Dec 17, 2018 | Pain, Spinal Health

Back Pain: Looking at the Cause and Effect

Dealing with back pain on its own can be tough enough as it is. But when other issues start to pop up in combination with that pain, it can often feel like to much to handle. You may find yourself wondering if some of these other maladies are connected to your back pain. So, in the interest of clearing up some common questions, we’ve assembled a list of conditions that are sometimes associated with back pain to see if they’re truly linked with each other. You may be surprised at cause-effect relationship between them all!


Back pain can sometimes work in concert with constipation. However, back pain is the symptom rather than the cause. In certain cases, the backup of stool in the colon can result in a dull, lingering discomfort. More severe pain can be traced to unrelated conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or pinched nerves.


Nausea is another issue relating to the digestive tract, and similarly to constipation, the associated back pain is symptomatic and not a trigger for nauseous feelings. A combination of back pain and nausea can be a warning sign for conditions such as biliary colic, appendicitis, kidney stones, or even heart attacks. In women, back pain and nausea are often associated with pregnancy.


Headaches have less to do with back pain, and more to do with neck pain. Cervicogenic headaches are triggered by problems with the neck or cervical spine (C1-4) vertebrae.

Kidney Problems

Differentiating kidney problems from back problems can be tough, since kidney pain often is back pain. It’s worth noting, though, that kidney pain starts relatively high and deep, located under the ribs. This discomfort can be indicative of urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or serious kidney diseases.


This can be seen as a sort of “chicken or the egg” problem – do stress and anxiety cause pain, or does pain cause stress and anxiety? Interestingly enough, it can work both ways. Chronic pain can cause bouts of elevated stress and anxiety, but those who have long suffered anxiety and stress issues sometimes say that these problems manifest as physical pain.

Heartburn/Acid Reflux/Indigestion

If you’ve ever noticed discomfort after eating, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that your gastrointestinal system can cause far-reaching pains. Heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion are all contributors to what is known as “referred pain” – pain experienced in a part of the body that is not the actual problem area.

Shortness of Breath

Physically speaking, chronic back pain does make it harder for the lungs to draw breath. However, it’s worth noting that experiencing back pain and shortness of breath simultaneously may point to other health concerns like pneumonia or scoliosis.


Taking a look across the spectrum of issues associated with back pain, it’s evident that such pain is usually a symptom rather than a cause. Additionally, back pain working in tandem with another health issue can often be a warning sign of a more severe condition. From a medical perspective, it’s important to be certain of the root causes of issues like these, as it can help with the speed and accuracy of diagnoses. If you have been experiencing chronic back pain (either by itself or in concert with other health concerns), please contact Texas Spine Clinic today to schedule an appointment or get your free spinal pain relief kit.

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