You are currently viewing Abdominal Pain Mnemonics [Never Forget]

If you want to learn about Abdominal Pain then a particular way to remember about this topic is to form short mnemonics that are easy to remember and can pay you rich dividends in medical & nursing exams.

Here we have broken abdominal pain into several subtopics and converted all the vital info into eye catching mnemonics. Hope you like these memory aids 

Role of Inflammation of the Parietal Peritoneum In Abdominal Pain :

  • S – Steady and aching pain
  • P – Pain intensity dependent on type and amount of material exposed to peritoneal surfaces
  • A – Accentuated by pressure or changes in tension of the peritoneum
  • M – Muscle spasm of the abdominal musculature
  • P – Pain location possible due to transmission by somatic nerves supplying parietal peritoneum
  • A – Attenuated pain and muscle spasm in slowly developing processes or perforation into protected areas
  • I – Importance of the rate at which any inflammatory material irritates the peritoneum
  • N – No detectable pain or muscle spasm in certain patients or catastrophic emergencies.

Mnemonic: SPAM PAIN


Role of Obstruction of Hollow Viscera In Abdominal Pain :

  • I – Intraluminal obstruction classically elicits intermittent or colicky abdominal pain that is not as well localized as the pain of parietal peritoneal irritation.

  • C – Cramping discomfort can be misleading because distention of a hollow viscus may also produce steady pain with only rare paroxysms.

  • E – Epigastric pain that may radiate to the upper lumbar region is often caused by distention of the common bile duct.

  • S – Small-bowel obstruction often presents as poorly localized, intermittent periumbilical or supraumbilical pain.

  • P – Pain of distention of the pancreatic ducts is similar to that described for distention of the common bile duct but is very frequently accentuated by recumbency and relieved by the upright position.


  • A – Acute obstruction of the intravesicular portion of the ureter is characterized by severe suprapubic and flank pain that radiates to the penis, scrotum, or inner aspect of the upper thigh.

  • D – Dull, low-intensity pain in the suprapubic region is usually caused by obstruction of the urinary bladder.

  • E – Gradual dilatation of the biliary tree, as can occur with carcinoma of the head of the pancreas, may cause no pain or only a mild aching sensation in the epigastrium or right upper quadrant.

Mnemonic: ICE SPADE


Vascular Disturbances In Abdominal Pain :

  • P – Pain due to intraabdominal vascular disturbances is often misunderstood
  • A – Associated with diffuse, severe pain in certain disease processes
  • I – In occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery, the patient may only experience mild continuous or cramping diffuse pain for a few days
  • N – No tenderness or rigidity in the presence of continuous, diffuse pain is characteristic of occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery
  • C – Continuous diffuse pain is caused by hyperperistalsis rather than peritoneal inflammation
  • A – Abdominal pain with radiation to the sacral region, flank, or genitalia may signal a rupturing abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • R – Rupturing abdominal aortic aneurysm pain may persist for several days before rupture and collapse occur
  • E – Early recognition and prompt treatment can prevent catastrophic outcomes.


Mnemonic: PAIN CARE


Role Of Abdominal Wall In Abdominal Pain :

  • C: Constant and aching pain from the abdominal wall
  • A: Accentuation of pain with movement, prolonged standing, and pressure
  • M: Mass present in the lower quadrants in rare cases of hematoma of the rectus sheath
  • P: Pain in the same region differentiated from myositis of the abdominal wall by simultaneous involvement of muscles in other parts of the body
  • S: Spasm associated with discomfort in the abdominal wall

Mnemonic: CAMPS


Referred Pain In Abdominal Disease :

  • P – Pain referred to the abdomen from the thorax, spine, or genitalia may present a diagnostic challenge
  • A – Abdominal cavity diseases may be associated with intrathoracic complications
  • D – Diaphragmatic pleuritis resulting from pneumonia or pulmonary infarction may cause pain in the right upper quadrant
  • R – Referred pain of thoracic origin is often accompanied by splinting of the involved hemithorax
  • E – Examination directed toward detecting myocardial or pulmonary infarction, pneumonia, pericarditis, or esophageal disease can provide clues to the proper diagnosis
  • T – Thoracic disease and abdominal disease frequently coexist and may be difficult to differentiate
  • A – Abdominal discomfort experienced from pain referred from the testes or seminal vesicles is of dull, aching character and is poorly localized
  • P – Palpation over the area of referred pain in the abdomen does not usually accentuate the pain
  • E – Examination must be deliberate and planned over a period of several hours



Mnemonic: PADRE TAPE


Pain of metabolic origin in Abdominal Pain :

  • P – Pain of metabolic origin may simulate other intraabdominal disease.
  • O – Obscurity of the cause of abdominal pain always considers metabolic origin.
  • S – Severe hyperperistalsis in porphyria and lead colic can mimic intestinal obstruction.
  • S – Shifting pain and tenderness in uremia or diabetes are nonspecific.
  • U – Uremia and diabetes can cause abdominal pain.
  • M – Metabolic disease itself may accompany intraabdominal process leading to unnecessary laparotomy.
  • P – Pain and tenderness in uremia or diabetes can shift in location and intensity.
  • A – Acidosis in diabetic patients can be precipitated by acute appendicitis or intestinal obstruction.
  • I – Intraabdominal disease infrequently involves back and abdominal muscles in black widow spider bites.
  • N – Nonspecific pain and tenderness in uremia or diabetes.
  • S – Severe abdominal pain is associated with C1 esterase deficiency and angioneurotic edema.



Role Of Immunocompression In Abdominal Pain :

  • E – Evaluating and diagnosing causes of abdominal pain in immunosuppressed or otherwise immunocompromised patients is very difficult.
  • M – Masked physiologic responses may occur in these circumstances.
  • B – Broad range of etiologic agents may cause abdominal pain, including cytomegalovirus, mycobacteria, protozoa, and fungi.
  • A – All gastrointestinal organs may be affected, including the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
  • R – Remember to consider splenic abscesses due to Candida or Salmonella infection, especially in left upper quadrant or left flank pain.
  • R – Risk of acalculous cholecystitis is increased in immunocompromised patients or those with AIDS, often associated with cryptosporidiosis or cytomegalovirus infection.
  • A – Neutropenic enterocolitis (typhlitis) may be a cause of abdominal pain and fever in some patients with bone marrow suppression due to chemotherapy.
  • S – Acute graft-versus-host disease should be considered in this circumstance.
  • S – Serial examinations are required for these patients to assess the need for more surgical intervention, for example, to address perforation.





Neurogenic Causes Of Abdominal Pain :

  • D: Diseases affecting sensory nerves can cause causalgic pain.
  • I: Irregularly spaced cutaneous “pain spots” may indicate old nerve injuries.
  • S: Stimuli that are normally not painful can cause causalgic pain.
  • E: Even gentle palpation can precipitate pain, but abdominal rigidity and changes in respiration are usually absent.
  • A: Abdominal distention is uncommon, and the pain has no relationship to food intake.
  • S: Spinal nerve pain is lancinating and may be caused by various conditions.
  • E: Episodes of abdominal pain in functional causes vary in type and location.
  • S: Severe muscle spasms may be present in spinal nerve pain but are not accentuated by abdominal palpation.

Mnemonic: DISEASES


Approach To A Patient With Abdominal Pain :

  • U – Urgent operative intervention is required for few abdominal conditions
  • R – Rush to the operating room immediately only for exsanguinating intra-abdominal hemorrhage
  • G – Get adequate venous access and start the operation right away
  • E – Examining patients with acute abdominal pain helps establish diagnosis, while chronic pain patients may be harder to diagnose
  • N – Narcotics or analgesics should not be withheld until a definitive diagnosis or plan is formulated
  • T – Take an accurate menstrual history in female patients
  • A – Attention should be paid to extra-abdominal regions
  • B – Be gentle and thorough during the examination, especially for patients with peritoneal inflammation
  • D – Do not elicit rebound tenderness by brusquely palpating the abdomen
  • O – Obtain information precisely and locally by gentle percussion of the abdomen
  • M – Missed gallbladder palpation may result from overly aggressive palpation
  • E – Examination time should be sufficient, and careful pelvic and rectal examinations are mandatory



Dr. Arin Nandi

Passionate About Medical Science & Helping Future Doctors Achieve Top Ranks In Medical Exams. He is professionally a dentist as well as a public health expert from JIPMER (1), (2)working in health department