Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Rectus Syndrome: Another Cause of Upper Abdominal Pain
  1. Young K. Choi, M.D. and
  2. Stanley Chou, M.D.
  1. New Jersey Pain Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  1. Reprint requests: Young K. Choi, M.D., New Jersey Pain Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Clinical Academic Building, 125 Paterson Street, Suite 6100, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1977.


Background and Objectives. Rectus syndrome is somatic pain originating from the rectus abdominis musculature of the abdomen. However, pain with its associated somatovisceral symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and anorexia, is called pseudovisceral pain syndrome. It commonly mimics abdominal visceral pain and misleads medical practitioners into establishing a wrong diagnosis and giving inadequate pain management. Owing to its primary somatic origin, a regional rectus nerve block is an efficacious modality for use in differentiating the diagnosis and providing longlasting optimal pain relief.

Methods. Two cases, a 48-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman, were referred for the management of chronic upper abdominal pain consistent with chronic pancreatitis. They underwent rectus block, first to differentiate the diagnosis and then to relieve intractable pain problems with multidisciplinary pain management.

Results. Rectus block was performed successfully, and a diagnosis of rectus syndrome was established. These two patients responded to the rectus block immediately and received long-lasting pain relief after repeated rectus blocks in conjunction with pharmacologic and psychological treatment and physiotherapy.

Conclusion. Rectus syndrome could be another potential cause of chronic intractable upper abdominal pain problem; rectus block provides a simple diagnostic and therapeutic technique to differentiate the diagnosis and treat it adequately.

  • rectus syndrome
  • rectus block
  • upper abdominal pain

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.