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Does GERD cause pain in the middle and upper back?

lilceellilcee Posts: 11

I've been to different doctors for a lot of pain in the middle and upper part of my back - sometimes lower back too. My legs hurt when I walk and sometimes my feet are numb. My shoulders hurt and I feel all tight and it feels like I can't get a good breath, like someone is sitting on me and squeezing all the air out of me. It seems to be coming from a certain spot in my back - right in the middle. If I press on it, I get pain in other places and it hurts for a long time after that.

Anyways, I've been to different doctors and all they can tell me is that I have GERD. Does that make it hurt like that? I've been sent to PT but don't know the cause of the pain. Will the PT help when I don't know what it is or should I find a back doctor to go to? What kind of doctor actually looks at the back and spine?

I've been to a rheumatologist (he sent me to PT) and a gastroenterologist (for pain in my abdomen - he did tests and said I have GERD. I told him my back hurt and he sent me to a physical medicine/rehab doctor who didn't do any tests but sent me to PT again). I don't know what to do next or who to see. I'm getting tired of going to doctors and getting the run around.

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Comments

  • Your Primary Dr. should be thorough with their exam and let them know that you're also having back pain. X-rays and an MRI are usually ordered if you have ongoing symptoms of back pain. Let the Dr. know if you're having leg pain and feet numbness as these are important symptoms to guide the Dr. to order certain tests and do their exam. It could be that you have more involved then GERD as that should affect your upper GI tract and not affect your numbness in your feet but I'm not a Dr.. My Dr. also thought I had strained my back and had issues from the mild scoliosis I have so at first she ordered Physiotherapy and massage. But with ongoing symptoms I didn't want to ask her as she is the Dr. but since I knew there was something going on more than a back strain I asked for an MRI but ideally a Dr. would order that especially with leg symptoms. I then had to have an EMG to test my nerves after the MRI.
    Please know I'm not a Dr. and only a Dr. can give medical advice just letting you know my experience. I hope they find out what's going on and may require frequent visits with a list of symptoms. If you continue to have shortness of breath and chest pain that is something that requires immediate attention. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • It sounds weird, but if the root nerves from your spine that go to your stomach are irritated it can cause or aggravate stomach problems. since doctors haven't really helped you, Id try a chiropractor. They can diagnose and correct small misalignments of the spine that wouldn't have a surgical option, but can still irritate the nerves. Ive had the same problem and been on several anti-acids, elevated my bed, quit eating fried foods, etc. then i started seeing a chiropractor and it all got better. Though i do still need to watch what i eat. I know many people are afraid of chiropractors, so id ask around to get a name of someone a friend likes. Also make sure they take x-rays and answer all your questions. Ive worked with and been a patient of chiropractors for over 5 years now and its amazing what keeping the spine in proper alignment can do for pain and various conditions I had never thought could be helped by adjusting the spine.
  • I like the Chiropractor suggestion. (Of course, that's just my opinion.) I would definitely recommend you get one that comes highly recommended, one that practices Kinesiology.

    Do you have any other symptoms of GERD besides the pain? Do you have heartburn? Shoulder or arm pain? Belching? Have they considered or looked at your GALL BLADDER as the possible source?

    Trust me, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Just someone who has been there. Just dropping a few ideas for you to bring up with your doctors.

    As far as the pains being from the thoracic area of the spine, I have no experience there but maybe it is possible you have more than one thing going on.

    I so hope you find the source and some relief very soon.
  • I too suffer from Gerd, and have had syptoms so bad they woke me up in middle of night, felt like heart attack, pain in shoulder, and chest. Was so bad I went to ER thinking it was heart attack.

    Other times I have had the pain in mid section, from middle of spine and around side of mid section, when I had that I was tested for gallbladder, but doc said in end it was Gerd.

    I hope you find relief for what is causing your pain, and an definate DX


  • Can someone please tell me what this is?? :-)
  • First of all, look up symptoms of gall bladder disease and see if that looks familiar. Just a shot in the dark, but gallbladder disease often causes back pain, especially shooting back pain, and is often very hard to find on tests (I had several, and mine was suspect but decided to be working fine).

    But I have GERD and chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining). And, yes, all of the above. I get pain back and front, feel like I can't breathe deeply, general discomfort from my breastbone to below my ribs, or sometimes very sharp pain.

    What are you taking to treat it? My gastro was not as helpful as my GP, actually, even though he's supposedly the best in the area :( But I do take 60 mg of prevacid a day and my GP allows me to take 2 zantac 150 a day when it is really bad.

    If I do not take my meds, my stomach feels like a burning ball of fire in my middle, and I burn all the way up the right side from the middle to the breastbone.

    eta: GERD= gastro-esophogeal reflux disease, a.k.a. chronic heartburn. Often exacerbated by chronic opiate use, I have found. I also have low gastric motility, which probably causes the chronic gastritis.
  • After reading lilcee's problems, it really hit home, that I have pretty much the same things going on in my body! I was just wandering if you have found any relief or more information that could possibly help me! Thank you!
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 05/17/2013 - 7:14 AM
    I see that you are quite new to Spine Health. Welcome! You will find this a great place to learn about spinal problems and get support from others who suffer with them. Have you been told that you have spinal problems?

    This is a very old post, so it may be an idea to also post in the new members area and to introduce yourself. (Sorry if you have already done that!)

    Having quickly read this thread, I smiled as I now know that I have GERD, and am taking daily Lansoprazole to protect my stomach and oseophagus which became damaged by the bile reflux. I have also been diagnosed with several gall stones and have 3 herniated discs in my thoracic spine (as well as the problems in my lumbar and cervical).

    Quoting the original posters message:
    I've been to different Drs for a lot of pain in the middle and upper part of my back - sometimes lower back too. My legs hurt when I walk and sometimes my feet are numb. My shoulders hurt and I feel all tight and it feels like I can't get a good breath, like someone is sitting on me and squeezing all the air out of me. It seems to be coming from a certain spot in my back - right in the middle. If I press on it, I get pain in other places and it hurts for a long time after that.
    Anyways, I've been to different Drs and all they can tell me is that I have GERD. Does that make it hurt like that? I've been sent to PT but don't know the cause of the pain. Will the PT help when I dont' know what it is or should I find a back Dr to go to? What kind of Dr actually looks at the back and spine?
    I've been to Rheum. (he sent me to Pt) and Gasterologist (for pain in my ab - he did tests and said I have GERD. I told him my back hurt and he sent me to a Physical Medicine/Rehab Dr who didn't do any tests but sent me to PT again)
    I don't know what to do next or who to see. I'm getting tired of going to Drs and getting the run around.

    Their description of the feeling of air being squeezed our of them and difficulty taking a breath certainly does sound very much like one of the symptoms that I have been told are probably being caused by the thoracic discs.

    Bri, have you had an MRI scan to see what is going on?
  • Bottom line and short answer gerd is normally to much acid in our stomachs.
    There are a few meds over the counter that help with this,
    They. Gave me omeprozole which is a prescription Med and seems to work better then
    the over the counter meds.
    For me no more heartburn or gas.
    Please ask your doctor about this. A friend of mine had this and died from the cancer it caused
  • bobby_271bbobby_271 Posts: 1
    edited 08/20/2015 - 9:02 PM
    Hi Lilcee, Jade, jellyhall
    I sow you posting which you did 5 years back.
    I want to know how are doing now and did something help.
    I have the exact same issue and doctors do not understand this and I want to get some guidance from you as to how have you been managing this

    Thanks

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information !
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
    VA
  • Brandonkf7BBrandonkf7 Posts: 1
    edited 10/28/2015 - 9:28 PM
    I have the same problem. I've had acid reflux forever and tonight I almost died. I woke up from dead sleep choking on my own stomachs contents. I almost could catch a breath because it wouldn't go back down. I was so scared!! Omg I hope that never happens again!! Wow!! Also I have had back problems that have progressively got worse. I am always in major back pain. It feels like I am being crushed. It also is harder to breath all the time. I have been to doctor over and over and j too have been sent to tons of different physical therapists and had no luck also specialists. I took 3 MRI tons of X Ray and blood tests. I've been told I'm fine. The pain is horrible thogh and there is a spot in middle of my back on spine you can press and it makes everything hurt worse also my Ribbs hurt all the time and my breathing is affected. I got tired of all the run around a and went to l [edit]. I paid for hotel stay and had went throgh all there diognostics and got told by surgeons that they can't help me and that my spine and nerves are perfect. I told my doctor to put me on pain Meds because it is so bad that I don't have any other ideas. I am shocked I can't figure this out but I am on Meds for acid reflux also. Please someone tell me what's going on I'm only 31 and feel like I'm dying :(
    bobby_271 said:
    Hi Lilcee, Jade, jellyhall
    I sow you posting which you did 5 years back.
    I want to know how are doing now and did something help.
    I have the exact same issue and doctors do not understand this and I want to get some guidance from you as to how have you been managing this

    Thanks

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information !
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage

    There are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site. Therefore everything you read is based on the personal experiences and/or research done by the individual member. Comments should never be taken as pure medical facts. You need to discuss this with your doctor. They are the only ones that can provide you with detailed information about you, the patient.


  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 471
    Hi Brandon....I take it you've have some endoscopies...do you also have hiatal hernia? Generally they are nothing serious, a lot of people have one and don't even know it, but it can become a serious issue.

    They found my hiatal hernia during endoscopy, so far so good. I take Dexilant everyday for my GERD, plus periodically have my esophagus stricture rings stretched.

    Also, on occasion I somehow manage to get a rib out of place, making it painful to breathe or laugh, and can cause mild mid back discomfort or tenderness. My Dr can put it back in place by placing her hands underneath my back and gently roll me to side a certain way. I get immediate breathing relief, but the back tenderness may take another day, she gives me a small gel-like hot pack and tapes to the back area....feels really good.

    Hope your Dr's get you some pain relief.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • deinstein07ddeinstein07 PhilippinesPosts: 1
    Good day guys,
    I also experiencing that symptoms oct 2015, I have GERD and also experiencing upper Hearthburn, Vomitting acid, Backpain, its like shooting pain in the middle of my back (i dont know if i'm having back injury in my back because it kinda popping when i rotate my back), I also diagnose with Post Nasal Drip. I woke up in middle of the night and I having bad night I can't breath fine. I also experiencing choking sensation in my throat for almost 2mos, chronic cough, mucus in my throat. I'll been with several doctorsI. maybe i will go for CT scan. tired all i want  is to be healthy and live more.
    I want to be fine again

  • awillieaawillie LouisianaPosts: 1
    Hi,

    I've also recently been experiencing this pain in my upper mid left back, rhomboid region. After about 9pm it becomes increasingly more agonizing (seems worse at night). 

    I've had a cervical fusion, which failed, and also a posterior fusion from c4-t2 only a year ago. Turned my life upside down. But.. I recently started really trying to do my physical therapy. And since I have, I started experiencing this paid. It definitely feels musculatorial, but it hurts when I breath, the later in the day and into the night the worse it seems to get. I'm a little freaked out. Now reading others stories, I'm wondering if I have something else going on that could be easily treated, or if it's just pain from my chronic muscle issues that I have to suffer through while trying to get better, or if it's something more major. It does kind of hurt in my chest, like left breast but mostly back. Laying down, sitting up, standing even I feel like I have to stress. My meds are giving me no relief, and I am having some mild extraneous nerve in the back side of my arm to my elbow. 
    I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago, rule that one out.  After all I've been through, I'm a little freaked out. I'm tired of suffering and living in pain..

    Before that pain started, about 3-4 weeks ago, I started getting reoccurring UTIs as well. I've had one or two before, but I go and get it treated and take meds and it comes right back. Could all this actually be connected? Or do I have something else seriously wrong besides my neck and back? (By the way, 2 rods, 14 pins, 6 screws and a plate). 

    After my first fusion in 2010 I started having problems with my feet. All my toes swelled up red, and just to softly touch them felt like fire. Stubbing my toe was like getting slammed in a car door. Turned out I had a toe nail fungus, out of no where, on all ten toes. Saw ten different doctors before one even noticed the fungus. A year and a half later, meds finally helped get rid of it. But my toes still swell up from time to time, one is permanently like that now. My toes even hurt is my nails get too long. No one can figure it out. I've seen every type of specialist you could imagine, and no one has a clue. I can't tell you how many times I've had experienced doctors shrug their shoulders and apologize  "no clue, I don't really know what to tell you" (since I've seen all the other specials, had X-rays and MRI and no answer. 

    And now I can't breathe with the pain in my back. I'd like to know if all of this could be connected somehow. But I can't help but think there something else wrong.. usually seems to be case. Any input would be appreciated. I've been feeling down due to physical conditions the last few months, and I can't stand living like this. Thank you..
  • Hello all,

    I am new to this site and message board.  After reading these posts, I too share many of the non-specific symptoms you all are experiencing.  Tightness in the shoulders, neck, back, abdomen, ribs, tingling/weakness in the legs/feet, hand/arms, dizziness, and tinnitus which started about 1.5 years ago.  These symptoms did not show up all at the same time (insidious progression).  I am a long time sufferer of GERD (about 10 years).  Luckily, I have been managing my GERD without H2s and PPIs.   Been using a combination of different items b/c of fear of long term side effects of PPIs and also development of potential malabsorption issues.  I also have a L5-S1 disc herniation.  

    Over the past year, I have been on a quest to find the cause of these symtpons in fear that it may progress to something debilitating. I have had many imaging tests of my entire spine, brain, abdomen.  Colonoscopy/Endosocopy.  EKG/ECG, carotid doppler.  Blood tests for Vit D, inflammatory markers.  Everything was negative.  I am waiting on blood tests for testosterone, CPK, and thyroid.  I am very fortunate to have great health insurance.

    Recently, I got an x-ray and MRI of my thoracic spine and to my surprise, it revealed a mild scoliosis and a flat thoracic spine.  After researching this a little more, and trying some exercises addressing these for these conditions, I felt some relief that I have not felt in several months.  Tightness has been decreasing and becoming more focal.  Leg strength has improved.  Walking now is not unpleasant.  GERD actually feels less intense.   By no means am I out of the woods or understand what brought on this "syndrome" but for now I feel some substantial relief based on my personal findings.  I hope this will be beneficial for some of you.  Good luck to all.
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