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Can Acid Reflux Cause Back Pain? - Premier Pain Centers

Can acid reflux cause back pain? Acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn, is one thing that everyone is familiar with; people experience this very often. It is a common discomfort experienced by individuals and can be easily removed using antacids. 

But if antacids don't seem to work, they could turn into gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. If you are known to have this problem along with back pain, the condition may be referred to as GERD back pain.

Your mind must be racked to find answers about GERD and how it relates to back pain. No need to panic; we are here with the answers. Read on to learn what GERD is, its connection to back pain, and effective treatment methods.

Some Causes of Acid Reflux and Back Pain

There are several causes of acid reflux and back pain:

These include:

  • Posture: If you slouch while eating, it can cause back pain and acid reflux. Consider sitting upright when eating.

  • Pregnancy: You are also more likely to experience back pain with acid reflux after eating due to pressure on your stomach and posture while eating.

  • Ulcers: Abdominal pain, bloating, and gas are symptoms of a peptic ulcer. It may be accompanied by back pain and should be examined by a doctor.

  • Heartburn: A burning sensation in the chest and pain in the middle of the back are symptoms of heartburn and GERD.

  • Obesity: being overweight puts pressure on your stomach and can cause GERD.

  • Eating late at night: eating a large meal and then lying down can trigger a case of acid reflux. However, Dorsalgia may also be a cause.

  • Physical injury: an injury that prevents the lower esophageal sphincter from working properly can make acid reflux more likely.

10 Common Symptoms

Can acid reflux cause back pain? Well, Here are some symptoms—both familiar and unusual—that could mean you have acid reflux.

  • You have a sharp pain in your chest

  • Your pain is worse when you lie down

  • You have a bitter taste in your mouth

  • You sound like you have a cold

  • Your throat hurts

  • Dead legs feeling

  • You have a nagging cough

  • Your asthma kicks in – often

  • Your mouth suddenly fills with saliva

  • You have difficulty swallowing

Factors That Trigger Acid Reflux Back Pain

Experiencing back pain due to acid reflux? Explore comprehensive pain management in Dallas for effective relief and tailored solutions. Here are some factors of trigger acid reflux back pain:

  • Food Intake

As found out, this disease is related to the stomach, and our diet most likely affects it. Eating food that triggers acid reflux in GERD can worsen its symptoms, i.e. people who suffer from back pain with this condition have low mobility and an increased appetite.

Some foods that cause acid reflux are fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, etc. Back pain caused by acid reflux in GERD patients is not permanent. Will come and go, most likely to appear at mealtime (due to triggering food items).

  • NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

A category of pain medication that many GERD patients take for back pain treatments in Lancaster. Most of them do not realize that taking these pills e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. will successfully relieve their pain, but subsequently irritate the stomach lining and sensitize it to stomach acid.

As long as patients' symptoms do not increase after taking NSAIDs, it is okay to use them. But if so, then it is recommended to get a consultation. Your best pain doctor in Dallas will prescribe alternatives to treat your back pain and not worsen it.

  • Stress

When stress hormones increase in the body, stomach acid levels change and prostaglandin production decreases. It is a lipid-like compound that mimics hormones and protects the stomach from acid.

Other Reasons For Pain Between The Shoulder Blades

While GERD may be the likely culprit in cases that involve chronic chest pain, there are other causes that the patient and their doctor should consider:

1. Muscle Strain And Active Injury

One of the most common causes of pain between the shoulder blades is increased stress and strain on the muscle group in this area. Strenuous or intense activities such as exercise, heavy lifting, sudden movements, and other activities can also trigger this pain.

Active injuries such as spinal fractures, slipped discs, or other trauma can also trigger chest pain. While problems like these often resolve once the underlying condition has been treated, there are rare cases where pain persists after the healing process. In these cases, physical therapy or surgery may be considered a more permanent treatment option.

2. Heart Attack

Shortness of breath and intense and acute chest pain can be symptoms of a heart attack. Women are particularly prone to this type of chest pain, although factors such as family history and predisposition to a heart attack also play a role. These situations will almost always require immediate medical attention and should never be ignored.

3. Some Types Of Cancer

Lymphomas, esophageal cancer, and lung cancer can cause acute and chronic chest pain, especially if the tumor is large enough to put significant pressure on a muscle or nerve group. Cancers that spread to the bones can also cause a significant amount of pain between the shoulder blades, although this often means that these conditions have progressed to the middle to late stages of development.

4. Osteoarthritis

A typical cause of chest pain (especially in older adults) is osteoarthritis, where the cartilage surrounding the joints in the neck, spine, or ribs breaks down. This usually causes chronic chest pain in many patients, although it can present as acute pain if caught early. As a degenerative disability, physical therapy and a preventative lifestyle are some of the best ways to treat it.

5. Incorrect Sleeping Position

Since the spine has a natural curve, an incorrect sleeping position can throw it out of balance and cause pain when you wake up. This is especially noticeable in people who like to sleep on their stomachs or sides, as these are the positions least conducive to proper spinal alignment.

If you experience acute or chronic pain between your shoulder blades that worsens when you wake up, your spine may be misaligned from being stuck in the wrong sleeping position for so long. Pain physicians in Dallas will usually recommend better sleep aids such as mattresses or pillows, although some severe cases may require physical therapy and surgery.

Treatment Of Back Pain Caused By Acid Reflux

Can acid reflux cause back pain? Your impulse with acid reflux nausea may be to lie down.

Lying down can actually make your acid reflux worse, so consider finding a calm, quiet place to sit for a while instead. So to relieve back pain caused by acid reflux, improve your posture when sitting to stretch your diaphragm.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Stay hydrated

  • Quit smoking

  • Avoid food triggers (these can include citrus, spicy foods, etc.)

  • Eat smaller meals

  • Sit up straight when eating

  • Don’t eat a large meal within two hours of lying down or going to bed

  • Sleep with your head elevated

  • Eliminate caffeine from your diet

  • Eliminate alcohol from your diet


Some medications can be helpful in treating acid reflux, including those that are over the counter and some that you may need a prescription to get.

  • Antacids: Mylanta, Rolaids, and Tums are antacids that neutralize stomach acid and can quickly and effectively relieve your symptoms. You can buy antacids without a prescription. You should consider seeing a pain doctor in Dallas if acid reflux recurs regularly.

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): Take PPIs such as Prevacid, Nexium, and Prilosec l to reduce stomach acid and allow the lining of the esophagus to heal.

  • H-2-receptor blockers: Zantac 360, Pepcid, Tagamet, and Axid are some H-2-receptor blockers that reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces. They don't work as quickly as antacids, but they can reduce stomach acid for up to 12 hours.

Home Remedies

There are also some home remedies that may be helpful, including the following:

  • Chewing Gum: Chewing gum for acid reflux can increase swallowing frequency. This helps eliminate reflux in the esophagus.

  • Take Ginger: Ginger is a key ingredient used in Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory effects. Taking a small amount of ginger can help settle your stomach. Consider soaking ginger root, taking supplements, or chewing ginger.


Acid reflux can indeed cause back pain as a result of the acidic contents of the stomach irritating the esophageal lining and radiating to the back. In order to alleviate this discomfort, it is recommended to maintain a healthy diet, avoid triggering foods and drinks, and seek medical treatment if symptoms persist. 

It is also important to practice good posture and avoid activities that put unnecessary pressure on the back. By following these tips, individuals with acid reflux can reduce their back pain and improve their overall quality of life. Take control of your health today and make the necessary changes for a comfortable tomorrow!

Dr. Rao K. Ali M.D.

Dr. Rao Ali, a board-certified pain management physician, leads the clinic, which specializes in nonsurgical treatment. The physician has experience in the emergency room as well as training in pain management and rehabilitation. As a personal physician, he works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that will minimize or eliminate their pain. Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, Pain Management In Dallas, PA provides a comprehensive range of services. These services include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, migraines, and many others.