What Causes Abdominal Pain and Cramping?
Abdominal pain can vary greatly depending on its cause – from mild to severe, from dull to sharp, from localized to generalized, from occasional to constant…
Sometimes the pain is related to one of the organs within or near the abdominal cavity, like the appendix, bladder, kidneys or ovaries (appendicitis, cystitis, kidney stones, cysts, etc.). More often, the pain arises from the gastrointestinal or digestive system – food allergies, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, ulcers, a stomach virus, trapped gas or stool, etc.
Abdominal pain that is not caused by food allergy or illness can also result from:
- Intestinal or uterine cramping
- Restriction from adhesions, or old scar tissue
- Intestinal obstruction or blockage due to narrowing or inflammation
- Irritable bowel syndrome or constipation
- Gas and bloating
Natural Remedy For Abdominal Pain and Cramping
I’m going to take you through my top 5 effective remedies for abdominal pain. But first, let’s talk about probiotics. A cornerstone treatment for long-term healing of abdominal pain or cramping is to have a healthy, protective balance of microbes in your gut. This means you need lots of good, protective bacteria (probiotics) and minimal yeast (Candida albicans), fungus and bad bacteria.
Therefore, supplementing with a really potent, therapeutic-grade probiotic is crucial to being able to colonize your digestive tract wtih good bacteria. It’s not as simple as going to a health store and grabbing any bottle of probiotics off the shelf. That’s why I’ve got a gift for you: my What You Need To Know About Probiotics eBook – just sign up in the green box, and we’ll send it to you, free of charge.
If you want to get started right away, and you are not having more than 3 bowel movements per day, you can begin healing your gut by taking 1 Healthy Trinity probiotic capsule per day. Since it will take some time to shift your gut microbiota to a beneficial balance of microorganisms, here are some remedies to provide quick relief from abdominal pain and cramping.
Hot Castor Oil Pack
A hot castor oil pack is very effective at relaxing cramping or spasming muscles anywhere on the body. The oil is also absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing and nourishing treatment, which stimulates immune function and tones internal organs.
Magnesium taken orally or transdermally (in a hot bath) or herbal muscle relaxants are other effective remedies I have used.
A castor oil pack has many applications, and has also been used to treat non-malignant uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, headaches, liver disorders, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, poor elimination, night time urinary frequency, inflamed joints, and general detoxification.
I have used a hot castor oil pack repeatedly on myself and many of my family members for many reasons (usually pain, cramping or spasming) and it has never failed to provide significant, and usually total, relief.
- Expeller-pressed castor oil
- White cotton flannel twice the size of your abdomen (so you can fold it in half and cover your abdomen)
- Hot water bottle or heating pad
- Thin dish towel (or baby’s burp cloth, or old diaper cloth, etc)
- Sheet of plastic (a garbage bag will work)
- Old bath towel
- Old t-shirt and sweat pants
Cut a piece of plastic that will cover the flannel with at least 1 to 2 inches extra around the border of the flannel. Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of castor oil onto the flannel, then fold it in half to saturate. The pack should not be dripping with oil – it should have just enough oil to make a slight oil mark on furniture, as if you were going to polish it.
NOTE: The first couple of weeks you use the pack you will have to apply a tablespoon or so of oil about every 3 to 4 days. Eventually the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every couple of weeks.
Lay out an old towel on the surface you will be lying on. Castor oil stains, and you want to avoid getting it on sheets, carpet, or clothing. Lie on your back and place the saturated flannel on your abdomen. Cover the flannel with plastic. Then place the thin dish towel or old cloth over the plastic. Place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the thin towel and plastic, and wrap the bath towel around you to hold it all snug.
Relax for 30 to 60 minutes. This is an excellent time to practice visualization, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, listen to classical music or sleep – or to watch a good movie!
When finished, you can remove the oil with warm water and soap in the shower. I prefer to just wipe my abdomen with an old towel and leave the oil on my skin to be completely absorbed while I sleep (I apply the pack at night, before bed – but I sleep on a towel or old sheets, as even the oil residue can stain).
Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag. You can reuse it many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months). Do not wash the flannel – just throw it out.
Hot Magnesium Bath
Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxant. It plays an important role in the production and transfer of energy, in muscle contraction and relaxation and in nerve conduction. However, if you take magnesium orally, it will irritate your colon and act as a laxative. This is not a good idea if you are prone to loose bowel movements or diarrhea.
The solution is to use either transdermal magnesium (absorbed through the skin), or nanoparticle (angstrom-sized) magnesium that is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth, and so does not require digestion.
Let’s look at transdermal methods of applying and absorbing magnesium first. Fill your bathtub with hot water and then add 2 oz of magnesium oil (which is supersaturated magnesium chloride condensed from seawater). Since the magnesium is going in through your skin, it is not passing through your digestive system, nor triggering a bowel movement.
Now, since magnesium oil is not cheap, here’s what I do to get the same effect, but cut the price considerably. I add only one ounce of transdermal magnesium along with 1 cup of Epsom salts (which is much cheaper – especially if you buy it at Costco) to my bathwater. I find the two work well together, and I get a nice infusion of magnesium for a much cheaper price than using only magnesium oil.
If you’re on a really tight budget, you can substitute 1 tbsp. of magnesium oxide instead of the magnesium oil. So you would use 1 tbsp. of magnesium oxide and 1 cup of Epsom salts together in your bath. Magnesium oxide doesn’t work as well as magnesium, but if money’s really tight, it will still provide relief.
If you also want to make your bath smell nice (which can help you relax), add any essential oil that you like directly to your tub, or to your Epsom salts and stir well. Add about 5 to 10 drops to each cup of Epsom salts, or add the oil directly your bath. To relax, add essential oils of lavender, rose, bergamot or jasmine. To invigorate (or if you have a cold), add essential oils of rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint or spruce.
Nanoparticle or Angstrom Magnesium
If you take regular magnesium (in tablet, capsule or liquid form) it will irritate your colon and stimulate a bowel movement. However, you can take magnesium orally as long as it is in nanoparticle or angstrom-sized form. This means the mineral is so tiny it is absorbed instantly (even through the lining of your mouth) and thus does not need to pass through the digestive system. Nano-sized minerals are often used with autistic kids – who frequently refuse to swallow anything.
Since the nano-sized magnesium does not pass through, nor irritate your digestive tract, you can take very high doses and suffer no laxative effects. For both my kids (who play a lot of sports) and myself, if we get a muscle cramp, we take 1 tbsp. of the nano-size magnesium and the cramp disappears in 1 to 3 minutes and does not return.
HOWEVER, if you’re getting abdominal pain and cramping because of trapped gas (gas pains) then you may benefit from using magnesium citrate to stimulate your peristalsis and cause a bowel movment. Drink one serving of Natural Calm before bed and then perform this colonic massage either in bed or on the toilet:
Herbal Muscle Relaxants
The two best herbal muscle relaxants and anti-spasmodics I’ve found are cramp bark and black haw. Black haw is the stronger of the two herbs, but they both work well, so use whichever one is easiest to obtain. These herbs will relax cramping in all smooth muscles – the rectum, uterus, intestines, lungs, etc. They even relax blood vessels and so are used for hypertension and also for asthma.
The easiest (and most potent) way to take these herbs is in tincture (liquid) form, dropped into a mug of herbal tea or a shot glass of hot water – 40 drops, three times per day on an empty stomach (20 minutes before food, or 2 hours after food) during an acute attack of spasming or cramping.
NOTE: If your abdominal pain is caused by intestinal obstruction or stricture, then a very effective treatment to use for softening and dissolving adhesions and clearing intestinal obstructions to relieve pain is my Intestinal StrictureHeal remedy. However, a quick treatment that you put together right away with ingredients you can get at your local store, is a hot castor oil pack (instructions above).