like this because I know it means that I am strengthening those muscles. Since I know the reason for the pain, I know it will go away in a few days, and if I do that particular routine again, my abdominal muscles won't be nearly as sore the next time.

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