Can Gas Cause Back Pain?

Health Writer

“Gas” is, simply, air in your digestive tract. Gas normally enters your digestive tract either when you swallow air or when bacteria in your large intestine break down certain foods. But even with such a simple definition, when it comes to gas, things can get complicated.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the most common symptoms of gas include burping, passing gas, bloating and pain in your abdomen. However, because your back supports your abdomen and pain can travel to nearby parts of your body, you can also have back pain as a result of excess abdominal gas.

How to treat it

If excess gas is the reason for your back pain, your doctor may suggest that you change your diet or take over-the-counter medication. There are also supplements, such as the enzyme lactase or probiotics, which might help. You may also need to be evaluated for digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux disease.

How to avoid it

Some foods cause excess gas more often than others. Cow’s milk, if not well-tolerated, can cause abdominal gas and bloating. In addition, foods that have a high amount of fat and sugar can also produce excess gas. Some poeple may even find that uncooked vegetables become difficult to digest. Because no two people have the same digestive system, try keeping a food diary to help figure out which foods give you excess gas.

When you should call a doctorThere are many reasons for back pain beside excess gas. It’s therefore important that** if simple dietary modifications and over-the-counter medications do not relieve your back pain, call your doctor.** You should also notify your doctor right away if you develop a fever along with the pain or have difficulty with bowel movements. It’s important to rule out a blockage or a more serious condition.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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Dr. Tracy Davenport is a health writer, advocate and entrepreneur who has been helping individuals live their best life. She is co-author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux. Follow Tracy’s love of smoothies on Twitter.