Stomach and Back Pain at the Same Time

Jul 7, 2021

For most of us, it’s not uncommon to have an occasional stomachache or acute back pain. But what does it mean if both are happening at the same time? This could be a coincidence, but it may also be concerning to notice two disconnected symptoms. The combination of pains may make daily activities difficult or be distracting. If the pain reaches this level, it may be a good idea to visit an Atlanta MRI center to rule out any serious conditions that could cause both problems at the same time.

Potential Causes of Simultaneous Stomach and Back Pain

While both stomach and back pain at once can often be a coincidence, there are some conditions that are known to cause both. This means that it can be worth visiting a professional to have these symptoms checked to rule out these conditions.


Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can cause upper abdominal pain in addition to back pain, along with vomiting or nausea. Both forms of pain tend to be reduced when you lean forward and to become worse when irritated, especially by sharp movements like coughing. Acute pancreatitis can be caused by a gallstone or high alcohol intake. If this is suspected, you will likely have blood drawn as the first step in testing.

For people with chronic pancreatitis, the pain is often intermittent and occurs in a recognizable pattern, particularly after meals. Other signs of pancreatic issues can include sudden weight loss, fatigue, abdominal bloating, excess gas, or greasy stools.


While pain in the lower right stomach is the primary symptom of appendicitis, many people also cite back pain associated with the condition. It is critical to diagnose appendicitis before the appendix is able to rupture.

Kidney Stones

The pain associated with kidney stones is usually described as beginning in the back and traveling around to the abdomen. In most cases, this is on one side of the body only, as one kidney has the stones. Other symptoms may include vomiting or blood in the urine. If you suspect kidney stones, it is important to seek care at an Atlanta MRI center for an imaging scan to confirm the presence of stones and determine the best method of removal.


Gallstones are hard deposits found inside the gallbladder, and their formation may cause both back and stomach pain. There is no known cause of gallstones, though theories include excess bilirubin and cholesterol in the bile. Stomach pain usually occurs in the upper right abdomen in addition to back pain.

Peptic Ulcers

This occurs when erosions develop in the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. When these erosions cause a hole or perforation, they can cause intense pain in the central or upper left abdomen. This pain often travels to the shoulders and the back as a form of referred pain. When perforation hasn’t occurred, back pain is unlikely to be associated with peptic ulcers.

Other conditions may include inflammation of the kidney known as pyelonephritis or acute inflammation of the gallbladder.

When to See a Doctor

Many of these conditions require proper diagnosis and treatment in order to manage the underlying condition causing your pain. Doctors may need to perform tests like ultrasounds or MRIs to rule out or diagnose these conditions.

The following symptoms may be signs you should visit a doctor or Atlanta MRI center:

  1. Nausea that lasts for days or worsens over time
  2. Pain in the upper right portion of the stomach
  3. Intense stomach pain or itching during pregnancy
  4. Stomach pain that is exacerbated by meals or follows another specific pattern

These symptoms mean you should seek emergency care:

  1. Pale stool, or stomach pain accompanied by a fever
  2. Intense stomach pain that feels unbearable
  3. Intense back pain that radiates to the groin

Treating Back and Stomach Pain

In order to properly relieve your pain, a proper diagnosis will be important. A doctor will listen to you describe your symptoms and medical history to try and determine potential causes and will then use a series of tests to rule out serious issues. These tests may include blood tests, ultrasounds, endoscopies, X-rays, or urine tests. You may also be sent to an Atlanta MRI center for more advanced imaging.

At AICA Orthopedics, our onsite imaging site is readily available and works with a range of doctors, giving you access to various forms of treatment depending on your diagnosis. If you are experiencing a combination of stomach and back pain, call AICA Orthopedics today.


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