Stomach and back pain can be caused by many different things, some of which can be life-threatening. Whenever you have unexplained pain, call your doctor. Symptoms of pancreatitis, for example, are a sudden pain in the abdomen – or stomach – that reaches to the back, and the pain can be worse after eating. Other types of stomach and back pain might not be as serious, such as having a case of gas that may go away with a diet change.
You may be able to treat mild pain at home. For example, if you have pain in your abdomen and sometimes in the back, too, after eating, take an over-the-counter antacid or an H2 blocker and the pain may subside. Do not take ibuprofen, aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicine. Avoid eating fatty, greasy and fried foods. Also, avoid citrus fruits, tomatoes, alcohol, caffeine and soda. If the medicine makes your pain worse, call your doctor.
Stomach and back pain after eating could indicate acute pancreatitis, which is a serious condition. You would feel a pain in your upper abdomen and sometimes in your back that worsens after you eat. The pain may last for days, and you may have swelling in your abdomen, nausea, vomiting, a fever and a rapid pulse. You would need to see a doctor immediately and probably stay in the hospital for several days. Smoking, drinking alcohol and eating fatty foods worsens the condition. Gallstones and heavy alcohol intake contribute to pancreatitis.
Chronic pancreatitis is similar to acute pancreatitis, and the symptoms are similar, only it doesn’t heal. The pain in the abdomen and back may become disabling. As the condition worsens, the abdominal and back pain actually lessens because the pancreas is not working. Weight loss and malnutrition usually occur because the body stops digesting food, meaning that nutrients are not going to the body. Patients with chronic pancreatitis may resume eating a normal diet with the addition of taking enzymes with every meal to aid digestion. The normal diet would consist of nutritious foods according to a menu that a dietitian can design. Typically, frequent, smaller meals are easier to tolerate.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that results in periodic flare-ups. A doctor would diagnosis this disease by examining the large intestine. Eating can cause pain due to diarrhea and gas. With Crohn’s disease, it is helpful to eat small meals and drink small amounts of water throughout the day; avoid popcorn, nuts, seeds, bran and beans; avoid fatty and greasy foods and rich, creamy sauces made from butter or cream; and avoid eating broccoli, cabbage, spicy foods and citrus fruits if they cause you to have gas.