Does Back Pain cause Acidity or Does Acidity cause Back Pain?
"Doctor, does back pain cause acidity?" This is a question I encounter every day in my out-patient department (OPD). Before getting into the causes of back pain, let me explain the normal physiology of our body. To have a healthy, pain-free body, the internal milieu of the body should have an alkaline pH that is more than 7.4. Our body is naturally designed with many organs or surfaces generating alkali - like the salivary glands which are 4 to 5 in number and the long tract (7m) of the intestines.
However, there is only one organ which generates acid. That is the stomach. Acid, in normal quantities in the body, helps decimate debris and throw it out of the body. But, when the acid-alkali ratio is disturbed and the level of alkali falls below pH 7.4, making the body more acidic, pain arises and degeneration sets in. Excess acid gets accumulated in the ends of the bigger muscles like the Trapezius (causing upper back pain), Erector Spinae (causing lower back pain), Gastrosoleu or the calf muscles (leading to heel pain). The blood acid levels are usually on the higher side, and patients suffering from this phenomenon take a longer time to heal. This brings us to the question:
What causes increased acid secretion?
Stress: Easily one of the most prominent causes of back pain, stress in any form increases the secretion of acid in the stomach, and the acid secreted supersedes the alkali in the body.
Diet: An acidic diet like citric acid fruits (oranges, sweet lime, lemon), fermented food (curd, buttermilk, idli/dosa), and non-vegetarian food (red meat) could lead to increased back pain.
Drugs: Drugs in any form, have effects and side-effects. Painkillers, when taken with the intention to ease a backache, can, ironically, increase acidity in the body, thereby causing more pain.
The solution, therefore, lies in decreasing the acid levels in our body. This can be done by modifying our lifestyle - eating right and undertaking activities that help you lead a stress-free life.