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Back pain and bloating can be a miserable and frightening experience when they occur together. However, the most common causes of back pain and bloating are usually due to relatively harmless, underlying conditions.

Although back pain and bloating are fairly common symptoms, it is a good idea to see a doctor if they last more than a few days.

Although the most common causes of back pain and bloating are relatively harmless, some of the less common reasons can be life-threatening.

Common causes of back pain and bloating

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Back pain and bloating may occur together but may not always be related.
It is worth mentioning that these common causes are by far the most likely reasons that a person will develop back pain and bloating. Causes include:

hormonal shifts
back injuries
gas and gastrointestinal problems
urinary tract infection (UTI)
A doctor will check for these conditions before looking for anything more serious.

Hormonal shifts

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. As hormone levels swing, they can affect the way the body behaves. Both sexes are vulnerable to hormone shifts.

Many women experience back pain or cramping with bloating during or immediately before their period. If the symptoms follow a predictable pattern and do not cause severe problems, they are generally nothing to worry about.

People undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also experience bloating and pain. They should discuss these symptoms with a doctor.


Sometimes, pregnancy causes bloating, constipation, and gas. This is particularly true late in pregnancy when the uterus begins compressing the organs.

The additional weight at the front of the body can also put a strain on the back and hips. Anyone who is pregnant should tell their doctor or midwife about any symptoms they experience, since any conditions or problems that the pregnant woman experiences can affect the baby.

Most causes of bloating and back pain in pregnancy are harmless and typically clear up after delivery.

Back injuries

A wide range of back injuries, ranging from minor muscle sprains and strains to more serious injuries such as herniated discs, can cause back pain.

Sometimes the pain from a herniated disc radiates to other areas of the body, including the abdomen, and can create unusual sensations, such as bloating.

Gas and gastrointestinal (GI) problems

Most of the time, gas is no more than a minor annoyance.

However, gas occasionally produces intense pain that makes the entire abdomen feel full and tender. This pain can radiate to the back, causing back pain and bloating. Minor gastrointestinal problems, such as stomach viruses, may also cause intense gas pain.

Sometimes, GI issues can cause muscle pain. This can happen after straining to have a bowel movement or repeatedly vomiting.


Stress changes the body, not just the mind. Intense stress or anxiety can trigger both back pain and stomach discomfort, including bloating.

Back pain often occurs because some people who are experiencing stress tense their muscles unconsciously. Stomach pain and bloating are more common in people who have stress as well as an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


A UTI can cause back pain when it spreads to the kidneys. UTIs also trigger a frequent need to use the bathroom. Some people find that they feel like they need to use the bathroom again immediately after using it.

This sensation may feel like abdominal bloating, pain, or pressure. Severe kidney infections can also cause vomiting that leads to bloating.

Less common causes of back pain and bloating
The following issues may also cause back pain and bloating, but are much less common:

spinal injuries and disorders
pancreatic cancer
liver disorders
abdominal aortic aneurysms
serious gastrointestinal disorders, such as peritonitis and bowel obstruction
Although rare, these causes and conditions require prompt treatment. Anyone experiencing severe pain or who thinks they are at risk for a rare cause should see a doctor immediately.

When to see a doctor

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A person should consult a doctor if their pain is severe or lasts several days.
Abdominal bloating and back pain are often just minor annoyances that go away on their own. In many cases, the two symptoms are unrelated.

For example, people with chronic pain in their lower back may periodically experience gas that makes their abdomen hurt and their back pain worse.

See a doctor if the pain does not go away on its own after a few days.

Someone should go to the emergency room if:

the pain is unbearable and comes on suddenly
the pain is accompanied by bleeding from the rectum
they have a severe medical condition, such as liver failure
they have recently suffered a serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury
See a doctor within a day if:

there is a fever along with the pain
the pain is getting worse
the pain is different from previous episodes of back or stomach pain