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Newman, PD., Holkup, MS., Masi, LE., Soto, TA. (2023) 'A Novel Approach to Assessing and Conservatively Treating Anterior Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment Syndrome: A Case Study', Cureus. 2023 Sep 8;15(9):e44912. doi: 10.7759/cureus.44912. eCollection 2023 Sep.

Cureus. 2023 Sep 8;15(9):e44912. doi: 10.7759/cureus.44912. eCollection 2023 Sep.

A Novel Approach to Assessing and Conservatively Treating Anterior Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment Syndrome: A Case Study

David P Newman, Saige M Holkup, Erica L Masi, Adam T Soto

Abstract:

Anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome (ACNES) is a common source of chronic abdominal pain and is often underdiagnosed despite numerous and potentially invasive diagnostic evaluations and tests. We present a case report describing a novel, conservative, and non-invasive approach to diagnose and treat recurrent ACNES in a young and active patient. We describe a treatment-based diagnostic approach to confirm potential ACNES pain generators while recording pre- and post-treatment pain scores. After each maneuver, the patient was reassessed which allowed the working diagnosis to clinically evolve demonstrating the pathologic interrelationship between different skeletal structures and myofascial tissues contributing to irritation of the anterior cutaneous nerve. This treatment-based technique also made it possible to identify referred pain from a condition with overlapping symptoms originating from a different anatomic site. Treatment consisted of sequenced osteopathic manipulation techniques, active release techniques, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, directional cupping, stretching, and strengthening exercises. The combination of sequenced treatments over the course of six physical therapy visits spanning 10 weeks resulted in 100% pain reduction and complete resolution of functional limitations. The patient was able to complete all work requirements and physical activity without pain. A sequenced treatment-based diagnostic approach to this case allowed us to more accurately identify all involved anatomic regions of pain and anatomic segments of pathology that were contributing to the abdominal pain or referring pain. No diagnostic imaging, invasive test, or injection was needed to properly diagnose and treat this case of ACNES. A proper understanding and application of osteopathic manipulation, active release techniques, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, cupping, and exercises successfully resolved the contributing pain conditions and provided the patient important and useful tools and strategies to prevent recurrence.

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