Stomach pain, gas, and back pain are some of the most frequently-discussed medical complaints in the world today. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often indicative of larger health problems. Though the causes are not always serious, discovering the origin of your symptoms is the best first step towards ultimately finding relief. Are you ready to be free from gas and an aching back? If so, read on to learn more.
What Causes Abdominal Pain?
Bloating and abdominal pain are two very common maladies, regularly affecting up to a third of the population. Generally, these ailments are caused by gas build-up in the abdomen or intestines. Oftentimes, this excess gas is harmless, and will later be expelled as flatulence. If, however, you find yourself experiencing regular abdominal pressure or nausea, your bloating could be a sign of a more persistent medical condition.
If your bad gas symptoms occur after eating, it is likely that you have a food sensitivity issue. Many who suffer from trapped gas and bloating find that their suffering is correlated with lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Lactose intolerance is perhaps the most common cause of excess gas worldwide; nearly three-quarters of the world’s population suffers from a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance occurs when a person doesn’t have enough of the enzyme lactase present in their small intestine. This lactase deficiency results in an inability to properly process lactose, a sugar commonly found in dairy products. As a result, the lactose travels into the large intestine. The bacteria in the large intestine are not ideally equipped to process lactose, resulting in unfortunate symptoms ranging from constipation to intestinal gas to diarrhea. If you think it is possible that lactose intolerance is causing your symptoms, consider opting for lactose-free dairy products, or eliminating dairy from your diet altogether. Changing your diet may dramatically reduce your pain and bloating.
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine, is another common cause of intestinal distress. Experts estimate that up to 1% of the world’s population has this disease, which affects the absorption of gluten, a protein found in such grains as barley, oats, wheat, and rye. Individuals suffering from celiac disease often suffer from chronic bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and more. Many more people may suffer from gluten intolerance, a similar but less severe gluten malabsorption issue. For all such individuals, a gluten-free diet will likely alleviate symptoms. Sticking to gluten-free starches, such as potatoes, rice, and corn will reduce these individuals’ stomach pain. Both celiac disease and gluten intolerance are becoming better diagnosed, so check with your doctor if you think you may be affected; receiving a proper medical diagnosis will help you in fully treating your condition.
If you have ruled out lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity but are still suffering from excess gas and bloating after eating, you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Unfortunately, IBS has not yet been attributed to any single cause. If you suffer from gas after eating or feel that your symptoms may be triggered by depression, anxiety, hormonal changes, or other medicines, then you may have IBS. Check with your doctor if you feel you may be suffering from this condition.
Gas build-up and pressure may be caused by a number of other issues as well. Other common causes include, but are not limited to:
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
E. Coli Infections
Colitis (inflammation of the colon)
Peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, an abdominal tissue lining)
Other Intestinal Infections and Illness
The most serious health conditions connected to bloating are: ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver disease, and pelvic inflammatory disease. If you feel you may have one of these conditions, contact a health professional immediately.
What Causes Back Pain?
Back pain and intestinal gas can sometimes be interrelated. The trapped gas and bloating caused by lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or IBS, for instance, commonly result in lower or middle back pain for sufferers. The abdominal swelling caused by these conditions often puts pressure on the back and spine, causing pressure in the back. If these two symptoms seem to occur in tandem, your bloating may be giving rise to your lower back pain.
Back pain without gas may be related to a number of medical conditions. Standing or sitting for excessive lengths of time, particularly with poor posture, can cause upper back pain, particularly back pain between the shoulder blades. Regular stretching and exercise can help alleviate back pain of this kind. Bending, over-stretching, carrying heavy objects, or exercising excessively can also cause back pain. Back pain on one’s left side or back pain on one’s right side is generally caused by poor posture or overexertion, and is not generally a sign of a particular chronic condition. If your back pain occurs suddenly after engaging in one of the aforementioned activities, it is likely acute pain that will fade within the coming days or weeks.
Sometimes, back pain can be chronic, lasting multiple months or years. If your back pain does not resolve itself within a few weeks, or has become significantly worse over time, you may be suffering from one of the following conditions:
Shoulder Contracture (“Frozen Shoulder”)
Ankylosing Spondylitis/AS (a chronic inflammation of the spine and other regions of the body)
Sciatia (pain caused by sciatic nerve compression)
Degenerative Disk Disease
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes pressure on nerves as well as the spinal cord)
Osteoarthritis (joint degeneration)
When Should I See a Doctor?
Whether you suffer from back pain or excess gas, you should talk to your doctor if your symptoms persist for weeks or months at a time. If you fear that your symptoms may be the results of a serious condition, such as an ectopic pregnancy or peritonitis, you should contact a doctor immediately.
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, sharp pains in your back, chest pain, or shortness of breath you should get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms may require immediate medical attention, and should be promptly addressed.
Seeing a medical health professional is the only way to ensure proper treatment for your condition. If your symptoms are regularly disrupting your daily life, you should seek medical consul as soon as possible.
If you are suffering from trapped gas and back pain simultaneously, it is very likely that these two symptoms are connected, and may be caused by a single medical issue. There are, however, a number of health conditions causing pain in all regions of the back, and various diseases may contribute to abdominal distress. Write down all of your symptoms, and track them for a number of days. If your symptoms persist, contact a doctor or dedicated health professional. Ultimately, you should be able to alleviate your symptoms via a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen, giving you the relief you deserve.