Can Gas Cause Back Pain?

Will gas cause back pain?

All people deal with gas at some point in their lives and the pain can be intense. Gas and back pain often occur together, or one will occur just before the other. They are often therefore linked, but they may both have the same cause, rather than one necessarily causing the other.

Gas is usually known as bloating and happens when the abdomen inflates with air or gas. This can happen to such an extent that the belly actually appears and feels larger and tighter. This can cause pain in a number of areas, including the back. Back pain (including specifically lower back pain, or "lumbago") can manifest as anything from a sharp stabbing pain to a dull ache.

Gas pain may be your body's way of telling you that something is wrong or out of balance, especially if it happens often. It may be helpful here to list a number of conditions in which gas and back pain are linked, to show that each case is unique to the person.

Menstruation

Menstruation - Pain, cramping, bloating and general discomfort are often associated with menstruation in women. This is, of course, normal, and there is no cure as such except the passing of time.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis - This can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain and bloating.

Pregnancy

Some early symptoms of pregnancy are nausea, tiredness, swollen breasts, and constipation. Gas and cramps, including cramps of the back, can also occur.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - This is another syndrome (collection of symptoms) which can manifest as gas and back pain, among others.

Gallstones

Gallstones are, as the name suggest, stony deposits in the gallbladder. In fact, many people do have gallstones and never know it; and this condition quite often links gas and back pain.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones - Similar to gallstones except found in the urinary tract or kidneys. Gas and back pain often follow.

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection (UTI) - This condition also often links gas and back pain.

Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts - Cysts are fluid-filled sacs, and many women develop these at least once during their lives. Both gas and back pain have been linked to cysts.

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy - This is where the fertilized egg does not attach to the wall of the uterus, but another part such as the cervix or fallopian tube. This can cause both back pain and occasionally gas.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease - Is caused by an excessive reaction of the body to the consumption of food containing gluten. In these instances, avoidance of gluten can often be sufficient to reduce or altogether stop gas or back pain, or both.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia - This is a chronic condition, linked with muscle pain, tenderness and tiredness.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer - These can occur in various parts of the ovary.

Polio

Polio - This is a viral disease which attacks the nervous system. As such, gas and back pain are just two of many associated symptoms.

As you can see from the above sample of conditions, each case is unique and you would need to inquire into the nature of both the gas and the back pain, if you have them.

The cause of gas and back pain may depend on which came first. If back pain came first, you may wish to identify the cause. If gas bloating was the symptom which came first, then it may help to look at a few possible causes. Here is another list.

Causes of abdominal gas bloating

Gas can build up sometimes in the digestive tract, as a consequence of digesting food or even swallowing air. The latter can happen when eating or drinking too quickly, for instance. Air and gas are usually expelled via burping and flatulence. If this process gets delayed, the result can be bloating.

Both conditions usually resolve themselves over time. However, you ought to seek immediate medical attention if the condition is intense, or persists, or if you suspect an underlying cause such as one of the conditions listed above.

In the absence of medical intervention, there are several steps you can take to reduce symptoms. To reduce gas bloating, for example, you can be sure to drink plenty of water, drink fewer carbonated drinks, avoid certain foods (such as beans, legumes, cruciferous vegetables or gluten) or take antacids or probiotics. Exercising regularly, and eating small meals instead of large ones may also help.

To reduce back pain, you can apply ice packs or heat packs, or both alternately. You can rest, refrain from heavy lifting, go for a gently walk, or take a pain reliever such as iboprofen. The latter should not be over-used, however. Avoiding long periods of sitting is also a good idea.

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Last Reviewed:
June 14, 2017
Last Updated:
October 10, 2017