What Are the Most Common Causes of Indigestion and Back Pain?

Indigestion and back pain may indicate a heart attack in some women.
A gallbladder attack may be responsible for feelings of indigestion and back pain.
Drinking a mixture of baking soda and water can help with indigestion.
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  • Written By: Sarah Sullins
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
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Indigestion and back pain are often the signs of a gallbladder attack, stomach ulcers, or a heart attack. They can be made worse by stress and anxiety. These symptoms will most likely occur with other symptoms, and their severity will vary.

A gallbladder attack often occurs after a person has eaten a big spicy or greasy meal. It is usually caused by gallstones that have gotten stuck in a duct or by bile that has backed up into the gallbladder. The pain is usually located in the upper part of the back, between the shoulder blades. A person having a gallbladder attach might also experience nausea, vomiting, gas, and pain in the abdomen.

Surgery to remove a gallbladder is sometimes needed to prevent further gallbladder attacks. Medication may also be prescribed as an alternative. The medicine will typically be used to dissolve any gallstones that are present.

Stomach ulcers occur when the lining of the stomach or intestines is damaged by bacteria, the overuse of alcohol, a bad diet, or because of stress. Indigestion is often a symptom of a stomach ulcer. When back pain occurs with it, the stomach ulcer is usually more severe. A person might also experience pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, or in some cases, intestinal bleeding.

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Medication is typically prescribed to help with stomach ulcers, and usually fulfills three functions. It can protect the stomach lining and reduce the amount of acid in a person's stomach. Some medicines also kill bacteria that might be causing the ulcer.

There are many different signs that can indicate a heart attack. Many men have very obvious symptoms: they often experience crushing chest pain and pain that radiates down their arm. Women, however, tend to have symptoms that are masked and can easily be confused with other problems. Indigestion and back pain may indicate a heart attack in some women.

Any symptoms of a heart attack that a person experiences should be taken seriously, and immediate medical attention is required. A medical professional will be able to run tests that will help him decide whether the symptoms indicate that a person is having a heart attack or if indigestion or back pain are signs of another illness.

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Discuss this Article

Kristee
Post 4

My friend went through a period of depression, and he tried to drink away his sorrow. Extreme stress, coupled with alcohol abuse, led to an ulcer.

He said he had a burning pain in his stomach. He spit up blood a time or two, and he had trouble keeping food down. He had constant indigestion, and the pain radiated through to his back.

He finally went to the doctor and got some medication to treat the ulcer. He stopped drinking at his doctor's urging, and his condition did improve.

orangey03
Post 3

@Oceana – If you had an ulcer, you would probably have been experiencing symptoms of indigestion for awhile. Pain caused by a heart attack would be more severe.

Heart disease runs in my family, so I try to eat healthy and exercise often. My grandmother had a heart attack, and she said that she just felt extreme pressure in her stomach and in her back. Right after that, she became really nauseated and lightheaded.

Then, she broke out in a cold sweat. That's when she got my grandfather to take her to the hospital.

Oceana
Post 2

It's pretty scary that stomach and back pain can indicate a heart attack in a woman. I never knew this. I always thought that in both men and women, the signs were chest pain and arm pain originating from that.

So, if I have indigestion and back pain, I could either have an ulcer or gall bladder problems or I could be experiencing a heart attack. I wouldn't know whether to schedule an appointment with my doctor or rush to the emergency room!

I would hate to wind up with a four-figure medical bill from an ER visit, only to find out I had an ulcer. I suppose it would also be bad to wait a few days to see my doctor if I was having a heart attack.

DylanB
Post 1

My friend described his gall bladder attack as a sharp pain in the stomach. He really didn't know what was going on while he was feeling it, but he knew that it was the worst pain he had ever experienced.

He was literally down on the floor screaming in agony. His wife helped him up and took him to the hospital.

He had to have his gall bladder removed. It had developed gangrene, so it was a good thing that he felt this pain.

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