Why Do I Have Back Pain After Eating or Drinking?

While it doesn’t happen all the time, you’ve noticed that you experience some amount of back pain after having a meal or gulping down a mid-afternoon cup of coffee. Contrary to what some people may say, it’s not all if your head. It really is in your back, or at least located close enough to trigger back pain.

Here are some possible reasons why you have back pain after drinking or eating.

Bad Posture

Those of us who have experienced frequent or chronic back pain know that the way we sit (while working, driving, eating, etc.) can make the difference between the not-so-bad pain and the “I can’t get up” pain. Poor posture while eating and drinking is often the cause of upper or lower back pain.

In today’s on-the-go lifestyles, it’s not unusual to be gulping down a meal on the couch in front of the TV, at your work desk, or even in the car. All of these situations make it really easy to have your body in an awkward position which puts your spine out of line and causes back pain.

Optimally, you want to be eating at a dinner table without slouching or crossing your legs. Being mindful of your posture while eating or drinking is the first and most important step.

eating-too-quicklyEating and Drinking Too Quickly

Even if you’re pressed for time, choosing to eat or drink too quickly is not in your best interests. Along with eating more than you need and feeling bloated later, there’s a good chance of developing heartburn or indigestion.

One thing you may not know about indigestion is that it doesn’t always manifest as a burning sensation in the chest. It can also trigger what is known as referral pain in your lower back. Try taking more time with your meals and see if it makes a difference.

Allergic Reactions

If you find yourself asking the question “why does my back hurt after eating?” the answer may have to do with the food and drink you consume. Something in your diet is triggering an allergic reaction.

Reactions don’t have to manifest as trouble breathing or splotchy skin. They can also make themselves known as shoulder pain or pain anywhere along the spinal column. A doctor can run some allergy tests and find out of the culprit is the glass of tea you have for lunch, or if it’s time to stop adding those peanuts to your salad.

Stomach Ulcer

You may be developing an ulcer somewhere along the stomach lining. Some of what you eat and drink does not trigger any pain, but those spicy tacos you had for dinner did the trick. Like heartburn and indigestion, the ulcer may not lead to pain in your chest. It could travel around and feel a lot like a strained muscle in your lower back.

Gallbladder Issues

The gallbladder is a small organ found under the right lobe of the liver. When it’s functioning properly, it releases bile into the intestines while you eat. If the gallbladder does not release the bile, you could have pains that seem to be emanating from the stomach or the lower back.

Depending on the severity, you may be able to manage the issue by avoiding certain foods and beverages. When dietary changes don’t help, you may need surgery.


The fact that you’ve not had problems in the past could mean that your appendix is inflamed. Anything you eat or drink seems to trigger pain in an hour or less. Your best bet is to have a checkup and ask the doctor to see if the organ is enlarged and inflamed. If so, you need to have it removed before it bursts.

The last thing you want to do is ignore the pain and hope it goes away. Whether you notice that the back pain only happens when you eat too quickly or consume certain foods, mention the issue to your family doctor.

The pain may be nothing more than a sign you need to change some habits. It can also mean a major health issue is developing. Find the answer, do what is necessary to correct the problem, and mealtime will not be followed by a lot of discomfort.


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(Editor at Back Pained) – Adam is a former longtime back pain sufferer who is now pain-free. He has created this site to help others get back pain relief at home as an alternative to expensive specialist appointments or physical therapy that may or may not work. A research junkie, he's spent considerable time determining which of the countless back pain products actually work and which ones are a waste of money. He now enjoys spending time on the basketball court re-learning that jump shot from when he last played in high school.

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