Gastritis, inflammation of the stomach lining, can cause a burning stomach pain (specifically in the upper-left or/and upper-center part of the abdomen). Sometimes it can also be painful enough to radiate elsewhere in the body, such as the back. Fortunately, there are plenty of options (medications and natural ways) for gastritis back pain relief.
Consider gastritis medications (if necessary)!
If your back pain is caused by gastritis, treating your gastritis is a must to relieve the pain quickly.
Gastritis is usually mild and therefore treatment is not always necessary. Depending on the cause and severity of the disease, you may be able to treat it yourself. But if it persists, worsens, or becomes chronic – treatment is necessary to help heal the inflammation and prevent any possible complications from the disease.
What kind of treatment you take is dependent on the specific cause of your gastritis. The common ones are as follows:
Antibiotic medications are necessary if the inflammation of your stomach lining is triggered or caused by bacteria called H. pylori. It’s more difficult for the inflammation to heal if that infection is left untreated.
There are several antibiotics to choose from, such as metronidazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of different types of antibiotics to effectively get rid of the infection. Take the full course of your antibiotic prescription! This is important to completely kill all of the bacteria.
Controlling hydrochloric acid in your stomach is important to prevent the inflammation from worsening.
With other digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid is required to help digest foods. But uncontrolled, high amounts of acid in your stomach can be counterproductive if you have inflammation in your stomach lining.
Over-the-counter medicines for gastritis, antacids for example, can rapidly rebalance the acid in your stomach. Antacids don’t heal the inflammation, but they can provide quick pain relief. To heal the inflammation, your doctor usually also prescribe other acid-suppressing medications – such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine (H2) blockers, which are not only aimed to control hydrochloric acid, but also to encourage healing.
Avoid or limit anti-inflammatory drugs!
This is particularly true if repeated use of anti-inflammatory drugs (such as NSAIDs) is the main culprit of your gastritis. Frequent use of NSAIDs — including ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen — can also make ulcers more likely.
If appropriate, consider switching to different pain relievers that are safe for your stomach lining such as Tylenol or paracetamol. But like any medicines, Tylenol can also cause other side effects – so ask your doctor first to keep safe, particularly if you have liver disease!
The same chemicals of your body that substantiate pain are also important to take care of your stomach lining. Unfortunately, many pain killers block these chemicals to provide pain relief. As a result, the lining of your stomach will become more vulnerable to damage from hydrochloric acids.
About 103,000 people need to go to hospital every year due to side effects from frequent use of common painkillers – according to the American Gastroenterological Association. So even though they are available over-the-counter, this doesn’t mean they have no any risks.
However, it’s not always easy to discontinue using NSAIDs or other common pain killers. This is particularly true if you chronic painful conditions such as arthritis. If you have to take them in long term, drop the dose to the lowest possible!
Gastritis back pain relief: what foods to avoid?
What foods that worsen the pain may vary. But in most cases, gastritis symptoms (including gastritis back pain) will get worse after eating acidic, fatty, and spicy foods.
It’s also worth a try to avoid common culprits that can cause upset stomach such as milk & dairy products, processed foods, fried-fast foods, gluten-containing foods (if you have gluten intolerance /celiac disease), and sugary foods. Excess consumption of these foods can cause abdominal bloating and constipation, which are also often to blame for lower back pain.
Furthermore, cut down on alcohol! Alcohol will impair the healing process of your stomach lining. In fact, excessive alcohol use can cause increased risk of gastritis and other upper digestive disorders. If possible, avoid alcohol at least until your stomach lining recovers completely. Or drink only in moderation – no more than 2 drinks a day (men) or 1 drink a day (women)!
Since there is no single formula for gastritis back pain relief, track the pain and other gastritis symptoms for any other foods that might have an effect – such as cheese, caffeine, soda cans, tomatoes, dehydrated foods, etc.
Limit your bed rest and sleep the right away!
While getting enough rest is vital to help you recover quickly, it’s also important to limit your bed rest. Too much bed rest could be counterproductive. Your pain could be more painful and take longer to relieve if you have more than 3 days of bed rest.
On the other hand, you tend to recover more quickly if you remain active. That’s why it’s much better to get moving and return to your daily activities as quickly as possible when your body is ready to do so! Even simple physical activities like walking can be helpful a lot to boost your recovery. Just make sure to move in moderation and stay away from strenuous activity until your body recovers completely.
Your sleeping position can help, too. Sleeping the right away is not only important to sleep well at night but also crucial to properly support the back during sleep. For example, sleeping on a bad mattress or in bad position can make your gastritis back pain worse.
Here are a few tips to sleep the right away:
- Don’t sleep on your stomach! While this sleep position might help reduce snoring, it’s also taxing for your neck and back. It can cause undue stress on you back. Also, it makes your head and neck more likely to twist during sleep.
- If you sleep on your side, put pillows between your knees. This can help keep your spine in its neutral (natural) position.
- And when you choose sleeping on your back, place pillows under your knees to support your back as well.
Deal with your stress!
Abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, abdominal bloating, shortness of breath, or other discomforts caused by gastritis might make your more stressed. But don’t let your stress take control, because uncontrolled stress can worsen your gastritis symptoms.
Your digestion is a complex process. It is regulated by the enteric nervous system that involves millions of nerves. This nervous system communicates with your central nervous system to control how your digestion works.
Stress can activate the ‘emergency’ response of your central nervous system. This will cause a number of consequences for your digestion, such as:
- Decreased blood flow to your digestion.
- The contractions of digestive muscles can also be affected during stressful times.
- Decreased digestive secretions
- Increased risk of inflammation in your digestive tract, including stomach. This may also make you more vulnerable to infection.
- Stress may cause your bowel to react abnormally, making constipation or diarrhea more likely.
- Increased acid in the stomach, which is bad for your gastritis.
- It can also make other digestive conditions – such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, and celiac disease – get worse!
Many times, stress is inevitable. But you can manage it by preventing factors or situations that can trigger stress and changing how stress affects you.
For examples, plan your day to prepare yourself better for something you want to do. Don’t go with binging or overeating on junk food to deal with your stress. Avoid extremes of fat, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol – your digestion does appreciate a healthy-balanced diet! And sit down & relax when you eat. Also, get enough sleep and exercise regularly!
If necessary, consider relaxation techniques, for examples; yoga, tai-chi, meditation, deep breathing, or biofeedback. Some of these practices may do wonders for your digestion, back, and stress relief.
And quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Cigarette smoking may inhibit your healing, because it provokes inflammation and hurts your stomach lining. Also, it can hurt your back. If compared to non-smokers, smokers are generally more likely to have back pain – according to a study released in the American Journal of Medicine.