Back Pain After Eating: Underlying Causes & Associated Symptoms

Back pain is a common medical problem and almost everyone may have suffered from it sometime in their lifetime. There are several different causes of back pain. Back pain after eating a meal usually has been associated with problems pertaining to gastrointestinal tract. Some of the causes may be as minor as eating a large meal to more serious medical conditions such as stomach ulcer or pancreatitis.

The intensity of pain and location of pain in back may depend on the underlying cause. A single episode of pain in back after eating may not be as worrisome.

But if it is a recurrent phenomenon, it has to be properly diagnosed to ascertain whether the problem is due to some serious gastrointestinal cause. Once the condition is diagnosed, treatment becomes easier. Treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes etc.

Underlying Causes & Symptoms Of Back Pain After Eating

Actually back pain resulting after eating is a referred pain. It is a symptom of the underlying disease, mainly associated with gastrointestinal tract. Usually the pain in such cases radiates from abdomen to back. The intensity and location may vary. With each condition there are unique concomitant symptoms which may help to identify the cause after eating a meal.

Some of the common causes are as follows:

  • Peptic ulcer: Back pain is often a referred pain caused due to an ulcer in the back wall of stomach or in the first part of duodenum (small intestine). It occurs soon after you eat food. Generally the pain is in the center of back. You can pinpoint the pain with finger. There may be other symptoms such as heartburn, spiting or blood in vomits, weight loss etc. There are several causes of peptic ulcer such as bacteria, stress, frequent use of anti inflammatory medicines, smoking, eating excessive spicy food etc.
  • Gallbladder issues: Gallbladder is a tiny bag like structure attached to liver which takes part in some of the functions of liver. If the gallbladder has stones in it, you may experience gallstone colic which also radiates in the back after eating a meal. There may be other associated symptoms such as vomiting, chest pain, and formation of gasses in abdomen. Since gallbladder plays an important role in digestion, the pain may become worse after your meals.
  • Pancreatitis: It is a serious medical condition where the pancreas is inflamed. Chronic alcoholism and gallstones are two important causes of pancreatitis, besides cancer of pancreas. Pancreatic pain radiates to back, especially in the middle of two shoulder blades. Patient may complain of pain in back after eating food. The other symptoms include recurrent vomiting, pain in upper abdomen, fast pulse and heart rate, fever. Pancreatitis is a serious disease and you should immediately consult your doctor or go to an emergency room.
  • Appendicitis: It is a condition where the appendix is inflamed. The pain is mainly in the right side of lower abdomen; however, occasionally this may radiate to back especially after eating. Appendicitis pain is severe in intensity together with other symptoms such as vomiting, fever, tenderness over abdomen. This is also a serious condition and it requires quick medical attention as there are chances of bursting of appendix.