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Do Ulcers Cause Back Pain

In case of repeated back pain an anxiety gets instituted in one's mind as to "Do Ulcers Cause back Pain?"

A simple answer to this anxiety is 'yes'. Peptic Ulcer could be a probable cause for back pain. Before discussing further, it is better to understand the basics of Ulcers.

What is an Ulcer?

An Ulcer is a specific term that signifies any open sore, lesion or break in the skin or in a mucous membrane. A thin tissue that lines the inner surface of body openings such as lining of the stomach and intestines is a mucous membrane. However as a generalized concept or as a most commonly referred to concept, people speak of Ulcer's that occur in the upper digestive system such as Peptic Ulcers. Digestive system comprises of esophagus, stomach, duodenum and intestines. Ulcer's in the stomach are called as gastric ulcer's, and likewise there are duodenal ulcers and esophageal ulcer's. Duodenal ulcers account for 80% cases of Peptic ulcers.

Symptoms of Ulcer's

do ulcers cause back painThere are various symptoms of Ulcers. Most common symptoms are intermittent and irritating pain in the stomach which could transmit to other areas like back or shoulder blades, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating, appetite loss and nausea. Do Ulcers cause Back Pain? Yes. Few other common symptoms include back pain, headache, itching and choking sensation.

Causes of Ulcer's

In the olden days it was generally believed by Physicians that too much stress causes Ulcers. The classic theory was based on the fact that high amount of stress can increase hydrochloric acid production (HCL). This acid is strong enough to hurt protective mucous lining of stomach and as a result causing an ulcer.

Though this theory is still accepted by many Physicians, but nowadays it has also been well established that bacterial infection is the prime cause of Ulcer's in more than 70 to 80 % patients. Bacteria 'Helicobacter Pylori' is the most common bacteria known to cause gastric ulceration.

These bacteria can burrow into the mucous layer of stomach and produce inflammation. Excessive acidic juices generated by stomach due to spicy foods are capable of burning the lining of digestive tract and thereby damaging the digestive system.

Extreme physical and emotional stress is likely to aggravate an existing ulcer, though it is normally not considered as a root cause for ulcer. Besides infection, use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs which is the acronym can also trigger ulcer's. These NSAIDs are rampantly used by people as pain killers for headaches, back pain, sore muscles, menstrual cramps and other similar complaints.

Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen belong to this family of NSAIDs and excessive use of such drugs may prove to be detrimental to stomach lining and cause ulcer's. Over consumption of Alcoholic beverages and heavy smoking habits could pose a risk of damaging the mucosal protection.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ulcers

As a first step towards ulcer diagnosis, any Physician would inquire about the symptoms. Besides the symptoms, the Physician would look for factors from patient's history such as any cases of family history of ulcers or stomach cancers, frequency of alcohol consumption, smoking habits, patient's age, recent weight loss, repeated nausea or vomiting incidences, back pain, history of using anti-inflammatory drugs or other NSAIDs. Apart from the symptoms and patient's history,

Endoscopy is a modern approach to minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure. Endoscopy is also well accepted as one of the best methods of diagnosing ulcers. An Endoscope is a narrow tube which contains a light and tiny camera at its end to study the Patient's digestive system. When this tube is inserted down the Patient's throat the Physician can examine the interior walls of the stomach and duodenum. Endoscope can also carry a small scissor to cut off small sample of mucous membrane for further examination of potential stomach cancer.

Though imaging techniques are not as reliable as Endoscopy but are also used frequently as Patients are more comfortable with this technique. In imaging technique the patient is made to drink a fluid containing barium. Barium is a substance which is opaque and transparent to X-Rays. X-Ray image of Patient's digestive system can show any abnormalities like ulcers that may be present wherein the opaque substance appears as a white patch on the X-ray image. Most of the symptoms of ulcers can be treated with over the counters medications which can relieve the pain, nausea or other general discomfort created by ulcers.

Do Ulcers Cause back Pain? Yes. Ulcers and especially Peptic Ulcers do cause severe back pain. Such pain is likely to happen immediately after eating when some one is suffering from ulcers.

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