“Deep” Pain in the Belly

Transcript of video:

Hey everybody!

I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion lately and hearing a lot of discussion about working “deep” in the belly, especially for pain and dysfunction and things like that. One of the things that I think often gets misunderstood about helping your belly come back into better health (even as a practitioner – I taught this great practitioner workshop this weekend and the same thing comes up among practitioners) is how can I make change if I’m not working deep in the belly, and then how do I do that safely? 

I think both clients and practitioners often have the same questions around this issue of how deep to work in the belly. I always come back to the fact that the superficial layers of the belly get so discounted as far as how much deeper pain and sensation and dysfunction these superficial layers can cause. They really can be quite problematic and so often they just get skipped over. 

I just want to say briefly that if you have used any of my programs at AbdominalAdhesionTreatment.com, then you kind of know this already, but it never hurts to hear it one more time. There are layers to the belly (there really are!), especially the superficial layers. It starts with the skin of the belly, and then below that is the fascia with the adipose or fatty tissue, and then below that starts the muscular layers. The muscles of the belly are also in layers: the rectus abdominus, and the there’s two kinds of obliques – one on each side. They’re all layered on top of each other, so you have a superficial skin layer, and then the fascia below that, and then you start into the muscle layers which also have sheets of fascia between them. 

Already just getting that far into the belly (which is not that far) you’re working through so much tissue. You’re working through so many potential issues, and oftentimes these superficial layers of the belly can really send sensation or pain to what feels like deeper parts of the belly, or even other parts of the body all together – that’s really common. I want to encourage you as you are doing whatever kind of belly work that you’re doing in order to support yourself, whether it’s with your incision scars or whether your problems came more from repetitive stress or blunt force trauma or other kinds of injuries, to really take into account these beautiful superficial layers of the body.

Of course there are certainly problems that exist in the tissues of the deeper layers of the body – once you get into the peritoneal sac (that sac of fascia that holds most of the organs), and then the organs themselves, and how they’re interacting with each other. There can definitely be scar tissue and other dysfunction and other things deep in there causing pain, but so often I see in our eagerness to get to those deeper layers and really resolve that deeper pain, we kind of push past the superficial layers in order to get to the deeper stuff. Then when we release out of those deeper layers we forget again to pay attention to what’s happening in those superficial layers. Really just take the time to get a sense of what’s going on in those topmost layers of your belly. My bet is that you will be totally surprised by what you find.

Happy belly work!

Author Profile

Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.

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