What Causes Back Pain After Eating & How Is It Treated?

It may sound awkward but few people tend to have pain in the muscles and other areas pertaining to the back after eating. It feels odd since eating and back pain seems to be two separate entities but it may be an indicator of an underlying serious medical condition [1].

In most cases, however, this happens due to benign etiologies but the back pain after eating becomes too frequent then a consultation with a physician is recommended to rule out a potentially serious condition. In such instances, aside from the back pain after eating there will also be certain secondary symptoms like heartburn, bloating, pain in the stomach, or other issues in the digestive system. These symptoms often point towards the underlying cause of back pain after eating [2].

At times, the diet also plays a role in an individual having back pain after eating such as eating foods that irritate the digestive tract [2]. The different causes and treatment options for back pain after eating is what has been discussed in detail below.

What Causes Back Pain After Eating?

The various causes for back pain after eating include

Allergies: This is one of the major causes of back pain after eating, especially in people who are allergic to gluten, sugar, and other dairy products. These foods cause inflammation resulting in pain in the back. There are also certain other foods to which if an individual is intolerant to can result in back pain. These include peanuts, alcohol, and fatty and spicy foods [3].

Gallstones: Stones that form in the gallbladder are also one of the reasons for back pain after eating. Gallbladder is situated just below the liver and its function is to store and release bile, a fluid that allows absorption of fats in the body. The gallbladder gets inflamed as a result of gallstones. Spicy and foods rich in fats are the primary causes for the gallbladder to get inflamed causing pain in the upper abdomen which radiates to the back.[3]

Heartburn: This is yet another cause for pain in the back after eating. Heartburn is basically caused due to indigestion and is characterized by pain in the chest and at times in the back. Heartburn is quite common in the United States and it is estimated that approximately 15 million people suffer from it every day.[3]

Additionally, a person with heartburn has sore throat, cough, and pain the back after eating. Foods that trigger heartburn symptoms include alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, and spicy foods. Frequent episodes of heartburn may lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease which requires medical treatment and strict dietary changes.[3]

Renal Infection: Renal infection is also one of the causes for back pain after eating. In addition to it, it may also cause pain in the abdomen, hematuria, burning with urination, fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms are persistent throughout the day but tend to get worse after eating. If an individual suspects of having renal infection then it is best to consult with a physician and get proper diagnosis and treatment to prevent the infection from worsening.[3]

Pancreatitis: The function of the pancreas is to facilitate digestion and regulation of blood sugars. When the pancreas gets inflamed then it tends to cause back pain when eating. Additional symptoms of pancreatitis include fever, nausea, vomiting. Chronic alcohol abuse is believed to be the primary cause for inflammation of the pancreas.[3]

How Is Back Pain After Eating Treated?

The treatment for back pain after eating depends on the primary cause of it. The primary treatment however for this condition include

Dietary Modifications: In cases where heartburn, alcohol use, ulcers, or allergies are believed to be the cause of back pain after eating then identifying the triggers and eliminating them from the diet is the most recommended treatment. It is absolutely necessary to abstain from alcohol, avoid gluten and bread, caffeine and chocolate, and spicy foods. Tomatoes also should be avoided to prevent heartburn. To identify the foods that trigger heartburn, it is recommended to consult with a dietician or keep a food diary .[3]

Medications: It is the underlying cause that determines the medications that should be used for treating back pain after eating. Antibiotics are prescribed for treating kidney infections and other bacterial infections. Pain caused due to pancreatitis or gallbladder inflammation is treated with pain medications. For symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD PPIs are the normal mode of treatment for these conditions.[3]

In cases where a definitive etiology cannot be identified for back pain after eating then standard treatments given for common back pain is recommended. These include plenty of rest, heat and ice application, and pain medications.[3]

In conclusion, Back Pain after Eating is normally caused by abnormalities in the digestive system. Allergies or intolerances, heartburn, GERD, inflammation of the pancreas and gallbladder are all causes of back pain after eating.[3]

However, there are several tips to prevent this. Maintaining a good sitting posture, identifying food triggers and avoiding them is essential to prevent back pain after eating. Stress reduction is also an important factor as it relieves muscle tension and relieves back pain after eating. Avoiding alcohol, spicy food, and foods rich in sugars is also essential to prevent back pain after eating.[3]

It should be noted that any person with persistent back pain after eating should consult with a physician. Immediate treatment should be given if the individual complains of additional symptoms like pain and burning with urination, changes in stool pattern and coloration.[3]

Emergent treatment is essential for people with chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness along with pain in the back as this may be a sign of a cardiac event such as a myocardial infarction. Other than this, only benign and treatable conditions cause pain in the back after eating.[3]

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