Does Dyspepsia Cause Back Pain as a Side Effect of Heartburn?

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What Is Dyspepsia?

In some ways, the standard upset stomach is a form of dyspepsia. This condition is manifested in common stomach conditions such as nausea, throwing up, excessive belching and feeling bloated. More severe dyspeptic symptoms sometimes include heartburn as well.

Dyspepsia and Back Pain

Symptoms of back pain do not fit with most symptoms of dyspepsia, which come about from abdominal-related causes. Sometimes this condition will travel up the esophagus, in the case of heartburn, or result in intestinal pain and diarrhea.

However, just because back pain is not a common symptom does not mean you won’t experience it at the same time as your stomach ache. Here’s the thing about stomach pain: it can radiate, or seem to radiate, to other parts of the body.

This is especially true if you experience heartburn with your stomach ache. Symptoms like these don’t necessarily stay contained to their affected locations. Thus, experiencing pain that radiates to the back is not out of the question.

According to Merck Manual, the back pain you might experience during this condition is more likely a result of the heartburn or esophageal pain than the dyspepsia itself. So although back pain is not a direct symptom, it’s still one of the “splash effects,” so to speak, of the condition, since it is the “cause of another effect,” as it were.

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.

How to Prevent Dyspepsia and Back Pain

So, now that your question, “Does dyspepsia cause back pain” is answered, you’ll probably need to start preventing the whole condition in the first place. There are several ways to accomplish this. First, start taking proactive measures against eating foods that will wreak havoc with your stomach. Spicy foods, eating before bed, too much alcohol or chocolate, wearing tight clothing while eating and exercising directly after a meal all tend to cause dyspepsia and the back pain that follows. Also, leave a few hours between eating and sleeping or lying down, as lying down causes the food and acid in the stomach to travel back up your esophagus and cause a world of pain.

You can also try taking papaya enzymes right after a meal to aid with indigestion. Since dyspepsia in its simplest form is basically just a type of indigestion, preventing any type of indigestion is your first step.


My own experience with this condition

Merck Manuals: Symptoms of Digestive Disorders Dyspepsia