People nowadays seem to be complaining about gas cause back pain far too often. Used to be, in the olden days, when only the elderly had this luxury of sitting in the wrong posture for 10 minutes and then complaining the whole day of some back pain. Nowadays, it’s youngsters and old people alike.
Maybe it’s the computers, the gadgets or maybe we’re just getting weak. Whatever the issue, before we start blaming technology for the pains we experience, we should point out that the human body is an interconnected system, and even something seemingly unconnected to the back can cause some serious pain. For instance, one of the most common questions asked on forums dealing with backaches is this: can gas cause back pain?
This might seem a weird concept at first to get your head around. What has flatulence got to do with back pain? Sure, the body is a bunch of systems all working holistically and if one system flares up, the rest feel it too, but gas and back pain don’t make any sense at all. As if biology wasn’t confusing enough, now we’ve got people saying yes to the question ‘Can gas cause back pain’. But how exactly is it that something as trivial as flatulence could cause something as dire as back pain?
And worst of all, backaches caused by issues unrelated to the spinal column are not age-specific i.e., they can happen to anyone regardless of age, sex, height, etc. And considering the digestive system is a system that we misuse quite regularly (some of us do), flatulence is something that is common enough that Hollywood makes fart jokes out of it and we laugh at it.
But coming back to the question, lower back pain due to gas is possible and is pretty common, come to think of it. If you know anything about biology and pain, you know that pain tends to spread around the vicinity of the affected area; a good example would be a toothache.
You cannot single out the tooth that is hurting, instead, it’s the left or right side that you describe as ‘killing you’. The pain originates from a single source, but as our body goes, it spreads around as nerves from the adjoining area pick up the sensation and report back to the brain, thus creating the illusion that the whole area is affected. The same goes for gas cause back pain; it isn’t causing the pain directly. Let us get into the explanation.
Can Gas Cause Back Pain?
Yes, it can. It has to do with proximity to the area affected. You see, gas in the body can only come from two places (normally). There could be air, which could have been accumulated in the gut if you’re eating really fast or drinking shots after shots. This air is usually expelled through a burp, which is understandable considering that the air entering through the mouth stays in the esophagus or the stomach, and since it does not advance further to the intestines, it is expelled harmlessly from the mouth in the form of a said burp.
On the other hand, you’ve got gas build-up that occurs in the digestive tract. Because all kinds of enzymes and acids are reacting with the foodstuff, and a lot of chemical reactions involve the expulsion of gas, this gas then travels, along with the excrement, through the stomach to the small intestine, the large intestine, and onto the rectum, which would explain the flatulence one experiences after consuming, say, beans with cheese or curd.
Also Read: Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?
Now that you know the difference between air or gas being expelled out of the mouth in the form of a burp, or gas being expelled from the lower end of the digestive tract in the form of flatulence, you can understand that gas is a natural by-product of the digestive process and is nothing to be ashamed of. If we are on this whole ‘normalize this and normalize doing that’ train, we might as well normalize burping on the dinner table. It might be rude, but we could have burping competitions to see which one lets off the longest. And they don’t smell either, so there’s a start.
How Can Gas Cause Lower Back Pain?
Remember how gas build-up is a totally natural thing that happens during the digestive process? Well, keep that in mind, because it will be important in explaining why does gas cause back pain. One food enters our stomach, a slew of acids and enzymes are thrown onto it to break it down into smaller pieces and digest it. These are chemical reactions and they produce a lot of by-products, one of which is gas, which is technically at that point still flatulence. This gas usually gets passed on, along with the solid waste, onto the intestines.
However, several medical conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, can cause overproduction and insufficient passage of gas, which causes it to get trapped in the gut. This ‘gas trapped in the gut’ is called bloating and is very common among people who eat much but don’t exercise enough to help the digestive system, causing excess gas to get trapped in the gut.
When this happens, the gas starts to irritate the stomach the lower extremities of the sphincter that connects the stomach to the intestines; thus causing pain in the stomach or the abdomen (as is commonly associated with the presence of high levels of gas in the gut). When pain arises in the stomach,it again radiates to the back, often pressing on the mid-to-lower part of the spinal column, and presenting as pain in the lower or mid-back.
This is in essentiality the explanation of gas cause back pain; it isn’t the back’s problem or an issue with the spinal column, it’s the fact that pain radiates to the adjoining areas and the back is really in close proximity to the lower digestive tract, which is the most affected area should flatulence become a problem.
Flatulence is usually harmless; it is a natural process and must be dealt with as such. But medical problems, like irritable bowel syndrome, or simply bad eating and non-existent exercise habits can also turn this simple biological process into an issue, where pain gets too much to bear and needs to be treated with an antacid or by back-pressing and whatnot.
How to Avoid Back Pain From Gas?
Avoiding back pain due to gas is pretty easy and is actually preventable unless you have a medical condition, for which medical treatment is imperative. If you don’t have a condition and this still happens embarrassingly often, it might be time to switch high-fiber foods, less carbonated drinks, and making changes in exercise and diet in such a way that gas is produced minimally and is dealt away by the digestive system efficiently.
Because our digestive system is equipped to handle the gas, but disorderly eating habits and stuffing your gut way too much than not exercising can cause it to get a little overloaded, thus the flatulence. Get plenty of exercises and make sure you walk after each and every meal, especially after a big meal. This will help your stomach deal with the process more efficiently and easily.