Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Reducing Abdominal Pain And Constipation With Abdominal Mobilizations

August 3, 2020


Abdominal mobilization is a great technique to reduce abdominal pain, bloating, and improve gut motility. When we are constipated, the movement of the waste within the colon (also known as peristalsis) slows down and this can exacerbate the problem. Using a moderate amount of pressure and moving in a clockwise direction along your abdominal wall can promote colon motility and get things moving again. 

  1. Start by laying down on your back in a comfortable position. Start with your hand on your lower right abdomen between your hip bone and belly button. 

  2. Use a moderate amount of pressure and move in small circles up the right side of your abdomen. You can repeat the massage from lower to upper right abdomen a few times.

  3. When you reach your right rib cage move across the top of your abdomen, using gentle pressure in the same circular, sweeping motion. 

  4. Once you reach your left rib cage, move with moderate pressure down your left abdominal wall. You can also use longer sweeping strokes, up the right side, across and down the left side of your abdomen.

  5. You should be listening for bowel sounds (gurgles). If you hear them that is a good sign you are helping gas and stool move through the colon. 

  6. Repeat the movement in the same clockwise direction around your abdomen for 5-10 minutes. You can spend a little more time around areas that feel particularly sore or tight. 

  7. Focusing on slow, deep, belly breathing can also help move things along. 

  8. Helping your gut move can promote the urge for a bowel movement. After 5-10 minutes of abdominal massage go sit on the toilet and try to have a bowel movement if you’re constipated.