Can abdominal pain be caused by extra abdominal disorders?
Pain felt in the abdomen can be generated by distant structures. Just as abdominal pathology can cause pain to be referred elsewhere in the body, irritation of distant structures can cause pain to be referred to the abdomen. For example, pathology of the thoracic vertebra can be referred to the abdomen, giving the mistaken impression that an intraabdominal problem exists. If the causal lesion is midline, then pain can be referred to both sides of the abdomen. Similarly, irritation of thoracic nerves can cause radiation of neuropathic pain to the abdomen. For example, intercostal neuralgia will produce pain in a dermatomal distribution of the involved nerve. If a lower intercostal nerve is involved, the pain will be felt in the abdomen. Because allodynia is one of the features of neuropathic pain, care must be taken to ensure that intense pain on palpation of the abdomen is not in fact allodynia.