It is very difficult to differentiate which part of an infant’s body is in pain, although babies have a tendency to pull or touch areas that hurt. Once children can communicate, life is a lot simpler. Abdominal pain is very often the culprit. In a non-talking child, wait for a quiet moment and gently push on the abdomen. A painful tummy will usually trigger crying again. Persistent crying requires a doctor’s opinion but once abdominal pain is diagnosed the following tips may be helpful.
Consider a consultation with a cranial osteopath.
Pharmaceutical colic medicine and paracetamol may be used as a last resort, although there is some level of toxicity created by these compounds and a possible association with SIDS (cot death).
Assume a food intolerance, breast feeding mothers should cut out spices, caffeine, onions and excess white sugar. If this does not seem to help then specific food intolerances, including dairy produce, should be eliminated .
High-dose homeopathy should be considered and a consultation arranged.
If the following alternative suggestions do not resolve an infant’s or child’s abdominal pain within a few hours, contact a general practitioner. Any severe pain, or if the child is clearly unwell, do not delay but get a medical opinion immediately.
Weak chamomile tea can be used at all ages, but if the problem is not resolved through such a drink, stop administering anything in case an anaesthetic is required.
Refer to a homeopathic manual and consider the remedies Arsenicum album, Chamomile, Carbo vegetans, Coloccynthsis, Nux vomica and Silica. ‘The Colic Carry’. Place the baby on your forearm, chest down and legs either side of your elbow with the head in the palm of your hand. Walk around. Honestly, this makes a big difference!
Tummy patting. Cup your hand and gently pat baby’s tummy. Trapped wind is often the cause and a few moments of this followed by burping the baby over your shoulder will help.
Migraines are generally associated with headaches. The cause of most migraines is dilation of the blood vessels in the brain and this can occur in the abdomen, especially of children. Usually associated with food intolerance or stressful situations, the advice relating to head migraines is also suitable here.
A stomach ache associated with glands in the neck, under the arm or in the groin should be suspected as inflamed lymph glands.
Refer to a homeopathic manual and consider the remedies Belladonna, Calcarea carbonica, Kali carbonicum and Phytolacca, all good glandular remedies.
See Abdominal pains and migraine.
The appendix is thought to be vestigial (a part of the body no longer a necessary organ). It is, in fact, a collection of lymphatic tissue about the size of your own little finger. It probably plays a minor role in the defence mechanism of the bowel. In some unfortunates, the appendix can become inflamed and cause appendicitis.
The function of the appendix is uncertain but it probably acts as a defence against infection in the bowel.
Appendicitis is characteristically a sharp pain on the right lower abdomen. It is characterized by ‘rebound’ tenderness. If you push on the tender area there is not as much pain pushing in as when you let go. This sign is pathognomonic for an inflamed lining of the bowel and requires immediate hospital attention. Appendicitis can start with a pain around the tummy button but usually migrates down into the right iliac fossa, as that area is medically termed. There is often a mild fever and the individual will be off their food and may have diarrhoea.
If appendicitis is suspected, do not try to treat it without an operative procedure.
See Operations and surgery.
Intussusception is a surgical problem found more commonly in boys than girls and usually around the first eight months after birth. For some reason the bowel folds in on itself much like a telescope.
The characteristics are a limp child who screams with pain at intervals, associated with the contractions of the bowel. A child with intussusception is ill. In-between bouts of pain they are likely to be floppy and inert. Vomiting may occur but a characteristic red, jelly-like stool is almost diagnostic. A hard lump may be felt in the child’s abdomen, most commonly in the lower right quarter, and the child will be distressed if any pressure is applied to this point.
With any persistent stomach ache or any suggestion of rebound tenderness, have the child seen by a doctor.
Any child with a severe pain the cause of which is not obvious must be seen by a doctor.
If intussusception is suspected, do not give the child anything to eat or drink but on the way to the doctor give the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron 6, two crushed pills every 15-20min under the tongue.
An experienced casualty doctor or paediatrician may be able to manually manipulate the bowel back into working order, although there is a slight risk of the problem recurring. Frequently the child may need to have an operation and, if this is the case, see Operations and surgery.