Feeling Back Pain When Hungry? Do Not Avoid The 4 Red Flags

About a month ago, my roommate decided to go on an extreme diet. Instead of cutting out the junk foods and eating healthy, she started fasting without following any proper eating window. And within a week, her struggle paid off.

She started feeling sharp back pain when hungry. The more she resisted herself from eating, the pain grew more intense. Within two weeks, she was back in her usual food habit, and magically, the pain was gone.

Well, my friend is not the only one who experiences back pain on an empty stomach. Even my younger sibling complains of having body aches when hungry.

And of course numerous patient come to me asking why does my lower back hurt when I’m hungry.

Is there truly any relation between diet and back pain? Can being hungry cause back pain? If yes, is it a threat to our health? I asked the same questions to the teachers of my medical school. I am writing down their answers in the following article.

Why Do People Experience Back Pain When Hungry?

We often think back pain is only for old buddies or those who spend hours sitting at a desk. But the truth is, there are many more reasons why your back might hurt. For example, a delayed meal is one of the classic factors that lead to backache.

Pain in your back is mainly associated with neurological or musculoskeletal issues. But if you are experiencing the achings on an empty stomach, chances are, the pain is linked to your unfit meal plans.

Generally, sharp pain in the right/left upper quadrant or lower right/left back when hungry is the indication of the following health conditions,

  1. Acid peptic disease
  2. Duodenal ulceration
  3. Inflammation of the gallbladder
  4. Gastritis

In these cases, you will feel the pain on an empty stomach. After having the meal, the struggle will vanish. 

Generally, when you are late in your meals, the stomach hurts, you feel pain in your abdomen, or you have heartburn. But it is not mandatory for everyone to experience the same symptoms. Remember, each body may react differently to a given condition.

However, sometimes, your shoulder blades or other quadrants of your back may hurt when hungry. Those pains are mostly not linked to peptic acid, gastritis, or ulceration.

In any case, you can consult a gastroenterologist if you are in doubt.

Can Hunger Pains Cause Back Pain?

Hunger pangs or hunger pains, whatever you call, it feels the worst. Usually, when you have an empty stomach for several hours, your biological system gives you signals with those punches in your tummy.

Generally, when you are hungry, your stomach muscles contract. It gives you a gnawing sensation and rumbling inside the tummy. In most cases, the whole condition returns to usual once you eat.

Can hunger cause back pain? Sometimes, hunger pains radiating to back we have an empty stomach. We assume that hunger pain is the one behind our sufferings. Is the allegation true?

Most experts believe there is hardly any relationship between hunger pangs and back pain. But of course, both the conditions can share some similar causes.

Take a look at the following reasons why you might feel hunger pains,

  • Empty stomach
  • Brain’s desire to eat food
  • Surrounding
  • Ulcer
  • Acid reflux
  • Lack of sleep
  • Mental state
  • Dehydration
  • Hormone
  • Quality or quantity of consumed foods

You can easily see, an empty stomach is not always the reason behind hunger pangs. On the other hand, back pain in hunger is caused due to gastritis, peptic acid, and ulcer.

Hence, there is no evidence that your hunger pain and backache are linked together. But yes, if your stomach pangs are also associated with acid reflux or ulcer, you may feel a dull ache in both your stomach and back.

Home Remedies For Back Pain When Hungry

Can not eating give you back pain? The straightforward answer is YES. In most cases, the sharp ache in your upper and lower back in an empty stomach has an indirect or direct link to peptic acid, ulcer, and gastritis.

Usually, we tend to try a modified lifestyle before relying on serious medications. To some extent, this habit is appreciable.

man is feeling back pain when hungry
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

If a peptic ulcer or gastritis is causing you back pain in an empty tummy, you can go for home remedies. But of course, in severe conditions, visiting a doctor will be much more effective.

However, you will find lower and upper left side back pain home remedy on the web to keep the pain under control. Here I am suggesting a few lifestyle and diet tips that might reduce the frequency and intensity of your back pain. Feel free to consult an expert before adopting any changes.

  1. Do not starve yourself intentionally. If you are trying weight-loss strategies, follow a proper diet chart. Talk to your nutritionist and elaborate on your physical conditions.
  2. Include anti-inflammatory food items in your meals to avoid lower and upper back inflammation.
  3. Foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, buttermilk, etc., are beneficial for peptic ulcers and gastritis.
  4. Researches have shown that garlic or garlic supplements are beneficial to reduce your ulcer or gastritis symptoms. Eating garlic supplements can cause health hazards to some people. Particularly, if you are on warfarin or aspirin, ask your doctor before you take any supplements.
  5. Honey is another game-changer in the ulcer and gastritis condition. It will soothe your stomach ache and keep you healthy. As long as you have a healthy blood sugar level, enjoying honey in green tea or warm water is okay for you.

Extra Tips

  • Take lighter meals
  • Quit smoking
  • Include fiber in your meals
  • Limit the consumption of caffeine, salt, spice, chocolates, and junk foods.
  • Do not take mental stress. Yoga and meditation can help you calm your brain and release any tension in upper back and lower back.

Why Is My Stomach Bloated And My Back Hurts?

I once had a bloated abdomen, and it was a terrible experience. I can only imagine how worse the condition will get if it comes with back pain.

A bloated abdomen with a backache is a common health problem. In most cases, this condition is not severe. But in a few, it can be life-threatening. So, what causes stomach bloating with back pain?

Doctors believe several health conditions can lead to abdominal bloating and backache. Such as,

  • Back injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Menstruation
  • PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
  • Gallstone
  • Endometriosis
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Kidney stone
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pancreatitis
  • UTI (Urinary tract infection)
  • Spinal injuries
  • Celiac disease
  • Liver disorder
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms, etc.

I beg you an apology if I have scared you with the above list of diseases. Maybe the stomach bloating with the backache you are facing is temporary. But it is always safe to know the exact cause. There is no harm in consulting with your doctor about your condition and seeking his opinion.

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Am Full?

You can not be more wrong if you think only aging, sitting at a desk for a long time, or an empty tummy leads your back to ache. I have encountered many people who complain of mild back pain right after eating their meals.

We may not take our back pain seriously, but sometimes, it can be the symptom of severe disease. Doctors suggest if your back hurts after eating, you may be suffering from any of the following health conditions,

1. Heart Attack

People have a heart attack when the heart can not pump blood effortlessly. The struggle may radiate from the heart to your back and neck. In case of a heart attack, the other symptoms along with the back pain are,

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, arm, and chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

2. Bad Posture

Poor posture is one of the common reasons why our back hurts. Sitting hunched over the meals or carrying a bad body posture can lead to back pain any time of the day. In this case, you don’t need to worry about back pain when hungry.

3. Ulcer, Gastritis, Heartburn

People with ulcers or GERD may feel back pain after having a meal. The condition gets worse if they consume inflammatory food items. A sore throat, bloated stomach, and mild pain in the abdomen are the signs of having ulcer or gastritis.

4. Kidney Infection

Back pain near one or both sides of the kidneys can be a sign of kidney infection. The other symptoms of the condition are,

  • Fever
  • Abdomen pain
  • Blood with urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea, etc

Treat any sign of kidney infection with urgency. Do not waste your time thinking about some home remedies. Consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Why Do I Feel Pain When I Am Hungry?

The pain you are referring to is often known as hunger pangs. The common symptoms of this condition are,

  • Upper back pain in the left side of the abdomen
  • A gnawing and rumbling sensation inside your tummy
  • An emptiness in the stomach
  • Contraction in the stomach muscles
  • Upper back pain and vomiting

This pain in your stomach or abdomen will not always indicate hunger. Sometimes, it can be because of your anxiety, sleep deprivation, or unhealthy lifestyle. With a change in your lifestyle, you can surely overcome the condition.

couple with a dog having pizza to avoid back pain when hungry
Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

However, if you experience heartburn or chest pain when hungry, you may be suffering from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). If you often delay your meals, then this condition is more common for you. Generally, empty stomachs and acid reflux are the primary causes of GERD that lead to upper back pain due to gas.

Taking common antacids, H2 blockers with antiemetics may heal your GERD upper back pain. These medications may also come in handy if you feel lower and upper back pain when hungry. I recommend you visit a gastroenterologist and follow his prescription.

N.B: Consult a professional before taking any pills.

Can Weight Loss And Poor Diet Cause Back Pain?

Did you realize why my roommate suffered back pain in her weight loss journey? Her condition could be linked to gastritis or acid reflux. However, there is another theory related to inadequate dietary and weight loss plans.

People with zero diet knowledge often assume that starving the body will burn the fat. It sounds silly and unhealthy. The simple trick to lose weight is to follow the ‘calories in vs. calories out’ technique.

When you starve instead of healthy dieting, your body and whole immune system get weaker. Your bones, muscle structure, and tissues start degenerating. It can cause muscular imbalance, spinal deviation, and decreased bone density. And, like my roommate, intolerable back pain from not eating enough.

Weaker bones and tissues often cause spinal misalignments and poor body posture. Well, experiencing back pain with these conditions is not so surprising.

When Back Pain May Be a Medical Emergency?

Back pain is not something you should ignore. The short-term backaches are mostly non-emergent. But if you are feeling the pain more frequently, consulting a doctor will be a smart move.

When you ignore chronic back pain for a long time, it can cause more damage to you. In severe conditions, you might have to seek a medical emergency. Here are the red flags for back pain:

  • Sharp pain in the back
  • Shooting pain in upper back and lower back
  • Discomfort and weakness
  • More frequent backache
  • Radiating pain
  • High fever
  • Upper back pain radiating to arms
  • Sudden weakness in legs
  • Uncontrolled bladder function
  • Stomach ache

FAQ

Can Hunger Pains Make Your Back Hurt?

Yes, hunger pains can make your back hurt like any regular pain. It can cause both lower and mid back muscle strain that will lead to sever ache on your lower back and pain in upper back between shoulder blades.

Why Do I Feel Pain When I am Hungry?

Hunger can trigger sever pain if you have GERD or other gastrointestinal issues. Secretion of digestive juices in the empty stomach generate abdominal, lower, and upper back cramps. Besides, if you are hungry the body will malfunction die to the lack of water and nutrients. And it can also initiate pain across upper back, shoulder, and arms.

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Diet?

If your back pain goes away after eating, it means it’s the diet that is affecting the ache on your rear portion. The frequency of meals, portion, and nutritional value of each meal can significantly impact the upper and lower back pain when hungry.

Can Diet Affect Backache?

Yes, it can. Too much oily food, foods with excess preservatives and trans-fat can instigate backache if you already have GERD or gastrointestinal issues. Even issues in your diet can trigger upper back pain while sleeping.

Final Thoughts

Having upper and lower back pain when hungry or full is mainly linked with food habits, gastritis, and peptic acid. However, there can be many more reasons why your back is hurting. As a health-conscious person, you should not ignore your backache and consult a doctor immediately.

SM Kamal Hasan

Dr. SM Kamal Hasan, MBBS(Medicine), Rangpur Medical College and Hospital Rangpur- Dinajpur Highway, Cantt, Near Central Jail, Rangpur 5400, Bangladesh

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