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Sick to Your Stomach? Can Spine Pain Cause Nausea?

The majority of the population has suffered from back pain at one time or another in their lives. Most people have also suffered from stomach problems like nausea. So, when you have back pain and nausea at the same time, some people wonder, can spine pain cause nausea?

Can Spine Pain Cause Nausea?

Spine pain and gastrointestinal issues can have many causes. So while it is impossible to answer whether your spine pain is causing your nausea without understanding more of your conditions, it may help to understand some of the ways in which they may be related.

Spine Pain and Nausea

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by irritation to a nerve in the cervical area of your spine. People who suffer from cervicogenic headaches often report symptoms similar to migraine sufferers. These headaches can be accompanied by neck pain and nausea/vomiting. Therefore, cervicogenic headaches are one way in which spine pain can cause nausea.


Most women are well aware of the potential nausea (or “morning sickness”) they may experience during pregnancy. They may not be aware that pregnancy can also cause back pain. Back pain can result from the shift in hormones during pregnancy, or additional pressures placed on the spine in the later stages of pregnancy. Therefore, if you’re pregnant, that could explain both your nausea and back pain.

Hormone Changes

Hormone changes can also cause back pain if you’re not pregnant. Many women experience back pain just before or during menstruation. Some women also experience vomiting at this time. Therefore, the normal fluctuations that occur as part of a woman’s menstrual cycle can cause both back pain and nausea.

Nausea, Vomiting and Back Pain

Vomiting causes significant stress to the body. If you’ve been repeatedly vomiting you may have strained a muscle, causing back pain.

Kidney Stones

Those that have had kidney stones know that these tiny little deposits that form in your kidneys can cause intense pain. This pain may be felt in your back or other areas in may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting.

More Serious (But Less Common) Causes of Back Pain and Nausea

Without a full evaluation we can’t say what is causing your back pain and stomach issues. We talked about a few reasons the two may be linked. And, for the most part, these conditions are not serious. However, there are some more serious medical conditions that could cause both back pain and nausea. These conditions are less common than the ones we’ve already discussed but should be pointed out, nonetheless.

Some of these more serious causes of spine pain and nausea are:

  • heart attack
  • kidney infection
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • liver disorder
  • certain types of cancer
  • severe gastrointestinal disorders such as a bowel obstruction
  • a spinal injury

Should I See A Doctor if I Have Back Pain and Nausea?

When should you see a doctor? Here are some guidelines to help you make the decision.

You should contact your doctor if:

  • you have a severe medical condition
  • you have recently been in an accident or suffered an injury
  • the pain is significant and comes on suddenly
  • you have a fever in addition to the nausea and back pain
  • you experience any incontinence, loss of bowel control or bleeding
  • the pain you’re experiencing is different from previous bouts you’ve experienced

However, even if none of these apply to you, it’s important to listen to your body and contact your doctor if you feel it’s appropriate or something has changed.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery