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Alternative namesAbdominal rigidity involves abnormal muscle tension or inflexibility of the abdomen, detected when touched or pressed.
When there is a sore area in the abdomen, the pain becomes more intense as the hand presses against it and overcomes the muscular resistance.
A patient's fear or nervousness about being touched (palpated) in the abdominal area is referred to as voluntary rigidity. It usually occurs on both sides of the abdomen. Involuntary rigidity, usually caused by a physical condition, may affect one or both sides and may be associated with pain.
Nausea , vomiting , abdominal tenderness , swelling , and pain often accompany abdominal rigidity.
Home CareInvoluntary abdominal rigidity should always be evaluated by your health care provider.
Call your health care provider if
All forms of involuntary rigidity and rebound tenderness (pain when the abdomen is gently pressed and then the pressure is suddenly released) require immediate medical attention, preferrably in an emergency room. Surgery may be necessary.
You will probably be seen in an emergency room rather than with your usual health care provider.
The healthe care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination . Until a diagnosis is made, pain relievers will probably not be administered because they may mask the symptoms.
Medical history questions documenting abdominal rigidity in detail may include:
The physical examination may include a pelvic (and possibly a rectal) examination.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include the following:
Update Date: 11/24/2002Hebe Molmenti, M.D., Ph.D., Private Practice specializing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT