What is abdominal protection?

Abdominal protection is a defense mechanism of the body that consists of tensing the muscles that are in the abdominal area. This tightening action is a means of protecting the internal organs from any perceived threat of harm. The protection process can occur as part of the body's fight-or-flight preparation when danger is deemed imminent, as well as when internal organs are inflamed in some way and must be protected from external pressure.

The abdominal protective wall muscles are designed to respond quickly when there is a sense of danger in the midsection of the body. For example, this reflex action would be triggered automatically if the individual believed that he was about to receive a blow to the midsection. The idea behind this type of abdominal protection action is to allow the muscles to absorb the impact of the blow, leaving the vulnerable organs within the abdominal cavity relatively unaffected.

While abdominal bracing is often carried out as a means of protecting internal organs from injury, this mechanism also serves to protect those same organs in the event that there is any type of infection or disease present in those organs. For example, the abdominal muscles would tighten in case the appendix is ​​inflamed and swollen, in an effort to prevent any external movement or force from accelerating the rupture of that organ. At the same time, the protection also helps to minimize the chances of further pain developing, due to external pressures.

Physicians are well aware of the phenomenon of abdominal protection. When examining a patient experiencing midsection pain, he or she will notice tightness and sometimes spasmodic activity of the abdominal muscles. Depending on the severity of the strain, medications may need to be given to help the muscles relax before further examination of the patient is possible. However, some patients find that the reality of being examined by a caregiver helps the mind to relax and, in turn, also has a calming influence on abdominal muscle activity.

It is important to note that all human beings experience abdominal protection. While it may be more apparent in someone with well-developed abdominal muscles, the action takes place even among people carrying extra weight in the middle. Trained clinicians can easily identify abdominal pain that protects any body type, assess the degree of tension, and take appropriate steps to relax the muscles as the exam progresses.

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