Can ulcer cause back pain?

Do you ever feel like your back is on fire? Like there’s a little gremlin sitting in there with a blowtorch, just tindering away at your insides? Well, my friend, you might be suffering from an ulcer. And as it turns out, ulcers can actually cause back pain. Who knew?!

What is an ulcer anyway?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how ulcers and back pain are linked (I know that’s what you’re here for), let’s first talk about what an ulcer actually is.

An ulcer is essentially a sore that forms in the lining of either your stomach or small intestine. They occur when the protective layer of mucus in these areas breaks down due to excess acid production or bacterial infection. Fun stuff!

Symptoms can include abdominal pain or discomfort (surprise surprise), feeling bloated after meals, nausea and vomiting (yay), loss of appetite (double yay) and unexplained weight loss (just what I always wanted).

How does an ulcer cause back pain?

Now, onto the main event: how does this painful little bugger lead to those unwelcome sensations we call “backache”?

Well my dear reader, it all comes down to something called “referred” pain.

Referred pain occurs when nerves become confused about where exactly they should be sending signals from. In some cases – such as with ulcers – this confusion results in sensory signals being sent from one area of the body (the stomach) to another seemingly unrelated area (like, say…your lower/mid-back region).

When this happens, you may experience discomfort or even sharp pains around your shoulder blades or spine.

So wait…how common is this?

Not super common! It’s worth mentioning that experiencing referred back sensitivity isn’t necessarily associated with every single case of someone developing an ulcer.

That being said, back pain caused by an ulcer can definitely occur – so if you’ve been experiencing the symptoms described above as well as some out-of-the-ordinary aches and pains in your back, it might be worth getting checked out for.

What are some other possible causes of back pain?

Of course, just because you’re experiencing discomfort or ache around your spine doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an ulcer. Backaches can have any number of root sources – including:

  • Poor posture or alignment
  • Muscle strains/sprains (OW)
  • Injuries (like bad falls)
  • Issues with the spinal discs (not fun)
  • Arthritis

YIKES! That’s a lot of things to worry about. The good news is that many cases of acute lower/mid-back anguish resolve on their own within a few days/weeks…but persistent or chronic agony shouldn’t be ignored.

And what exactly should I do about my back pain then?

There isn’t really one perfect answer to this question; it all depends on what’s causing your specific discomfort! Some common at-home remedies include heat therapy (think hot water bottles), anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen (seriously though, talk to your doc before starting any new medication regimen!), and gentle stretches/exercise focused on strengthening those core muscles.

If after trying these interventions you’re still noticing no relief…then it’s likely time to schedule an appointment with either your primary care physician or maybe even consider consulting with a specialist who deals specifically with musculoskeletal medicine (fancy!).

In general: don’t just ignore signs like headaches and/or muscle cramps potentially associated with ulcers…or “random” spasms near delicate joints/lower lumbar region! Our bodies tell us lots through little hints over/in their everyday functions!


So there ya have it folks – ulcers can in fact cause back pain. But it’s not really all that common and isn’t always exclusive to that condition either…so:

If you’re experiencing some lower/mid-back anxiety, there could be a number of different causes at play (including issues with your GI tract). If the pains persist or are accompanied by additional symptoms (if ‘fun’ is included proceed as scheduled, AKA contact a medical expert!).

With time and patience though, most cases of back discomfort tend to resolve on their own. Just remember to keep an open line of communication w/your doc concerning ANYhealth-related questions/concerns.

Because one thing’s for sure: none of us want those little muscle gremlins wreaking havoc inside our precious bodies!

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