1.characteristics of the pain,2.findings on physical examination,3.laboratory, radiological, and endoscopic testing, and4.surgery.
Characteristics of the pain
The following information, obtained by taking a patient's history, isimportant in helping doctors determine the cause of pain:
The way the pain begins.
For example, abdominal pain thatcomes on suddenly suggests a sudden event, for example, theinterruption of the supply of blood to the colon (ischemia) or obstruction of the bile duct by a gallstone (biliary colic).
The location of the pain.
Appendicitistypically causes pain in the right lower abdomen, the usual location of the appendix.
Diverticulitistypically causes pain in the left lower abdomen where most colonic diverticuli are located.
Pain from the gallbladder (biliary colic or cholecystitis)typically is felt in the right upper abdomen where thegallbladder is located.
The pain of acid-related diseases -gastroesophageal refluxdisease(GERD) or duodenal ulcers - typically show periodicity, that is, a period of weeks or months duringwhich the pain is worse followed by periods of weeks or months during which the pain is better.
What relieves the pain.