Heartburn And Upper Back Pain
Heartburn And Upper Back Pain
Jan 26, 2010
Heartburn and upper back pain may not appear to be associated with each other, but one can be the cause of the other.
Category: Health & Fitness
Classroom: Causes Of Heartburn - Indigestion Symptoms & Home Remedies

Heartburn And Upper Back Pain

Heartburn and upper back pain may not appear to be associated with each other, but one can be the cause of the other. When heartburn strikes, the most often complained of location is the middle of the chest, the throat, and a bitter taste in the mouth. So why would there be pain in the upper back?

Heartburn and upper back pain

Heartburn, or acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close adequately enough after food passes through to the stomach. Stomach acids can seep backwards through the small opening existing in the sphincter, causing a burning feeling, which can sometimes be accompanied by a cough due to the irritation of the esophagus.

These stomach acids can impact the nerve fibers and surrounding tissues, causing discomfort in the upper back. When left untreated, damage to the soft tissues can result. This adverse reaction to gastric acids can cause pain to extend not only in the upper back, but across the shoulders as well. It often presents as as pressure, tenderness, or sharp ache located in the upper and middle back.

The onset of upper back pain related to heartburn is normally within a few hours after the reflux begins. If a chronic cough is present, the strain on the muscles can cause pain as well. The chosen sleeping position can also be a culprit. While elevating the head can aid in reducing acid reflux symptoms, it is important that the back, neck, and shoulders have adequate support to prevent cramping and muscle pain.

Is there a remedy?

Upper back pain due to heartburn can be remedied when the acid reflux is relieved. Prevention is a first consideration, which can be accomplished with a few lifestyle and dietary changes. Over the counter medications work well to quickly reduce acid reflux symptoms. There are some home remedies, such as chewing gum after a meal or eating an apple, are great home remedies for heartburn.


  • Antacids

  • H2 antagonists

  • Proton pump inhibitors

Foods that cause heartburn include:

  • Citrus fruits and juices

  • Chocolate

  • Fried Fatty foods

  • Foods high in sugar

  • Highly seasoned foods

  • Beverages containing alcohol

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Caffeine

Seeing your doctor:

Your should contact your doctor if you have heartburn more than twice per week. Chronic heartburn can damage the esophageal tissues to cause bleeding and scarring, which can narrow the esophagus, leading to problems swallowing. Acid reflux that is left unchecked can lead to more serious complications, such as ulcers and cancer of the esophagus.

Your health care provider can order testing to determine the cause of your heartburn and upper back pain, and rule out any other underlying conditions. It is one thing to treat the symptoms, and quite another to treat the cause. Knowing what triggers your heartburn can alleviate the upper back pain if it is due to the acid

by Barb Hicks, RN

Heartburn No More - Permanently Cure Your Acid Reflux


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Heartburn No More - Permanently Cure Your Acid Reflux