How Your Gallbladder can Cause Lower Back Pain

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If you’ve been suffering from lower back pain for a while with no cause to it, then you should start thinking about your gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small, hollow, pear-shaped organ that is just underneath the liver. What it does is store bile that the liver has produced. When it’s not functioning properly, your gallbladder can cause lower back pain; and here are some of the reasons why:

Referred Pain

Referred pain is what happens when an area of your body is sore, and the root cause of the pain is somewhere else in your body. A problem in the gallbladder can send referred pain to the lower back. There are a few theories as to why this happens. One theory suggests that the 2 separate areas of the body share a nerve pathway. If one area is sore or injured, then other areas in the nerve pathway can be affected. Pretty much, the brain gets ‘confused’ and you feel pain in a place where there are no issues. This pain can still be extreme, and can feel very scary as you’re experiencing it. The gallbladder pain referral pattern is usually the lower back, but can also travel up to the shoulder and to the front of your torso.
Lower back pain caused by the gallbladder can be hard to diagnose, because it has the symptoms of other problems. It can be confused with muscular pain, or degenerative disc disease, or menstrual pain in women. If you’re feeling a sharp pain anywhere in your body, that is usually a cause for concern and should be checked out by a Doctor.

Biliary Colic

This is a disorder of the gall bladder that is caused by gallstones. Biliary Colic can also be called a gallbladder attack. It takes place when the small duct that drains bile into the small intestine is blocked by gallstones. Gallstones can be formed by too much cholesterol in the bile, or when the gallbladder can’t empty itself properly. These stones are made out of bilirubin (old red blood cells), salt, or cholesterol. They range in size from the size of a grain of sand to the size of an apricot. The gallbladder gets painful and stones can form when there is a build up of bile in the gallbladder. The pain spreads from the gallbladder to the lower back and shoulders and can last for hours.

If you have biliary colic, your Doctor will most likely recommend that you adopt a low-fat diet. Gallstones made of cholesterol can form from eating too much fatty, greasy, or spicy food. Sticking to bland, low-fat foods may be boring, but it is a lot better than being in pain from having gallstones.

Inflammation

Another word for an inflamed gallbladder is cholecystitis. A bout of cholecystitis can last from two to three days, and is extremely painful. When the gallbladder is inflamed, the walls of the gallbladder get thicker, making it shrink over time. Gallbladder inflammation can be caused by many things:

  • Infection: Like any other part of your body, the gallbladder can become infected
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Tumors in the gallbladder: they can cause bile to build up
  • Gallstones
  • A lowered blood supply to the gallbladder due to diabetes
  • Too much cholesterol in the gallbladder: this can happen during pregnancy or after losing weight quickly
  • Obesity
  • Your dietary habits
  • You could just be genetically predisposed to gallbladder inflammation

When the gallbladder gets inflamed, there will be some pain involved. It may go unnoticed for a while, but symptoms will eventually show up sooner or later. The inflammation may or may not be accompanied by a fever, diarrhea, and jaundice. If these symptoms are present, then there may be an infection too.

Speak to your Doctor if you think you might have problems with your gall bladder. You may need to get an ultrasound to be sure, which is painless and can be done in less than an hour. Sometimes you’ll need to change your diet or take medication to dissolve any gallstones, and some cases do require surgery. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a good idea to get things checked out.

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