Back Pain and Nausea: When Back Pain is a Sign of a Different Problem

Home > Causes of Neck & Back Pain > Back Pain and Nausea: When Back Pain is a Sign of a Different Problem
By Dr. Sender Deutsch
Published on August 28, 2012

If you suffer from back pain or low back pain you already know how debilitating and painful this condition can be. In some cases, back pain can be so excruciating that it makes you feel sick and causes nausea or vomiting.

Some of the most common causes of upper and lower back pain include prolonged sitting, poor posture habits, repetitive strain, soft tissue damage, injury, spinal misalignment, muscular irritation, joint dysfunction, and a slipped or herniated disc.

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However, bear in mind that not all instances of back pain are actually caused by a back problem. In fact, back pain and nausea are symptoms associated with a number of different medical conditions, all of which can refer pain to the back.

Since several human organs are nestled in the torso area, dysfunction of any one of these can result in back pain. For example, a problem with your kidneys – such as kidney stones or a kidney infection – can give rise to pain below the ribs, pain around the torso, pain radiating into the lower abdomen or groin area, back pain, nausea and vomiting. Hence the very same symptoms, lower back pain and nausea, may have altogether different causes.

Similarly, ovarian cysts in women can put pressure on internal organs such as the bladder or kidneys, causing abdominal pain, pelvic pain, lower or upper back pain, nausea or vomiting, frequent urination, fatigue, and more. If you are a woman who is experiencing persistent back pain, you may have an ovarian cyst (a fluid-filled sac which forms on the ovaries), a condition which occurs most frequently during a female’s reproductive years but which may affect women of any age.

Likewise, a gall bladder infection, gallstones, or gall bladder disease can also manifest in intense abdominal and back pain, along with abdominal bloating, nausea and vomiting. Other conditions where back pain and nausea may occur together are appendicitis,
intestinal problems, and peptic ulcers.

In all cases of nausea with associated back pain, it’s important to avoid self-diagnosing and self-treating. Remember, you may have an organic condition rather than a musculoskeletal problem. The pain you are experiencing may not be related to your back at all and may simply just be a referral of pain from an internal organ. It is crucial to understand that low back pain is just a symptom and not a diagnosis.

What should you do? Err on the side of caution and seek the guidance of a physician or regulated health care professional as soon as possible to obtain a proper diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is established, you are one step closer to receiving treatment for your back pain and for learning techniques and exercises which can help you achieve some well-deserved relief from your painful condition.


14 thoughts on “Back Pain and Nausea: When Back Pain is a Sign of a Different Problem

  1. For acute lower back pain, activity is the best medicine. Simple exercises like walking and jogging can be very helpful if the stride isn’t causing pain. A sitting or laying posture can often create pressure if your body stays in those positions for extended periods. Just stay away from lifting weights and other strenuous activities for your back..

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  3. Not everyone that has a problem with their gallbladder will even notice anything at all. The fact is that the majority of people that have gallstones will experience no gallbladder symptoms at all. The good thing about these cases is that if there are no symptoms then the gallstones are causing no problems and they can just be left there without having to worry about any negative effects on the health.

  4. A good article.
    I have been having a upper back pain for a week and it doesn’t go away vary painful. My throat is sore and I have nasal congestion and feeling tired. Sometimes I also have abdominal pain or nausea. My doctor said I have a viral pharyngitis and gave me anti inflammatory medication to ease the pain. But I am afraid it might be something more serious, an infection or worse. Can I take antibiotics instead with the symptoms I am ecperiencing?

    • As your doctor knows your medical history best, it is important for you to visit your physician again and explain all your symptoms and concerns.

  5. I have had chronic back pain that radiates to my left hip and down my left leg. I just recently started going to PM and they found a tumor. I did the back surgery a little over a week ago but the pain seems worse now than before. The surgeon gave me a weeks worth of lortab 5/325 and when i called to see if he would do another weeks worth, they said no that the pain should be gone, and called in naproxen. That has never done anything for me, and ive tried multiple OTC pain killers, and they dont work. Im in so much pain and i dont know what to do now. Any suggestions?

  6. Getting relieve from back pain is tough as well. I suggest inversion table therapy for lower back pain and back pain. Or you can go to a doctor for this problem.

  7. Muscles in right lower back are strained, inflammed and covered in weird painful and movable lumps. The more I exercise or sit, the more it hurts. I was just sitting on the floor today and barely leaNed forward and a rush of pain kept me groaning and unable to get up for at least 15 minutes. Then nausea and the need to vomit sets in. Xrays aND ultrasound are fine…but I am not.

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