Are There Potential Complications With Acid Reflux Symptoms
Usually, acid reflux symptoms cause no complications. In a few cases, continued esophageal damage can lead to scarring, which may cause the esophagus to narrow. The narrowing creates strictures and makes it difficult to swallow. You may have dysphagia, a sensation that food is stuck in your esophagus. In some cases, normal cells in the lining of the esophagus may be replaced by a different type of cell. This is called Barrett’s esophagus, which can sometimes develop into cancer.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like
Heartburn typically feels like a burning in the center of your chest, behind your breastbone. When you have heartburn, you may also feel symptoms like:
- A burning feeling in your chest that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
- Pain in your chest when you bend over or lay down.
- A burning feeling in your throat.
- A hot, sour, acidic or salty taste in the back of your throat.
- Difficulty swallowing.
Can Gerd Cause Body Aches
While GERD can cause pain in various parts of your body, you should visit a doctor if youre experiencing serious pain in an area thats not your back or chest. GERD typically affects the back and chest, with the occasional general aches and pains radiating to another part of the body. If youre experiencing severe pain that doesnt seem to occur where GERD pain normally does, you could be dealing with an infection or another medical condition thats causing body aches. The sooner you make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis, the sooner you can start treating your GERD and getting the relief you deserve.
Recommended Reading: Who To Visit For Back Pain
Upper Back Pain Has Causes Ranging From Acid Reflux To Heart Problems To A Number Of Cancers
Most back pain is caused by a musculoskeletal issue.
But for many people, acid reflux is behind their upper back pain. How is this possible?
When acid is absorbed into the lining of the esophagus it can irritate nerves such as the vagus, says Andrew Black, MD, Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine & Gastroenterology who practices with GI of Norman in Oklahoma.
The pain signals travel to the brain on some common conduits which can also be used by other parts of the body , thus creating the sensation of pain arising from those areas.
If back pain is sudden and searing, this would not be caused by acid reflux, but more likely a compressed nerve in the spine.
If back pain thats sudden and severe occurs while youre lifting or straining physically, then you can attribute this to a spasming or overloaded muscle.
However, if really bad back pain occurs in conjunction with chest pain, and especially also with nausea, sudden sweating and/or shortness of breath, this can signal a pending heart attack or one about to occur. Get to the ER.
Ripping or stabbing back and chest pain can signal a dissection of the hearts aorta. Dont waste a second getting to an emergency room.
Pain in the upper back caused by acid reflux would not be persistent it would come and go and also often be accompanied by heartburn or a slight burning sensation in the upper abdomen.
See a doctor if the discomfort or aching persists despite trying conservative measures to eliminate it.
Should I See An Acid Reflux Doctor
This is not true for the expert GERD surgeon. Her or she is often the best person to see if medications are failing to resolve your symptoms or if you simply prefer not to take PPIs for life. The important most important point here is that the GERD patient must see an expert acid reflux doctor, regardless of specialty.
You May Like: Do Bananas Give You Gas
You May Like: What Causes Sharp Back Pain In The Lower Back
Tmd And Gerd Spells Pain
The pain of temporomandibular joint dysfunction can be a lot to manage. Jaw pain thats sometimes intense, head and neck pain, sometimes unexplained ear pain and other uncomfortable symptoms can be hard to live with. But, what about adding GERD on top of it all? A recent study conducted between the Dental College of Georgia in Augusta and the Fourth Military Medical University in Xiang, China has shown that discovered that people with TMD have a great risk of developing GERD than their peers living without TMD. Millennium Smiles in Frisco, Texas, helps manage patients living with the uncomfortable symptoms and side effects of TMD.
Restore Friendly Bacteria And Protective Lining Of The Gut
As an overgrowth of bad bacteria plays a big factor in GERD and heartburn, restoring a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria is a key factor in its treatment.
Good and bad bacteria are constantly competing for resources, therefore its important that you have sufficient numbers of probiotics to stop and push back the growth of nasty pathogens.
And there are plenty of medical studies that reveal probiotics to be effective at reducing the spread of bad bacteria with conditions such as IBS.
In addition, probiotics can substantially increased the cure rate in people being treated with H.pylor. infections.
The best source of probiotics come from natural foods. Fermented foods have been eaten for their probiotic benefits for thousands of years. In fact, natural fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir contain more friendly bacteria than commercial yogurts and probiotic supplements.
Fermented dairy products may cause issues for those with severe bacterial overgrowth, however there are non-dairy alternatives such as fermented cabbage and kombucha that are easy to make at home.Even so, probiotic supplements are an effective and convenient way to boost your digestive health.
3 surprising risks of poor posture Harvard Medical School Publishing.
Use of a positional therapy device significantly improves nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux symptoms Department of Gastroenterology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
You May Like: Is A Plush Mattress Good For Back Pain
When Should I Call My Doctor About My Heartburn
Even though heartburn is common, it can sometimes lead to more serious health problems. Severe, chronic heartburn has been linked to inflammation and narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory problems, chronic cough, GERD, and Barretts esophagus, which may lead to esophageal cancer.
You should contact your doctor if:
- Your heartburn wont go away.
- Your heartburn symptoms become more severe or frequent.
- Its hard or hurts to swallow.
- Your heartburn causes you to vomit.
- You have had substantial, unexpected weight loss.
- You take over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks and you still have heartburn symptoms.
- You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription medicines.
You May Like: What Does It Mean When You Keep Having Heartburn
Trapped Or Pinched Nerve
The cervical spine is connected to 1000s of nerves.
A pinched or trapped nerve refers to a type of damage often caused by a vertebrae, herniated disc or bone applying pressure to the nerve or group of nerves.
If its a pinched nerve you should feel these sensations
- Pins and needles
Most pinched nerves can be treated at home by stretching, applying heat, improving posture or avoid sitting for long periods.
Also Check: What’s Good For Upper Back Pain
Can Acid Reflux Cause Dizziness
Dizziness and acid reflux are rarely associated with each other. However, personal accounts show that acid reflux, specifically GERD can also lead to dizziness in patients. This dizziness is often characterized as lightheadedness, weakness, and a temporarily blurry vision.
Dizziness and Acid Reflux: Is There a Link?
While dizziness is not often listed as a common symptom of acid reflux, a study suggests that there is a link between peripheral vertigo and acid reflux.
Scientists suggest that patients who experience dizziness alongside their acid reflux may be due to gastric acids irritating the ear, which could lead to ear infections.
The study reported that 77.6% of patients with peripheral vertigo were also diagnosed with acid reflux compared to 26% of patients without reflux symptoms.
Although further studies are required to finalize the findings, the researchers suggest that reflux contents such as Hydrochloric acid and pepsin could get into the middle ear through the Eustachian tube and affect the ear directly. This can cause tinnitus or a perceived ringing of the ears.
Another way acid reflux could cause dizziness is through bacterial infection. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori can travel further up the esophagus through reflux contents and reach the upper respiratory tract. This could cause scarred ear drum , leading to dizziness.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain
Do you experience back pain after you eat a large meal?
You might assume that the pain is related to digestive issues, since it can appear somewhat out of the blue.
To determine if your back pain is related to gastrointestinal reflux disease , you will need to look at your other symptoms, specifically heartburn, as heartburn can travel from your chest and throat to your lower back and between your shoulder blades.
GERD can feel like an uncomfortable burning sensation in the back of the throat, a tightness in the chest, and an upset stomach.
Usually brought on by eating a meal too quickly or eating too much, an attack of GERD can leave you feeling debilitated, perhaps especially when back pain is present as well.
Don’t Miss: Are Adjustable Beds Good For Lower Back Pain
How To Avoid Gerd Symptoms
You can reduce or eliminate the discomfort of GERD symptoms by taking a few simple steps. These include:
- Avoiding fast food
- Exercising regularly with an empty stomach
- Avoiding stress
If you notice that your GERD symptoms are interfering with your daily life or drastically restricting what you can eat, consider talking with your doctor about treatment options, says Dr. Purcell.
If you need further treatment, your doctor can help you find a treatment that works best for you and will help you find relief from GERD.
Is Gerd Dangerous Or Life
GERD isnt life-threatening or dangerous in itself. But long-term GERD can lead to more serious health problems:
- Esophagitis: Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation the stomach acid causes in the lining of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause ulcers in your esophagus, heartburn, chest pain, bleeding and trouble swallowing.
- Barrett’s esophagus: Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that develops in some people who have long-term GERD. The damage acid reflux can cause over years can change the cells in the lining of the esophagus. Barretts esophagus is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.
- Esophageal cancer: Cancer that begins in the esophagus is divided into two major types. Adenocarcinoma usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus. This type can develop from Barretts esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
- Strictures: Sometimes the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes scarred, causing narrowing of the esophagus. These strictures can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquid from reaching the stomach.
Also Check: How To Heal Severe Back Pain
Factors That Trigger Gerd Back Pain
Food IntakeAs established, this disease is associated with the stomach, and our diet most likely affects it. Consumption of food that triggers acid reflux in GERD can aggravate its symptoms, i.e., back pain. The people who suffer from pain in the back with this disease have low mobility and increased craving to eat.Some foods that set off acid reflux are greased fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, etc. Back pain because of acid reflux in GERD patients is not persistent. It will come and go, most likely to appear at the time of meals
NSAIDs Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory DrugsA category of painkillers which many patients take with GERD for back pain. Most of them do not realize that taking these pills e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, etc., successfully relieves them from their pain but consequently irritates the stomach lining, sensitizing it to gastric acid.As long as the symptoms are not enhanced in patients after taking NSAIDs, it is okay to use them. But, if they do, then it is recommended to get a consultation. Your doctor will prescribe you alternatives that would treat your back pain and not worsen the disease.
StressWhen the stress hormones in the body increase, it alters stomach acid levels and lowers the production of prostaglandins.Its a lipid-like compound that mimics hormones and protects the stomach from acids.
Start Doing Yoga Or Stretch Consistently
Yoga and stretching are a fantastic opportunity to treat back pain caused by acid reflux. Techniques in yoga to relax both the body and mind can be beneficial in directly relieving back pain by improving mobility, as well as calming the esophagus muscles that keep stomach acid down.
Yoga is also a great exercise tool, and since regular exercise can help prevent obesity and being overweight, you can be less prone to acid reflux. If unable to perform many yoga poses due to balance issues, start with consistent stretching and breathing techniques, as increasing blood flow and reducing stress are also valuable components to achieve a healthier body.
Also Check: Which Doctor Do You See For Back Pain
How To Alleviate The Back Pain
You have several options in alleviating the back pain with dyspepsia. Since the pain is a result of another condition, you should start by treating the source and reason for the pain, rather than the pain itself.
Certain stomach medicines, like Pepto-Bismol or Maalox, can help the feelings of fullness or nausea caused by dyspepsia. The Maalox will also help with the heartburn, and Gaviscon can keep the heartburn from radiating any farther up the esophagus, which should in turn affect how much it the pain flows to your back.
Dont Miss: Why Is My Lower Back Hurting All Of A Sudden
Yes Gerd May Cause Back Pain
All in all, GERD may cause radiating pain that affects any part of the back. This pain is not constant and moderate in severity. Managing GERD should help relieve the back pain too. But if the pain is long-standing, severe, and associated with other symptoms, it may indicate other reasons. And it is best to consult your doctor for the same.
You May Like: How Long Does A Lower Back Strain Last
Not Sure If What Youre Feeling Is A Heart Attack Or Heartburn
I tell my patients that if you belch and the symptoms go away, it probably isnt related to your heart but to your esophagus, Bauman said. But if you have shortness of breath or sweating, then its likely a heart-related issue.
However, everyone is different, and not all symptoms are caused by one or the other, so:
When Should I Call The Doctor With Acid Reflux Symptoms
Be sure to call your doctor if you don’t get lasting relief from medications. Also call the doctor right away if you have any “alarm” acid reflux symptoms, such as these:
- Black, tarry, or maroon-colored stools
- Difficulty or pain with swallowing
Other acid reflux symptoms that should prompt a call to your doctor include:
- Asthma-like symptoms, such as wheezing or dry cough
- Hoarseness, especially in the morning
- Hiccups that don’t let up
- Nausea that lasts for more than a day or two
Sometimes, people confuse the symptoms of heart attack with symptoms of acid reflux disease. That’s because pain in the chest can feel like heartburn. When in doubt, call your doctor.
Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms of heart attack:
- Chest pain, pressure, or fullness lasting more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
- Pain or discomfort in your neck, shoulder, upper back, or jaw
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea
- Sweating along with chest pain
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Dyspepsia: What It Is and What to Do About It.”
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn: Hints on Dealing With the Discomfort.”
Recommended Reading: Does Stress Cause Back Pain
Heartburn Or Heart Attack: Knowing The Signs
Differentiating simple heartburn from heart disease symptoms can be challenging. Sometimes, people may have a meal and then go out for a walk. In that situation, it can be difficult to tell the difference between reflux or heart disease, says Patterson.
Its hard because the symptoms might be similar, agrees Sauer. You may not be able to decipher them. It may even require an ECG or stress test to check if its your heart.
With reflux, patients may have a bitter taste in the mouth. With heart problems, there is no bitter taste in the mouth and no association with food, says Patterson. I would differentiate the symptoms in regard to meal vs. exercise, and acidic, funny taste in the mouth vs. none.
In addition to the time of occurrence and related activity, understanding your own potential risk factors for heart disease is also helpful. Age is an important risk factor for both men and women. A mans chance of a heart attack increases at around age 40. However, the increased risk occurs around menopause for women.
Other factors include gender and family history of premature coronary artery disease. These factors are not in our control, but there are many more controllable risk factors, reminds Patterson.
Major risk factors for heart disease that we can control include:
- Illegal drug use
But what about the pounding chest pain and collapse weve all seen in countless movies and TV shows? Isnt that how heart attacks are supposed to happen?
Can Heartburn Cause Back Pain
This is a very interesting question.
In fact, we cant say that heartburn are able to directly cause back pain.
However, this painful manifestation and reflux disease can have a special relationship.
The most important premise is that, in most cases, people who report back pain are affected by real GERD, more than simple reflux, and even less from occasional episodes of heartburn.
This is important because it means that by working well on the root causes of the disease, theres a solid chance to get rid of this symptom.
The relationship between acid reflux and back pain can be quite complicated because of some reasons.
What we considered above is important, because it means that by working well on back pain and/or reflux we can potentially prevent the other condition.
Also Check: How To Cure My Back Pain