Heartburn With Back Pain: A Couple Of Symptoms To Consider
People who suffer from heartburn and acid reflux can report back pain after eating.
In addition, back pain can also be present in conjunction with other typical symptoms of acid reflux.
This means that you can experience pain in a part of the body that is not the real source of that pain.
In order for you to better understand how things work, you can refer to a very interesting study about the possibility to induce referred pain by the simple pressure of other areas of the body.
In short, you can press a specific body part and youll feel pain in another one.
Something very similar also happens in people who suffer from reflux and heartburn, when they feel pain in their back .
Something very similar happens when a heart attack occurs.
We know that heart attacks and acid reflux have nothing in common, however, both conditions can present a referred pain in the back.
How Can My Doctor Tell If I Have Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
A medical doctor can often diagnose GERD and heartburn by your description of the symptoms your experience.
You may see a gastroenterologist, a medical specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, who may order an upper GI series. This is a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the intestine often used to rule out other health conditions. An upper GI endoscopy, where a flexible probe with a tiny camera at the end is passed down your throat to see the esophagus. This helps diagnose how severe your acid reflux is, and can also rule out other health complications.
If your symptoms are not clearly from acid reflux, your doctor may perform other tests to rule out important conditions like heart attack, ulcers, lung problems, esophagus problems, and gastritis.
Note The Time Your Heartburn Symptoms Occur
Think, too, about when the heartburn occurs. Galier says if it happens after a big meal, and it’s just the burning in the chest, with no other symptoms, itâs more than likely heartburn or indigestion. But if you have any doubt, it’s wise to ask your doctor for an evaluation.
“If you have chest pain after a meal, it’s more likely to be reflux,” agrees Glenn Eisen, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of endoscopy at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. But that’s not a perfect test, he says. “It could be cardiac.”
Phil Katz, MD, says that knowing what “classic” heartburn is like may help. Katz is president-elect of the American College of Gastroenterology and clinical professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
âThe classic heartburn symptom,â he tells WebMD, âis burning that starts at the upper stomach or lower breastbone and progresses upward and occurs after a meal or when bending over.” He adds, “It’s rapidly relieved by an antacid within a few minutes.â
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Heartburn Lower Back Pain Cramps
This is another frequently reported condition.
However, also, in this case, there is no direct correlation between heartburn with back pain and cramps.
In fact, they occur in the lower part, while we have considered that heartburn is more likely related to mid-bak and also upper back.
In the case of lower back cramps, in almost 100% of cases, the reason is related to injuries, or some bad practices , as well as inflammations .
In other cases, the presence of lower back cramps may indicate something more serious, that needs a much deeper investigation.
However, this does not relate directly to heartburn.
In other words, if you are experiencing heartburn with back pain, probably the lower back is not interested.
If this would happen, the reasons are to be found in other risk factors or specific conditions.
Home Remedies For Heartburn
Home remedies are many but remember 2 thumb rules: Eating less and avoiding high-fat foods & maintaining a healthy lifestyle filled with physical activity & devoid of smoking & drinking. Other home remedies include.
- Eating vegetables low in fat & high in fiber.
- Intake of ginger
- Having oatmeal for breakfast as it is complete and high in fiber
- Eating more of non-citrus fruits
- Seafood & lean meat
- Egg whites, lean meats, and healthy fats
Before you sum up there are 2 more things you should know as these 2 are most confused
- Heartburn vs. acid reflux
- Heartburn vs. nausea.
In the first case, heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and both are not the same while in the later both are the symptoms of indigestion, and nausea can be the result of heartburn.
Well, this is what heartburn is and a detailed answer to can heartburn last for days?
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.
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Don’t Lie Flat When You Sleep
When you lie flat your stomach contents press against the LES. Keeping your head higher than your stomach helps reduce this pressure.
You can elevate your head in a couple of ways:
- Place bricks, blocks, or something sturdy and secure under the legs at the head of your bed.
- Use a wedge-shaped GERD pillow under your head and shoulders.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Oesophagitis
- Heartburn: this is the main symptom. This is a burning feeling which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
- Other common symptoms: these include pain in the upper abdomen and chest, feeling sick, an acid taste in the mouth, bloating, belching, indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to come and go and tend to be worse after a meal.
- Some uncommon symptoms: these may occur and if they do, can make the diagnosis difficult, as these symptoms can mimic other conditions. For example:
- A persistent cough, particularly at night, sometimes occurs. This is due to the refluxed acid irritating the windpipe . Asthma symptoms of cough and wheeze can sometimes be due to acid leaking up .
- Other mouth and throat symptoms sometimes occur, such as gum problems, bad breath, sore throat, hoarseness and a feeling of a lump in the throat.
- Severe chest pain develops in some cases .
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Heartburn And The Lower Esophageal Sphincter
Heartburn is burning chest sensation or even pain. The majority of times it is due to the backward flow of stomach acid and digestive enzymes into the esophagus. These acids and enzyme cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus which is not equipped to handle these corrosive substances. The main reasons for reflux is a weak or dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter .
Normally the LES, which is a group of muscles, keeps the junction between the esophagus and stomach closed. It opens momentarily when food has to pass down from the esophagus into the stomach. However, under certain circumstances and in certain individuals the LES fails to function effectively. This means that stomach acid and digestive enzymes can flow up into the esophagus.
It is important to note that sometimes a burning chest pain may not be due to acid reflux. Cardiac chest pain can also present similar to heartburn in most people although it is typically described as a suffocating sharp pain.
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What’s Normal With Heartburn
“Heartburn should never be considered normal,” says Galier. Food is often the culprit. People with heartburn typically may be sensitive to foods such as chocolate, carbonated beverages, peppermint, coffee, citrus foods, fried and fatty foods, and spicy foods.
Having heartburn more than occasionally can reduce your quality of life. It can affect not just what you eat, but how you sleep and what activities you do.
And if heartburn from acid reflux persists and you don’t get treatment, complications can occur. They include damaging inflammation of the esophagus that affects the lining and causes bleeding. Another potential complication is Barrett’s esophagus. With Barrett’s esophagus the cells that line the esophagus become abnormal. That, in turn, boosts the risk of esophageal cancer.
When Is Heartburn Considered Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Its that familiar burning or painful sensation in the chest that pretty much everyone has experienced often enough to immediately declare it a case of heartburn. However, some people arent sure if what the heartburn they feel is normal or a more serious, common condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
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How Is Gerd Treated
Treatment for GERD depends on how severe symptoms are. For some people, treatment may just include lifestyle changes, such as changing what they eat or drink. Others will need to take medicines. In very rare cases, when GERD is particularly severe, a doctor will recommend surgery.
These lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of GERD or even prevent the condition:
- quitting smoking
- losing weight if you are overweight
- eating small meals
- avoiding carbonated beverages
- avoiding foods that trigger reflux
It also can help to not lie down for 3 hours after a meal and to not eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Doctors sometimes also recommend raising the head of the bed about 6 to 8 inches. Before you start a major bedroom makeover, though, talk to your doctor and your parents about the best sleeping position for you.
If symptoms continue, doctors might prescribe medicine, such as:
- H2 blockers, which can help block the production of stomach acid
- proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes
- prokinetics, which help the esophageal sphincter work better and the stomach empty faster. This can prevent reflux episodes.
What Makes It Better
For most women, things that help reduce acid production or prevent reux are helpful in avoiding the discomfort of heartburn. Here are tips that may help:
Avoid classic spicy foods, as well as those with lots of fat or grease. Many people recommend avoiding citrus and chocolate, as well.
Eat multiple, small meals spread throughout the day, much like grazing, instead of three big meals.
Try elevating the head of your bed by several inches, and wait a while after eating before going to bed or lying down.
Some women find that its better to drink fluids between meals, rather than with a meal. This can increase the amount of contents in the stomach.
If your symptoms do not improve after the above recommended diet and lifestyle changes are in place, talk with your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medicines. Antacids are available as chewable tablets and liquids. They work by coating the lining of the esophagus and stomach and neutralizing stomach acid. Heartburn medicines called H2-blockers work by reducing the amount of acid made by your stomach. Although most of these are considered safe in pregnancy, as with all medicines, these should be avoided in the first trimester.
Read Also: What To Do When You Get Heartburn
Heartburn Back Pain And Bloating
Heartburn with back pain and bloating can occur together in the presence of a digestive disorder that accompanies the reflux.
As weve considered before, IBS is just one of them.
The concomitant presence of bloating and upper-back pain is quite common, even though in such cases heartburn may not be present at all.
In fact, reflux and related symptoms affect the gastroesophageal tract, with no direct action on the bowel and other organs located below.
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Can Heartburn Cause Back Pain
This is a very interesting question.
In fact, we cant say that heartburn are able to directly cause back pain.
However, this painful manifestation and reflux disease can have a special relationship.
The most important premise is that, in most cases, people who report back pain are affected by real GERD, more than simple reflux, and even less from occasional episodes of heartburn.
This is important because it means that by working well on the root causes of the disease, theres a solid chance to get rid of this symptom.
The relationship between acid reflux and back pain can be quite complicated because of some reasons.
What we considered above is important, because it means that by working well on back pain and/or reflux we can potentially prevent the other condition.
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Severe Heartburn With Back Pain
Severe heartburn is a more serious condition that occurs when reflux and related symptoms are more frequent.
We can consider severe heartburn with back pain as a more concerning condition, even though the presence of back pain is not typical.
When acid reflux goes untreated for a long time, all its related symptoms become more persistent and begin to show up more frequently.
Things are very similar to what happens for GERD and back pain: in fact, more symptoms make the affected person more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and he/she can make bad decisions in the matter of eating habits and lifestyle.
Treating acid reflux and related symptoms in the most seamless way, by eating the right foods, adopting the proper lifestyle, and then include in your diet some natural remedies that are proven to work is essential to avoid those cascades of events that can lead to the appearance of other symptoms.
In the paragraph below you can find some valuable advice.
What Else Should I Know
Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce or even stop uncomfortable GERD symptoms. Untreated GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus.
You’ll probably find that one of the simplest ways to make living with GERD easier is to avoid the things that trigger your symptoms. Some people will have to limit certain foods others may have to give them up entirely. It all depends on your symptoms.
It can be hard to give up sodas or favorite foods at first. But after a while, lots of people discover that they feel so much better that they don’t miss the problem foods as much as they thought they would.
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What Makes It Worse
Most spicy, greasy, fatty foods known for causing heartburn are also likely to cause problems for pregnant women. Food doesnt digest as well or move as quickly during pregnancy. So, eating large meals or overeating in general can also increase the risk for heartburn. Eating right before bedtime can cause problems, too. Smoking makes heartburn worse and is another reason to quit, especially while pregnant.
Remedies For Heartburn After Meals
- Antacids are among the more commonly used medication to remedy heartburn after eating. If persistent, medical treatment needs to be sought. Antacids should not be used indefinitely as prolonged use of certain types may lead to complications.
- Increase water intake after a meal. It can help wash down any acid that has entered the esophagus and also help with hastening stomach emptying to some degree.
- Take a walk after a meal but do not run or exercise. The movement may help with stomach emptying and being upright utilizes gravity to prevent reflux.
- Milk and other dairy products may be helpful in neutralizing the stomach acid and soothing the esophagus. However, this is for short term relief and large amounts of dairy should not be used to treat acid reflux.
Read Also: What Is The Remedy For Heartburn
You’re Eating Dinner Too Late At Night
It’s not just what foods you eat, but also when you eat them that can contribute to whether you experience heartburn. “A major culprit is the displacement of dinnertime to later evening hours, often after 7 p.m. and frequently including a gargantuan meal consisting of fatty foods, chocolate, and/or wine,” says Morton Tavel, MD, clinical professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and author of Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks: A Physician’s Advice. “These all contribute to delayed emptying of the stomach together with increased acid production.”
If you want to avoid the heartburn that you’re all too familiar with at night, Tavel suggests moving your dinnertime to before 7 p.m. as well as reducing the size of your evening meal. If eating earlier just isn’t plausible, then try to eat at least three hours before you plan to hit the hay.
Changing Your Eating Habits
Developing healthier eating habits, losing weight if necessary, and avoiding foods that increase symptoms of GERD may make heartburn less likely to occur. Take your spouse or partner along with you when you go to your doctor to discuss diet habits. It will be easier to make changes in your diet if your family understands what you need to do and why.
Changes you may want to make include avoiding chocolate, peppermint, and alcohol. These can all make GERD worse by relaxing the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. It also may be a good idea to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
If you are overweight, lose weight. Being overweight puts additional pressure on your stomach and increases the likelihood of heartburn occurring. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help.
Certain foods can be associated with reflux. Though they will not cause GERD, eating these foods can make the symptoms worse, and avoiding them can help reduce heartburn. These include citrus fruits, mint , fatty and fried foods, garlic and onions, spicy foods, and tomato-based foods like spaghetti sauce and pizza. Some people notice that their symptoms get worse after drinking coffee, tea, soda, or anything with caffeine. If you notice that your symptoms are worse after eating a specific food, you may want to stop eating it and see if your symptoms get better.
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