Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain?

Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain? Common Symptoms Of Acid Reflux

Back pain is a frequent symptom of acid reflux that often flies under the radar when discussing common side effects of esophageal conditions. Although back pain may be somewhat uncommon, it can be quite persistent, even leading to shortness of breath in some cases. In this article, we answer the question: can acid reflux cause back pain and other related questions. We also discuss the relationship between acid reflux and common side effects, including sore throat, shortness of breath, and nausea.

About Acid Reflux

At the entrance of your stomach is a valve-like ring of muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as food passes through the esophagus and into the stomach. This helps to keep food from re-entering the throat and eventually the mouth. If the LES does not close properly, food and stomach acid can re-enter the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the commonplace term used to refer to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is a chronic condition in which stomach contents unintentionally rise up into the esophagus, resulting in various symptoms and complications.

Acid reflux is often the fault of poor closure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of valve-shaped muscle that bridges the lower esophagus and stomach. Normally, the LES stays closed, except when swallowing. However, in the case of acid reflux, the LES may open randomly, resulting in stomach acid rising back into the throat.

Common Causes Of Acid Reflux

Many cases of acid reflux are not caused by anything particularly alarming. There are, however, a number of habits and food types that may worsen acid reflux by making the stomach more acidic or inhibiting the esophagus' ability to close properly. The most common causes of acid reflux include the following:

  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals at night
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating spicy food
  • Taking certain medications, such as aspirin

Common Causes Of Back Pain

Back pain affects millions of people across the United States. It can be chronic and may be caused from physical activity, injury, or countless other factors. The most common causes of back pain include the following:

  • Muscle strains
  • Arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Intense physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease or infection
  • Endometriosis

Symptoms Of Acid Reflux

The most common symptoms of acid reflux include the following:

  • Heartburn
  • Backwash
  • Chest pain
  • Back pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat

Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain?

Acid reflux may cause back pain, though it may be difficult to determine for certain the cause of your back pain.

Acid reflux (and its related condition GERD) are both medical conditions that can lead to esophageal damage over time. When acid from your stomach gets into your esophagus it can cause tissue damage that may lead to various symptoms. Some people who experience chronic or even occasional acid reflux report back pain as one of their most common symptoms.

Can Acid Reflux Cause Upper Back Pain?

Acid reflux is caused by stomach acid entering the esophagus from the stomach. When this happens, the acid can cause a tight or burning sensation under the breast bone, which may resemble a form of back pain. The acidic nature of stomach acid can also damage tissue around the throat and esophagus, which can sometimes cause upper back pain.

Can Acid Reflux Cause Lower Back Pain?

If left untreated, acid reflux can evolve into gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD. While GERD often causes pain in the chest and esophagus, this pain can radiate to the lower back in many cases. If you already experience pain in your upper back due to injury or some other condition, it is likely that acid reflux will worsen the pain over time.

Can Acid Reflux Shortness Of Breath?

Both GERD and acid reflux have been associated with asthma and other conditions that cause shortness of breath. Shortness of breath can occur in GERD alone, but it is most common in patients with GERD and asthma. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is a strong link between asthma, acid, reflux, and shortness of breath. Their studies have revealed the following connections:

  • More than 75% of people with asthma experience GERD
  • People with asthma are twice as likely as those without asthma to experience GERD
  • GERD may cause asthma and shortness of breath when asthma starts in adulthood, or when asthma worsens after stress or physical activity

Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain? Summary

Acid reflux is a common condition that can cause pain in multiple places, including the back. In addition to back pain, acid reflux may also contribute to asthma and shortness of breath.

Acid Reflux Treatment

Although there are multiple ways in which acid reflux may be treated, omeprazole is the most popular prescription medication for acid reflux. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor which works by decreasing the amount of acid produced by the stomach.

To learn more about omeprazole, how it works, and what it can treat, check out our blog here. 

Omeprazole for acid reflux

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