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Does Acidity Cause Back Pain?

By Janhavi Patel

Acidity or acid reflux is the term used for a certain set of symptoms caused by the production of excess acid by the gastric glands in the body. It causes heartburn due to the acid flowing up through the food pipe which could be followed by constipation and indigestion.

The food that we eat passes down through the food pipe into the stomach. The gastric glands produce acid needed to digest this food.

acid reflux back pain relief

Acidity occurs when excess acid is produced, more than what is required for digestion. This could happen due to a lot of reasons, one main reason being eating too much spice.

What Are The Causes Of Acidity?

As we know, our stomach produces acid to aid in digestion of the food we eat. To neutralize the corrosive effects, our body also produces some natural bicarbonates that are secreted into the mucous lining.

When the acid produced is more and the production of bicarbonates is interrupted, this is what leads to the inflammation of the mucous lining causing acidity. There are various reasons that cause acidity; here are a few-

1. Unhealthy eating habits, like skipping meals, overeating, and eating at odd times.
2. Due to excess spice present in the food than is considered normal.
3. Due to existing medical conditions, like stomach ulcers, asthma, diabetes, peptic ulcers, etc.
4. Due to side effects of some medicines, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, medicines for depression, anxiety, blood pressure, etc.
5. Stress and lack of sleep.
6. Excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol.

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Acidity?

1. Burning feeling in the throat, stomach, and chest
2. Difficulty in swallowing
3. Nausea
4. Indigestion
5. Constipation
6. Bad breath and dental problems
7. Restlessness
8. Sour taste in the mouth
9. Belching
10. Asthma/wheezing
11. Chronic pneumonia

Can Back Pain Really Be Caused By Acidity?

The answer is yes, you could be experiencing back pain due to acidity. A lot of cases have been reported where upper back pain, lower back pain, chest pain, and middle back pain are all associated with acidity.

The acid produced in our body for digestion is HCl or hydrochloric acid. The corrosive effects of this acid include damage to nerve fibres throughout the body. The pain can be noticed in the upper back, chest, lower back, and in between the shoulder blades.

People who suffer from severe acidity tend to sleep in an elevated position to avoid the hydrochloric acid from reaching their esophagus. This might be good to avoid the acid travelling and for other symptoms related to it, but it's not good for your spine.

Sleeping in that elevated position for too long and for too many days can lead to permanent damage of soft tissue that results in much worse back pain.

The severity of the pain differs in each person. But not treating this condition immediately could lead to chronic episodes of acidity, severe back pain, and other related symptoms.

How Can Back Pain Caused By Acidity Be Treated?

We understand that back pain caused by acidity is not due to muscle strain or injury, but due to the inflammation by excess acid in the digestive system. This is why painkillers or any over-the-counter medication would be of no use in treating this type of back pain.

To treat this back pain we'd have to go to the root of the problem, which is the acidity in this case. There is one very common cause of acidity in majority of the cases and that is poor eating habits and certain lifestyle choices.

The degree of acidity can vary from person to person. Over-the-counter medication is now readily available for mild conditions. If a person has severe acid reflux lasting for a long period, it's best to get it checked.

The doctor will typically perform a pH test and prescribe Histamine-2 blockers which are stronger doses of the over-the-counter drugs. And, of course, like many drugs, these too come with a list of side-effects.

Another line of medication that can be considered is the herbal medication. There are a lot of herbal formulations that are available and are effective. These are mostly infusions of chamomile and lemon extracts. You can find these herbs in the organic stores and make herbal teas and consume them two times a day.

Pertaining to the diet, you need to keep in mind to consume a high-protein and low-fat diet. Overeating also would not be a good option; keep it light and healthy.

Another thing to keep in mind is, when sleeping, wear loose clothing and keep your feet elevated. This will help reduce the acidity. There are a few common triggers of acidity in individuals, like citrus fruits, alcohol, coffee, onion, garlic, carbonated drinks, etc. These triggers could be different for different people, so find out what's triggering your acidity.

If you have severe back pain resulting from acidity, practice yoga and avoid your triggers. But just eating healthy food for a few days to eliminate the acidity is not a long-term solution. It is preferable that if you are someone who has regular episodes of acidity, then a lifestyle change is in order.

Acidity is not something to be taken very lightly, it can get fatal. The back pain resulting from the acidity could also have permanent effects on your spine. After trying all the at-home remedies if you still see your acidity getting worse, it's best to consult a doctor and find a proper solution.

Eat healthy and don't underestimate the power of your stomach acid.

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    Read more about: acidity back pain health
    Story first published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 16:00 [IST]
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