What Is a Bloated Stomach & Lower Left Back Pain?

Intro
What Is a Bloated Stomach & Lower Left Back Pain?thumbnail
There are several causes of lower back pain and abdominal bloating. (Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

According to Women's Fitness, “a bloated stomach is often caused by a sudden increase in fiber from vegetables, fruits and beans.” If you reduce your intake of these foods, the bloated feeling should disappear.

Low back pain is a common complaint and typically resolves itself within a few days to a few weeks. However, if it doesn't, you should seek medical care. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, Americans spend at least $50 billion a year on lower back pain problems. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma or a disorder, such as arthritis.

Lower back pain. (Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Definitions

A bloated stomach, also called abdominal bloating, is defined as an abnormal swelling of the abdominal area. The abdomen is larger than normal.

Lower back pain is defined as any pain or discomfort felt in the lower back area. It can be described as sharp, dull, achy, acute or chronic.

Bloated. (Photo: Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Symptoms

Symptoms of a bloated stomach include a feeling of fullness, tightness in the region, gas, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or even bloody or dark stools. Other symptoms include swallowing air, burping, indigestion, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and breathing problems.

According to Medline Plus, "you may have a tingling or burning sensation, a dull achy feeling, or sharp pain. Depending on the cause, you also may have weakness in your legs or feet." Other symptoms include limited flexibility, limited range of motion or an inability to stand up straight. Additionally, the pain may range from a muscle ache or spasm to a shooting or stabbing pain.

Excessive water intake is one possible cause. (Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Causes

There are many causes of abdominal bloating, including overeating, excessive gas buildup, lactose intolerance, a food allergy, air swallowing (aerophagia), irritable bowel syndrome (which affects the lower gastrointestinal tract), hernia, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), partial bowel obstruction, constipation, menstruation, diverticulosis and pregnancy. Other causes include contraceptive pills, too much alcohol, too little protein in the diet, carbonated drinks and excessive water intake.

Causes of low back pain include a strained or overused muscle, injury, aging, arthritis, broken vertebrae (compression fractures) or a herniated disc. Other causes include disc disorders (any condition affecting the discs), slipped disc, osteoarthritis (joint degeneration), nerve conditions (such as shingles) or spinal conditions (for example, arthritis or scoliosis). There are several types of back pain, including sciatica (pressure on the sciatic nerve), coccydynia (pain in the tailbone), lower back pain, middle back pain and upper back pain.

Back pain is diagnosed through a series of tests. (Photo: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Exams and Tests

To help determine the cause of abdominal bloating, your doctor will take a complete medical history and likely will request several tests. Those tests could include abdominal X-rays, small intestine X-rays, gastric emptying studies (which measure the stomach's ability to empty its contents), ultrasound, CT scan and MRI.

Back pain is diagnosed through a series of tests, including X-rays, discography (injection of a special contrast dye into a spinal disc), CT scan, MRI, bone scan, ultrasound and an electromyography (which assesses the electrical activity in a nerve).

There are a variety of treatments available. (Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Treatment

Treatment for abdominal bloating will be determined by the cause. For example, if you have appendicitis, the resulting treatment may be surgery. Or if you are diagnosed with short bowel syndrome, treatment could include diet changes, intravenous feedings, vitamin supplements and mineral supplements, as well as medications to ease the abdominal bloating. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), treatment may include avoiding foods that aggravate the symptoms, avoiding overeating or avoiding eating gas-producing or greasy foods that can cause indigestion. Additionally, adding fiber to your diet might help. Some medications help alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

Treatment for back pain could include rest, ice, physical therapy, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory agents), steroid injections, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and mild painkillers.

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