Causes: Lower Back And Lower Stomach Pain
Many conditions can be behind lower back and lower stomach pain. In fact, it’s possible for pain to stem from a problem within the reproductive, musculoskeletal, urinary or digestive system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For instance, menstrual cramps are a common cause of abdominal pain as well as lower back pain, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Endometriosis, a condition that occurs when uterine-like tissue grows in areas outside the uterus, is another condition that can cause stomach and back pain at the same time in women, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
“There are many known chronic overlapping pain conditions with endometriosis, notably abdominal pain and low back pain,”Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a doctor of physical therapy at Femina Physical Therapy in Southern California, says. “Endometriosis is known for creating cyclic and noncyclic pain in the abdomen, low back and jaw.”
Gastrointestinal conditions could be at the root of lower abdominal and potentially lower back pain as well.
Irritable bowel syndrome , a gastrointestinal disorder, could lead to pain in the lower stomach and possibly the lower back, according to Kaliq Chang, MD, a board-certified interventional pain management specialist at Atlantic Spine Center in New Jersey and New York. In addition to abdominal pain, common symptoms of IBS include gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea, the Mayo Clinic says.
Read more:What Is IBS, Exactly?
Gallbladder Inflammation And Gallstones
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that sits below the liver. It stores and releases bile, a fluid that helps the body to digest fats.
The gallbladder can become inflamed, especially if hard deposits known as gallstones are present. Eating fatty foods can trigger a gallbladder attack, in which the organ becomes inflamed and causes pain.
Typical symptoms of a gallbladder attack include nausea and severe pain in the upper abdomen. This pain may radiate to the back.
Stomach And Back Pain At The Same Time
For most of us, its not uncommon to have an occasional stomachache or acute back pain. But what does it mean if both are happening at the same time? This could be a coincidence, but it may also be concerning to notice two disconnected symptoms. The combination of pains may make daily activities difficult or be distracting. If the pain reaches this level, it may be a good idea to visit an Atlanta MRI center to rule out any serious conditions that could cause both problems at the same time.
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Preventing Upper Back Pain
While back pain is common, its possible to lower your risk of getting upper back pain. Here are some tips:
- Practice good posture. Sit and stand up straight. When you sit, position your hips and knees at 90 degrees.
- Exercise.Cardio and resistance training will strengthen your back muscles and lower your risk of injury.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can place stress on the back.
- Quit or avoid smoking. This will help you quickly heal after a back injury. Quitting is often difficult, but a doctor can help you develop a smoking cessation plan right for you.
Common Causes Of Lower Back And Abdominal Pain
Lower back pain, bloating, and abdominal issues are frequently reported complaints that can have numerous causes. If the pain is not intense or accompanied by more serious symptoms , then it is generally safe to wait and see if the discomfort will resolve on its own. The most common causes of lower back and abdominal pain include:
- Kidney and urinary tract infections
- Gastrointestinal problems and flatulence
Pain that is persistent, gradually begins to intensify, or occurs along with other troubling issues warrants a consultation with a health care provider. Prompt treatment can help target serious or life-threatening conditions.
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Herniated Disk In The Lower Back
The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
Urgency: Primary care doctor
How To Get Out Of Bed
To get out of bed safely:
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Low Back Pain Exams And Tests
- Because many different conditions may cause back pain, a thorough medical history will be performed as part of the examination. Some of the questions you are asked may not seem pertinent to you but are very important to your doctor in determining the source of your pain.
- Your doctor will first ask you many questions regarding the onset of the pain. He or she will want to know what makes the pain better or worse. The doctor will ask you questions referring to the red flag symptoms. He or she will ask if you have had the pain before. Your doctor will ask about recent illnesses and associated symptoms such as coughs, fevers, urinary difficulties, or stomach illnesses. In females, the doctor will want to know about vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge. Pain from the pelvis, in these cases, is frequently felt in the back.
- Electromyogram or EMG is a test that involves the placement of very small needles into the muscles. Electrical activity is monitored. Its use is usually reserved for more chronic pain and to predict the level of nerve root damage. The test is also able to help the doctor distinguish between nerve root disease and muscle disease.
Could A Health Condition I Have Be To Blame
Lower back pain can also be caused by other things that are going on in your body.
Pregnancy: All that weight out front can put a real strain on your back.
Tumors: They usually donât start in the back, but are part of the spread of a cancer in the spine that started somewhere else in your body.
Infections: Osteomyelitis, discitis, and septic sacroiliitis are uncommon infections that affect the bones, discs, and joints of the spine. Any one of these can cause pain in your lower back. Kidney infections can also cause your back to feel the brunt.
Other issues: Low back pain can also happen because of things like:
- Kidney stones
- Endometriosis, a buildup of uterine tissue outside the uterus
- Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread muscle pain
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Tests For Diagnosing The Cause Of Abdominal Pain
In many cases, doctors and other providers can determine or at least suspect the cause just by your symptoms. For example, abdominal pain with and fever suggests a bladder infection. Imaging exams and blood and urine tests may be necessary to pinpoint the cause of abdominal pain and determine the best treatment.
The cause of abdominal pain can be difficult to diagnose in some cases. If you have continued abdominal pain without a diagnosis, seek a second opinion.
When Back Pain May Be A Medical Emergency
The underlying causes for most occurrences of back pain are non-emergent, but the intense pain and related symptoms often elevate anxiety and prompt a visit to the emergency room . While back pain is typically treated in a primary care setting or by a musculoskeletal specialist, physicians are often cautious and look for warning signs of neurologically impairing or life-threatening causes. These causes are rare, but if present, they are considered a medical emergency and warrant immediate treatment to preserve back and/or leg function.
Though rare, acute cauda equina syndrome is a serious medical emergency. It usually requires immediate medical attention. Watch Cauda Equina Syndrome Video
This article provides a comprehensive guide to when back pain may indicate a medical emergency and the associated red-flag symptoms to watch out for.
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How Do The Intestines Work
The intestines are part of the digestive system and run from the abdomen to the anus. Most nutrients are absorbed in the intestines. The intestines are a few metres long. On average, the small intestine is 6 metres and the large intestine one and a half metres. Via peristaltic movements the small intestines transport undigested food to the large intestines. In the large intestines, this food is processed and various rotting and fermentation processes take place. This is where bowel problems, such as flatulence or wind, often occur.
In most of the cases, the cause of bowel problems is an incorrect lifestyle, such as smoking and lack of exercise. Also, food with too much fat and too few fibres may cause diarrhoea or constipation. To prevent or reduce bowel problems, it is recommended to ensure you eat high-fibre foods .
Fibres are parts of vegetable foods that your small intestines cannot digest or absorb. They go to the large intestines undigested. Due to a lack of fibres in food, there will be fewer indigestible material in the intestines. In the absence of sufficient bulk and the stimulating action of the food fibres, the intestines are insufficiently stimulated. This is detrimental for proper digestion of food. Moreover, too little fluid is absorbed causing hard stools and making bowel movements difficult.
Lower Back Pain May Be Caused By Bowel Problems
Problems of the lower back may be related to bowel problems or painful and swollen bowels. Back pain and piercing or nagging pain in the abdomen may be attributable to swollen bowels and flatulence.
For all kinds of reasons, the stomach may feel uncomfortable and cause back problems at the same time. In turn, back problems may cause abdominal pain. The nerves of both regions run lumbar . So, they have considerable impact on each other.
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What Should You Do About Pelvic Pain
Firstly, women should seek an appointment with their GP for an initial evaluation and assessment of their condition, especially if the pain has been present for three to six months and has become chronic, or if it is affecting her ability to carry out normal daily activities, says Dr Hemlata.
Judy Birch, co-founder of the Pelvic Pain Support Network, says that it’s difficult to cope with any recurring pain. “Treatments vary and will be individual, based on the condition and severity. It may involve medication, surgery, physiotherapy, nerve blocks, psychology, self-management, coping strategies and combinations of any of these at various points in time.”
She suggests keeping a simple visual diary of when the pain occurs, how long it occurs for and what relieves it, if anything. “Take this with you when you see a doctor if you’re having difficulty getting a diagnosis or managing and coping with the pain. And ask about investigations, such as an ultrasound, and even to be referred to a specialist,” she explains.
Limit Foods And Drinks That Give You Gas
Moderating foods and drinks that make you gassy can also help stave off back pain. Per the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, some common culprits include:
- High-fiber foods like beans, fruits and whole grains
- Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus
- Fermented foods like kombucha or kimchi
- Dairy products if you’re lactose intolerant
- Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners
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Support For People Living With Chronic Pancreatitis
Any long-term health condition, particularly one that causes recurring episodes of pain or constant pain, can affect your emotional and psychological health.
See a GP if you’re experiencing psychological and emotional difficulties. There are medicines available that can help with stress, anxiety and depression.
Talking to other people with the same condition can often reduce feelings of isolation and stress.
The charity Guts UK, may be able to put you in touch with a local support group.
Page last reviewed: 31 October 2018 Next review due: 31 October 2021
What Is Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is discomfort or other uncomfortable sensations that you feel in your belly area. Just about everybody at one time or another will get a bellyache.
Most causes of abdominal pain aren’t reasons to worry, and your doctor can easily diagnose and treat the problem. Sometimes, though, it can be a sign of a serious illness that needs medical attention.
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Lower Back Pain And Constipation
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If youre having trouble passing stool on a regular basis, you may have constipation. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week.
The blockage in your colon or rectum can cause a dull pain that extends from your abdomen to your lower back. Sometimes, back pain caused by a tumor or infection could have constipation as a side effect.
In other cases, lower back pain may not be related to constipation. Learning more about the causes of these conditions can help you determine if theyre related.
Gastrointestinal Problems And Flatulence
A common gastrointestinal problem is gas or flatulence. In the majority of cases, gas is simply a minor annoyance that quickly goes away. However, excess gas may lead to intense pain that is accompanied by bloating, belching, flatulence, tenderness, and a feeling of fullness. The pain can also extend to the back, causing lower back pain.
Excess gas in the upper stomach region may be the result of swallowing more air than usual, overeating, or chewing gum. Gas that develops in the lower abdomen is often linked to eating gassy foods, the improper digestion of certain foods, or an imbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut or colon. The following foods may lead to excess gas for some people:
- Carbonated drinks
- Dairy foods that contain lactose
- Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy
Another common issue that may cause these symptoms is gastritis, which is characterized by inflammation of stomach lining. More specifically, this condition occurs when foreign invaders or certain substances weaken the protective mucosal lining of the stomach, thereby allowing digestive juices to damage the lining. It is most often caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, but is also linked to other factors such as alcohol use or taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs frequently.
- Peptic ulcer
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Treatment for Lower Back and Abdominal Pain
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Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin
Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. “Chronic” means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and “no specific origin” means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.
Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.
Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.
Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Common Causes Of Pelvic Pain
As you might imagine, periods are the number one cause of pelvic pain in women. Most women get pelvic pain in the first couple of days of their period – so-called menstrual cramps or simply period pain. Some women also get pelvic pain around the middle of their cycle when they ovulate. These pains vary hugely in severity, but if they’re lasting more than a few days, starting before your period, associated with other symptoms or having a significant impact on your life, they need checking out.
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