Back pain and gas can sometimes co-occur. Common causes include hormonal changes, back injuries, or gas. Rest and home remedies can often treat minor cases, but some causes of gas and back pain require medical assistance.

Although back pain and bloating are fairly common symptoms, it is a good idea to see a doctor if they last more than a few days.

Although the most common causes of back pain and bloating are often harmless, some of the less common reasons can be life threatening.

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Below are common causes of back pain and gas. A doctor often checks for these conditions before looking for more severe causes.

Hormonal changes

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, and changes to hormone levels can have a profound effect on the body. For example, estrogen changes are associated with muscular and joint pain, gastrointestinal discomfort, and gas.

A 2015 study found that close to 84% of surveyed women experienced pain during their period, while 16% specifically had lower back pain. Other studies have also found that lower back pain is common during menopause.

Increases in the hormone progesterone – which happens during the latter stages of periods – can also decrease the passage of food through the stomach, causing trapped gas.

People undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also experience gas and pain. They should discuss these symptoms with a doctor.

Learn more about hormonal changes and bloating here.


Sometimes, pregnancy causes bloating, constipation, and gas alongside back pain. Pregnancy causes rapid hormonal changes that can affect gastrointestinal function, as noted above. However, as the pregnancy progresses, the uterus also expands and compresses the organs. This can cause further digestive discomforts such as gas and bloating.

Back pain during pregnancy is very common. During pregnancy, ligaments in the body can become weaker, and the additional weight of the growing pregnancy can place a significant burden on a person’s lower back.

Learn more about gas pain and pregnancy here.

Back injuries

Injuries to the back such as spinal cord injuries and herniated discs can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, in addition to the direct pain of injury.

Gastrointestinal symptoms from these occurrences include:

Learn more about spinal injuries and their effects on the digestive system here.


Stress changes the body, not just the mind. Intense stress or anxiety can trigger both back pain and stomach discomfort, including bloating.

Stress can cause muscle stiffness, inflammation, and an increased sensitivity to pain. An analysis of more than 8,000 people in South Korea found that those living with severe stress had an almost three-fold increase in lower back pain incidence.

Heightened stress can also slow down digestion, leading to trapped gas and indigestion, and worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The following issues may also cause back pain and bloating but are much less common:

Although rare, these causes and conditions require prompt treatment. Anyone experiencing severe pain or who thinks they are at risk for a rare cause should see a doctor immediately.

Can gas cause back pain?

Severe gas can produce intense pain across the abdomen. This pain can radiate to the back, causing a pain sensation in the back, although the pain does not directly occur there.

Abdominal gas and back pain often resolve independently, and in some cases, the symptoms may be unrelated.

However, people should contact a doctor if the pain does not go away after a few days and should go to the emergency room if:

  • the pain is unbearable and comes on suddenly
  • the pain is accompanied by bleeding from the rectum
  • they have a severe medical condition, such as liver failure
  • they have recently suffered a serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury

Accurate diagnosis is essential to identifying the cause of symptoms and planning treatment accordingly.

For example, minor GI complaints may resolve with rest and dietary changes, and symptoms from pregnancy will often resolve some time after giving birth.

More severe causes of back pain and gas, such as liver failure and appendicitis, require surgery, and bacterial infections will require antibiotics.

There are some home remedies that a person can try to ease back pain and bloating. If the problem is a minor one, such as trapped gas, it is usually safe to manage symptoms at home.

However, if symptoms are due to a serious condition, such as liver failure, it is essential to talk to a doctor before trying any home remedies.

Strategies that might help include:

Learn more about home remedies for trapped gas here.

Many cases of bloating and back pain resolve independently. Some, such as those due to kidney infections or appendicitis, require treatment but can easily be cured with medical care. Managing symptoms will require an ongoing approach in some cases.

Cancer, liver failure, and other serious disorders are more difficult to treat. Early intervention and prompt medical care improve the outlook in all cases.

Abdominal bloating and back pain are widespread complaints with many possible causes. Unless the pain is intense or accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it is usually safe to see if symptoms disappear independently.

However, do not self-diagnose. Only a healthcare professional can determine the cause of the pain. With prompt treatment, even serious and life threatening conditions can improve.