Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen fills with air or gas. This may cause the area to appear larger and feel tight or hard to the touch, which can cause discomfort and pain. The back acts as a support and stabilizing system for your body. It is... Read more
Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen fills with air or gas. This may cause the area to appear larger and feel tight or hard to the touch, which can cause discomfort and pain.
The back acts as a support and stabilizing system for your body. It is vulnerable to injury and strain, so back pain is not uncommon. The pain can vary in severity and type, from sharp and stabbing to dull and aching.
What causes abdominal bloating and back pain?
Back pain and bloating can occur together in a number of conditions. Sometimes eating high-fat or greasy foods may cause bloating that leads to gas and back pain.
Other causes of abdominal bloating and back pain include:
- celiac disease
- endometriosis fibromyalgia
- kidney stones
- ovarian cyst
- tumors, such as an ovarian tumor
- chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer
- urinary tract infection
When to seek medical help
Abdominal bloating and back pain typically resolve with time. However, you may need medical attention if your symptoms are caused by infection or chronic illness.
Seek immediate medical attention if you are pregnant and your abdominal bloating and back pain are more intense than during previous episodes. Also see a doctor if over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications or heat or ice packs do not provide relief.
You should also seek immediate attention if bloating and back pain significantly impact daily functioning or if you have any of the following symptoms:
- blood in your stool
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- loss of consciousness
- uncontrolled vomiting
- fever or chills
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than 24 hours:
- acid reflux
- blood in your urine
- itchy, blistery rash
- painful urination
- increased urinary frequency or urgency
- unexplained fatigue
How are abdominal bloating and back pain treated?
Treatments for abdominal bloating and back pain depend upon the cause of your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend basic blood tests or imaging in order to find the cause of your symptoms.
Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics for infections. If kidney stones are the cause, there are procedures that can be done to break up larger stones.
Drinking plenty of water or other clear fluids can reduce abdominal bloating. Taking OTC gas-reducing medications, such as antacids, simethicone drops, or digestive enzymes may relieve abdominal bloating.
OTC pain relievers may provide relief from back pain. Examples include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, there are risks with the overuse of these pain medications. It’s important to seek medical attention if you need to take them for a prolonged period.
Alternating ice packs with heat packs for 10 minutes at a time may help to relieve back pain and discomfort. Resting your back and refraining from heavy lifting can also minimize painful symptoms.
In addition to avoiding foods known to cause abdominal bloating, there are other lifestyle changes that can prevent symptoms. These include:
- drinking plenty of water, which helps to reduce constipation
- eating a diet that contains high-fiber foods that promote digestion, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- eating several small meals each day instead of fewer, larger ones
- exercising regularly
While you cannot always prevent back pain, employing proper lifting techniques and avoiding long periods of sitting can help you find some relief.