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What Causes a Stomach Ache with Back Pain?

By Susan Grindstaff
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A stomach ache with back pain is most commonly associated with pregnancy, menstruation, and constipation. In some instances, this type of pain can signal a more serious condition such as tumors, ulcers, or nerve damage. Depending on where in the stomach the pain is located, it could also indicate life-threatening conditions such as an aortal aneurism. In most cases, this pain does not indicate a serious condition, but as with any health issue, if it persists, a medical professional should probably be consulted.

Ulcers that occur in the back part of the stomach are very often to blame for stomach ache with back pain. Ulcers are the result of stomach infection, but can be made worse by diet and stress. They sometimes respond to over-the-counter antacids, but frequently require more intense therapy, as is the case with bleeding ulcers. In addition, ulcers frequently reoccur, and may necessitate lifelong changes in diet.

Food poisoning can sometimes cause stomach ache with back pain. Other symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. If the pain occurs within two hours of ingesting food, it may be related to food poisoning.

Tumor growths can sometimes be an underlying cause of stomach and back pain. Tumors can spread as they grow and can occur anywhere in the body. Those in the stomach can expand and put pressure on the back, causing pain in both areas. Tumors are sometimes surgically removed, though they are often treated with chemical therapy or radiation.

The aorta is the body’s largest blood artery, and it is considered the most common place to have an aneurysm. Aneurysms are an area of an artery that has weakened to the point that it may have a large bulge. The primary risk is that the artery could rupture, which in some instances could lead to death. Stomach ache with back pain and a pulsating sensation around the navel sometimes indicate an aortal aneurysm.

Pancreatitis is a condition that can have a wide variety of symptoms and is often misdiagnosed as gall bladder disease. It is believed to be caused by infection in the pancreas and is often characterized by pain that begins high in the stomach then spreads around to include the back. It is typically very painful, though the pain can sometimes be relieved by a forward leaning motion. Treatment usually involves a round of antibiotics combined with drugs for pain relief.

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Discussion Comments
By andee — On Oct 25, 2012

If anyone has ever had food poisoning you know who awful it is. One night we ate out at a new restaurant and within a few hours both of us were really sick. Since we both had the same symptoms we figured it was food poisoning and not the flu.

We both had pretty much the same symptoms which included a stomach ache and back pain. When you get this sick it is also easy to get really dehydrated and even though you don't feel like drinking anything, we tried to drink as much water as we could.

This is sure something I hope I never experience again. I am now more cautious when it comes to trying out a new restaurant. I know it could happen anywhere, but I will never eat at that restaurant again.

By Mykol — On Oct 24, 2012

I have both back pain and stomach pain every month when I have my period. Usually the back pain comes first and starts a few days earlier. Sometimes my back hurts so bad that I can't sleep. Once my period starts is when the stomach pain comes because of the cramps. I have to rely on over-the-counter pain relievers for a few days every month.

By golf07 — On Oct 23, 2012

@JessiC -- It seems like with shows like the Dr Oz show people talk about this more than they used to. It can still be embarrassing to talk about or bring up, but anything that will help make it better.

It is easy to understand how constipation can cause stomach pain, but it seems strange that it could also cause back pain. I know when I have this problem I can feel miserable all over.

By JessiC — On Jun 08, 2011

Until they have experienced it, most people have no idea how badly constipation can make your back hurt. I have always had trouble with this particular problem (talk about embarrassing), and it can be more than a little painful.

I find that taking fiber along with lots and lots and lots of water helps to ease the constipation and the back ache, but that it can also worsen the bloating.

I’ll take that in exchange for the pain any day, though.

Until they have experienced it, most people have no idea how badly constipation can make your back hurt. I have always had trouble with this particular problem (talk about embarrassing), and it can be more than a little painful.

I find that taking fiber along with lots and lots and lots of water helps to ease the constipation and the middle back pain, but that it can also worsen the bloating.

I’ll take that in exchange for the pain any day, though.

And, I don't suggest taking fiber without adequate liquids either, because this can actually worsen your symptoms.

By nanny3 — On Jun 07, 2011

About a week after I had my second child, I was nursing him in bed when I suddenly began to have severe pain in my lower stomach and my back. I thought I was dying! The hurting was severe and I had no clue what could be the cause of such back pain.

My husband worked night shift at the time, so there was no one immediately available to help me with my then two year old and infant. I was almost immobile.

I couldn’t even stand up to get to the phone to begin with, but when I could safely do so with the baby in my arms I took a slow and steady walk across the room. I called my sister, who came over immediately.

She called the local hospital where I had given birth to my son, and they told her that I was having after pains and to get in warm water.

It truly felt like I was in labor all over again, and this time without any medication to help. I hadn’t had after pains with my oldest, so I had no clue what it was.

They said that the fact that I breastfed also made them worse.

Believe it or not, the warm bath actually worked.

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