The combination of abdominal and back pain usually starts with pain in the abdomen. The pain then gradually or rapidly spreads to the back. The most likely cause of such pain is often not difficult to diagnose if the nature, timing, severity, character, as well as the pattern and direction of spread is well noted.
Common causes of pain in the abdomen and back include menstrual pain, pain from ovarian cyst, gall bladder diseases, gallstones, prostatitis, endometriosis and leaking or ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Are you suffering with abdominal and back pain? Abdominal or stomach pain that spreads through to the back could be a sign of a condition like stomach ulcer, pancreatitis or even cystitis, depending on the exact spot from where the pain starts.
Abdominal and back pain occurring together can be indicative of:
Common causes of abdominal pain that radiates or
spreads to the back include:
* The asterisked causes are reasonably rare. There are also other causes of abdominal and lower back pain in pregnancy and a few related to pain arising from the womb.
Abdominal and back pain that begin within
minutes of eating can have several causes:
Biliary colic is pain due to the contraction of the gallbladder, which is a pear-shaped sac that lies just under the surface of the liver, about a hands-length below your right breast.
This sac is where bile (that green bitter liquid you sometimes see in vomit) is stored. Bile is very important as it helps us digest our food properly. The liver produces bile and stores it in this sac. When we eat rich foods or foods high in fat, the gallbladder contracts to release bile to help emulsify the fat in our food and to aid digestion of vital nutrients for our body.
Sometimes, the salts that make up the bile crystallize and form small stones and this is what is referred to as gallstones. The pain of biliary colic could arise from:
The symptoms of biliary colic include:
With biliary colic, the pain typically lasts for a few hours but could continue up to three days in some people. If there is an associated infection of the gallbladder, the sufferer may become hot and cold (feverish) with yellow discoloration of the white part of the eyes (jaundice). This is called cholecystitis and requires immediate medical attention.
Doctors use strong pain killers like a combination of Paracetamol or acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Diclofenac (Volterol) to help patients manage the pain of biliary colic. The two are safe to take together, provided you do not suffer with asthma or stomach ulcer.
If there is evidence of infection (cholecystitis), hospitalization is recommended for treatment with intravenous antibiotics and pain killers. In some cases, an emergency operation may be necessary.
Peptic ulcers are holes or pits that form in the bowel from acid irritation.
Peptic ulcers commonly occur in the stomach and duodenum (the first part of your small intestine just after the stomach). Peptic ulcers also occur in the jejunum, ileum, and merkels diverticulum.
A combination of excessive acid production,
stress, and sometimes other factors like infection of the stomach by
a bug called helicobacter pylori or prolonged intake of pain killers like
ibuprofen, aspirin or diclofenac could lead to the formation of ulcers in the
stomach or intestine.
The stomach produces acid when we eat, which irritates existing ulcers and leads to abdominal pain.
The symptoms of peptic or stomach ulcer include:
The use of antacids such as gaviscon or mix magnesia may help soothe the pain of stomach ulcers, but sufferers should be careful. Stomach cancer can have similar symptoms. Often, people who are plagued with stomach ulcers will eat less over time for fear of triggering ulcerous pain.
Treatment for peptic ulcers includes the use of antacids and medications like ranitidine and losec, omeprazole, lansoprazole, or pantoprazole.Sufferers should avoid spicy foods, fried foods, alcohol, smoking and stressful situations.
The pancreas is a banana-shaped organ that lies behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. It is the gland that produces insulin to regular sugar in the body and the powerful enzymes that helps the body to digest its food.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas and can be caused by gallstones, excessive alcohol consumption, cystic fibrosis, high triglycerides, and hereditary disorders, amongst other triggers.
The symptoms of pancreatitis include:
a serious illness that can mimic gastritis, stomach ulcers, or duodenal ulcers.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a life-long condition in which the bowels develop a sensitivity to stressful situations and certain foods. IBS is a condition three times more common in women than in men. The abdominal pain of irritable bowel syndrome is often experienced by people as abdominal pain on the left side.
IBS can be associated with constipation, the passage of mucus in the stool, or diarrhoea. Sufferers may feel abdominal bloating, weariness, fatigue, backaches, and sometimes an increase in frequency or urgency of urinating.
The symptoms are often made worse by stressful experiences and can last for months and years.
For pain in the middle abdomen that spreads to the back, the causes are well-defined. The main causes are:
Abdominal aortic aneurysm is the dilatation of the wall of large blood vessel that bring blood from the heart into the abdomen (called the aorta). If the aorta balloons or dilates for any reason, it could start to leak blood in small amounts. This leads to middle or lower abdominal pain that spreads to the back.
This condition occurs in middle-aged or elderly men and women who have smoked in the past. The pain is often accompanied by dizziness upon standing. Sufferers can collapse or faint with this pain if bleeding is significant.
can read more about symptoms of ruptured abdominal aortic
Heart attacks can start as abdominal pain. Typically, the pain begins in the middle upper abdomen, above the umbilicus and below the breastbone.
Heart attack pain that starts in the abdomen tends to come suddenly either as mild discomfort or severe ache. Patients describe the feeling of more severe heart attack pain as a heavy load or pressure on the chest. Heart attack pain that starts in the abdomen could spread up to the left arm, neck, and jaw. It is often accompanied by sweats, nausea, and vomiting. The pain could last a few minutes or up to an hour or two before it goes away. If it goes away.
Abdominal and back pain caused by a kidney stone is usually easy to diagnose. The nature of abdominal and back pain arising from kidney stones largely depends on the part of the urinary track in which the stone is located, the size of the stone, and whether infection is present.
The symptoms of kidney stone pain include:
of kidney stones usually describe the pain as quite severe.
For pain in the lower abdomen that spreads to
the back, there are several possible causes, including irritable bowel
syndrome. The other causes include:
Cystitis is a common and treatable infection of the kidneys, bladder, or urethra. It is often characterised by inflammation in the bladder. Those who suffer from cystitis tend to feel more tired than usual, pass urine more often, and experience burning or stinging during urination.
Cystitis can also cause:
urine, often accompanied by a stronger odour
Menstrual pain is the most common cause of lower abdominal and back pain in women of child-bearing age. This is especially true in the early years of their menstrual life. Menstrual cramps cause a dull, intermittent lower abdominal pain along the bikini line, that spreads to the back. Menstrual pain can be so severe that in some women, it disrupts their daily activities and renders bedridden.
Menstrual pain is followed a few days later with a vaginal bleed. The pain tends to get better after the bleeding has gone on for a few days.
You can read more on menstrual cramps, the
causes and how to control it here.
Heathline.com, What are abdominal bloating and back pain?, http://www.healthline.com/health/abdominal-bloating-and-back-pain (Accessed: September 2016)
Enkivillage, Lower Back and Stomach Pain, http://www.enkivillage.com/lower-back-and-stomach-pain.html (Accessed: September 2016)
New Heath Guide, Lower Back and Abdominal Pain, http://www.newhealthguide.org/Lower-Back-And-Abdominal-Pain.html (Accessed: September 2016)
SpineHeath.com, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm (Accessed: September 2016)
Universiry of Maryland Medical Centre, http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/peptic-ulcers (Accessed: September 2016)
Are you suffering with abdominal pain that radiates to the back? Or do you have a past history with "stomach pain" that spreads to your back? If so, please share your experiences with our online community.
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