Abdominal Rigidity General Signs and Symptoms

  • Abdominal Rigidity [Abdominal Muscle Spasm, Involuntary Guarding]

Distinguishing voluntary from involuntary abdominal rigidity is a must for accurate assessment. Review this comparison so that you can quickly tell the two apart.

VOLUNTARY RIGIDITY

• Usually symmetrical
• More rigid on inspiration (expiration causes muscle relaxation)
• Eased by relaxation techniques, such as positioning the patient comfortably and talking to him in a calm, soothing manner
• Painless when the patient sits up using his abdominal muscles alone

INVOLUNTARY RIGIDITY

  • • Usually asymmetrical
    • Equally rigid on inspiration and expiration
    • Unaffected by relaxation techniques
    • Painful when the patient sits up using his abdominal muscles alone
  • Detected by palpation, abdominal rigidity refers to abnormal muscle tension or inflexibility of the abdomen. Rigidity may be voluntary or involuntary.
  • Involuntary rigidity most commonly results from GI disorders,
  • involuntary rigidity reflects potentially life-threatening peritoneal irritation or inflammation

Abdominal Rigidity History and Physical Examination

  • Find out when the abdominal rigidity began. Is it associated with abdominal pain? If so, did the pain begin at the same time?
  • Determine whether the abdominal rigidity is localized or generalized. Is it always present? Has its site changed or remained constant?
  • any types of aggravating or alleviating factors, such as position changes, coughing, vomiting, elimination, and walking.
  • Inspect the abdomen for peristaltic waves, which may be visible in very thin patients
  • Finally, check for poor skin turgor and dry mucous membranes, which indicate dehydration.

Abdominal Rigidity Medical Cause(s)

  •  Abdominal aortic aneurysm (dissecting). Mild to moderate abdominal rigidity occurs with abdominal aortic aneurysm, a life-threatening disorder
  • Peritonitis. Depending on the cause of peritonitis, abdominal rigidity may be localized or generalized.
  • Mesenteric artery ischemia. A life-threatening disorder, mesenteric artery ischemia is characterized by 2 to 3 days of persistent, low-grade abdominal pain and diarrhea leading to sudden, severe abdominal pain and rigidity
  • Insect toxins. Insect stings and bites, especially black widow spider bites, release toxins that can produce generalized, cramping abdominal pain, usually accompanied by rigidity

We would like to keep you updated with special notifications.