Back and stomach pain: What causes? (is that bad ?)

You feel back and stomach pain at the same time ? This could well be a coincidence. You could very well have had back pain and heartburn without the two being related.

However, back and stomach pain may has the same origin. By the way, this is a relatively common symptom. Back and stomach pain may reflect simple digestive disorders or have a much more serious cause requiring prompt treatment.

The details can be discovered in the following. You will understand among other things the internet. between back and stomach pain. You will also see the different possible causes of this double evil and when you should consult. Find at the end of the article, some tips to know on back and stomach pain.

The 5 essential points

  1. The back and stomach have a mechanical and nervous connection.
  2. Digestive disorders, spinal diseases and pregnancy are among the causes of back and stomach pain.
  3. Back and stomach pain may be a medical-surgical emergency.
  4. A few tips can help relieve back and stomach pain.
  5. Depending on its location and time of appearance, it would be possible to identify the origin of back and stomach pain.

Back and stomach pain: the connection

As a reminder, the back is made up, in its center, a spinal column. Also called “spine” or “chine” - the vertebral column is a stack of articulated bones called “vertebrae”.

The vertebrae are linked together by ligaments. And between the vertebrae there are intervertebral discs.

The back also contains the posterior part of the ribs, which is partly attached to the spine, and numerous muscles, tendons connecting the muscles to the bones as well as blood and lymphatic vessels.

The back contains the spinal cord, the part of the central nervous system, in the spine. The latter is made up of:

  •  7 cervical vertebrae;
  •  12 dorsal or thoracic vertebrae;
  • 5 lumbar vertebrae;
  • 5 sacral vertebrae;
  • coccygeal spine which results from 4 or 5 vertebrae fused together and from bony remnants.

Mechanically and neurologically, the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae are linked to the digestive system. Indeed, the ligaments which connect the digestive organs including the stomach are connected to the skeleton of the back. And part of the nerves that control the stomach exit the spinal cord between the sixth and ninth dorsal vertebrae. Hence the link between back and stomach pain.

What causes back and stomach pain?

Back and stomach pain may be due to digestive tract disorders to spinal problems. It can also find its origin in the pregnancy. Finally, back and stomach pain can be a symptom of other extra-digestive diseases. 

Digestive tract disorders

Peptic ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a deep wound which forms on the wall of the stomach or duodenum, the upper part of the small intestine. It follows a disruption between the production of hydrochloric acid (which attacks the walls of the stomach) and the production of mucus, the defense mechanism of the mucous membrane.

Peptic ulcer disease is generally caused by infection with a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), painkillers, or stress can also cause this ulcer.

Good to know : Sudden worsening of back and stomach pain may be a sign of a perforated peptic ulcer.


Gastritis is an infection that causes inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

It's here rise of acidic contents from the stomach into the esophagus. Acidity creates damage to the lining of the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux presents as heartburn that radiates up the digestive tract.

Bowel obstruction

Intestinal obstruction is a partial or total blockage at the intestinal level. There is a cessation of fecal matter and gas. This is a medical-surgical emergency.

Spinal tumors

These are spinal tumors that can be benign or malignant (cancer). The pain appears on a nervous journey.


Back and stomach pain maybe just the consequences of pregnancy. Stomach and back pain in early pregnancy are usually secondary to the action of hormones which cause burning and digestive disorders and modify muscle tone.

Over time, the pregnant woman supports a great weight which pulls strongly on the spine and the back muscles explaining the appearance of back and stomach pain. To be able to remedy this, Nathalie BENET-MANDORLA, midwife of CH de Bastia, published in the thematic file from the National College of Midwives of France a postural approach to the ailments of pregnancy.

Other causes of back and stomach pain 

  • Bad nutrition
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hepatitis
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Cardiovascular diseases, notably myocardial infarction: this is referred to as “referred pain”.

Back and stomach pain: when to consult?

Do not wait, consult quickly if your back and stomach pain is accompanied by:

  • stomach discomfort or itching, particularly if you are pregnant;
  • persistent nausea for several days;
  •  a fever; 
  • a severe stomach ache, sudden and tender to the touch;
  • intense back pain that radiates to the groin or stomach pain that affects the right upper quadrant or radiates to the shoulder or mouth.

Back and stomach pain: some tips to know

What to do with back and stomach pain?

Outside of any medical-surgical emergency situation or hearing your appointment with your doctor, Here is what could you do To relieve your back and stomach pain:

  • relax: stress can make a peptic ulcer worse;
  • Avoid foods that can cause gastric inflammation: spices, chili peppers, coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks and fatty foods.
  • avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • drink water: good hydration promotes good digestion.

How to recognize the origin of back and stomach pain?

Depending on location and time of appearance back and stomach pain, you may have an idea of ​​its origin. If you have :

  • back and stomach pain after eating, this is usually a sign of gastritis or gastroesophageal reflux disease;
  • back and stomach pain in the evening, at night or when waking up: this may be due to meals that are too rich causing gastritis or gastroesophageal reflux worsened by lying down;
  • pain in the back and stomach on the left: this could be gastritis or a peptic ulcer in which the pain is expressed on the side of the stomach;
  • Back and stomach pain on the right is usually a symptom of a pathology other than digestive.


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