Can Back Pain Cause Your Stomach to Swell? 7 Common Causes

Medically Reviewed on 12/7/2022
Can Back Pain Cause Your Stomach to Swell
Back pain and bloating often go hand in hand and can be caused by a wide range of conditions

Back pain associated with serious problems such as herniated discs can lead to bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive symptoms.

Back pain and bloating can be alarming, especially when they occur together. However, there are many potential causes, some of which are minor and easily treated.

7 common causes of back pain and bloating

1. Herniated disc

A herniated disc can cause severe back pain. This pain can radiate to the abdomen, leading to bloating and discomfort.

2. Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause various symptoms, including abdominal bloating and back pain. Bloating mainly occurs when the uterus expands and puts pressure on the intestine. Additionally, weight gain can put pressure on the lower back, leading to pain.

Some women fail to distinguish between backache, bloating, and contractions. Most symptoms of pregnancy typically clear up after delivery and are nothing to be worried about. For any worrisome symptoms, consult your gynecologist.

3. Gas 

Gas is rarely a major annoyance, but at times, it can be intense enough to cause severe pain and a swollen stomach. This pain can radiate to the back.

Some gastrointestinal issues can cause intense gas and muscle pain that can affect the lower back.

4. Stress

Stress can have an impact on your physical health, sometimes causing both back pain and stomach swelling. When under stress, you may find yourself unconsciously tensing your muscles, which can cause back pain. Chronic stress can also lead to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome which causes abdominal bloating.

5. Kidney problems

Kidney stones and infections are common causes of back pain and bloating. 

  • Kidney stones start with intense pain on one side of the lower back that can radiate to the stomach, leading to abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Kidney infections cause pain in the back, side, or groin which can lead to bloating or a feeling of pressure in the abdomen.

6. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Bloating and back pain are some of the most common symptoms of PMS. Low estrogen and progesterone levels can cause bloating, and uterine contractions and menstrual cramping can cause lower back aches.

7. Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when a mass of tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of it, mostly in the ovaries, fallopian tubes (tubes present in the uterus), vagina, cervix, or the intestine, leading to pain and discomfort in the stomach and lower back area.

Inflammation and endometrial cysts can also result in stomach bloating and pressure on the lower back.

What are serious causes of back pain and bloating?

In some cases, back pain and bloating can be a sign of more serious medical problems, which can include:

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in less than 1% of women and presents with both bloating and lower back pain as primary symptoms. Other signs of ovarian cancer include:

  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Feelings of pressure or pain in the abdomen
  • Pain and dull ache in the lower back

Pancreatic cancer

Although difficult to diagnose, pancreatic cancer often causes bloating and pain in the lower back. Pancreatic cancer can also cause problems with digestion, resulting in gas. Excess fluid can lead to abdominal swelling and distension

Pancreatic tumors can put pressure on the nerves or organs near the pancreas, causing pain in the abdominal and lower back area.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)

Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a life-threatening condition in which the lower area of the aorta suddenly ruptures. A ruptured aorta can cause sudden, severe back pain which is sometimes accompanied by abdominal bloating.

What are treatment options for back pain and bloating?

Treatment for back pain and stomach swelling depends on the cause. In many cases, treating the underlying condition can help resolve the symptoms. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed for kidney and other infections that cause bloating and lower back aches.

Your doctor may do the following to diagnose the exact cause:

  • Take a complete medical history
  • Press on your abdomen or back to assess pain levels and location
  • Order blood tests or imaging scans of the stomach and back


Nearly everyone has low back pain at some time during their life. See Answer

When should you be worried about back pain and a swollen stomach?

Although abdominal bloating and backaches are often minor issues, they can be serious if you are also experiencing the following symptoms:

Medically Reviewed on 12/7/2022
Image Source: Getty image

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