Can GERD Cause Shoulder Pain?

Are you experiencing severe pain throbbing between your shoulder blades all the time? It must be interrupting your daily life and making it difficult for you to focus undividedly on essential tasks.

For most people, the occasional shoulder pain could simply be a result of a muscle strain or a wrong sleeping angle, but unfortunately, that changes when you have conditions such as GERD. 

Now, even the slightest unusual bodily changes can be complex and prolonged, which is why they should be handled accordingly.

Keep reading this article to learn more about GERD and how it could be the reason behind your shoulder pain.

All You Need To Know About GERD

If you are already diagnosed with GERD, you must know what it is and how it occurs but in case you aren’t aware oaren’tmedical logic. Read the comprehended version below to get a brief outlook on it.

What Is GERD?       

Acid reflux disease, chronically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a type of gastrointestinal disorder that affects your digestive system and causes heartburn symptoms. Gerd occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (the ring of muscle connecting our esophagus and stomach) gets affected. This usually happens when the pressure in our stomachs increases. 

(This could happen due to several reasons. Primarily as a side effect of bariatric procedures or even obesity) 

 LES’s ability to LES’sion correctly fails,. Now, the muscle that was only supposed to relax to let food substances in will open at the wrong times and allow stomach acids to flow into the esophagus.

Read also: Are Acid Reflux And Hemorrhoids Related? 

Symptoms of GERD

  1. Burning sensation in your chest 
  2. Sharp chest pain and abdominal pain
  3. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) 
  4. A bitter or sour taste surfaces in the back of the throat
  5. Shortness of breath or chronic cough
  6. Sore throat and bad breath

Risk Factors of GERD

  1. Eating a big meal or fatty food
  2. Taking medicines such as aspirin
  3. Obesity
  4. Excess consumption of alcohol or coffee
  5. smoking

Can GERD Cause Shoulder Pain?

To answer your earlier question, “yes,” Gerd can cause shoulder pain. Now you must be wondering how one of the digestive problems such as this can cause pain up to your shoulders. Especially when the location of these body parts are so far apart. 

Keep reading to find out.

Inflammation of Pancreas

The pancreas is a flat gland located in your upper abdomen that helps with the digestion process. When this vital organ gets inflamed, a condition known as pancreatitis will occur, and it can be either acute or chronic. 

The phrenic nerve controls the function of your diaphragm and stretches from your abdomen to your neck. When an inflamed pancreas causes abdominal pain, it radiates toward your back and reaches your right shoulder blade. The diaphragm’s vicinity and connection to the spinal cord also give a path for the pain to travel up your shoulder.

GERD can have a main contribution in this situation because, as studies suggest, acidity and other digestive problems can cause inflammation of the pancreas, and even a minute of acid reflux can cause this.

 When GERD aggravates inflammation of the pancreas, symptoms such as shoulder pain will occur

GERD Triggers Can Cause Shoulder Pain

As you must know, GERD symptoms can make life very difficult. Living with it and constantly worrying about its precautions and treatments can cause severe stress on the human mind. Little do you know, the “stress of GERD” is a trigger and”can worsen your” condition. 

As GERD progresses, its symptoms, such as chest pain, will also sharpen, causing more neck and shoulder pain.

Other triggers, such as fatty meals or a low-fiber diet, will inflame your gallbladder, the swollen gallbladder will irritate your phrenic nerve, and shoulder blade pain will occur.

GERD is a digestive disorder since your entire digestive system is connected. One slight malfunction can cause a domino effect and cause consequences all over your body.

Read also: Is Ginger Ale Good For Acid Reflux?

Gerd Can Mimic Symptoms of Heart Attack

It is known that GERD causes a burning sensation. Sometimes, severe heartburn can cause a sharp pain to generate correctly in the middle of the chest, and recent studies have shown that GERD-related chest pain can be very similar to heart attack or angina attack pain.

Noncardiac chest pain can occur due to muscle spasms in your esophagus or stomach acids bubbling up just behind your breastbone. The excruciating pain experienced by these can mimic heart attack symptoms and cause left arm and shoulder pain.

It is extremely important not to dismiss this type of pain because even though there is a possibility of it being GERD related, even the slightest chance of experiencing a heart attack should be persuasion enough to go to ER or call 911 right away.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a condition where blood vessels in our lungs clot and become a risk to our lives. It can happen due to several reasons but speaking in terms of its relation with GERD, severe acid reflux and persistent heartburn causes reflux esophagitis. It is a condition that can frequently cause gastrointestinal bleeding, and even though It’s rare, it can lead to clots and pulmonary embolisms.

The GEIt’selated symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include chest pain, neck to shoulder pain, and shortness of breath.

Fact: reflux esophagitis is the inflammation that damages the lining of your esophagus.

How to treat GERD-triggered shoulder pain?

Sometimes, shoulder pain is a dull ache and easily ignorable. That’s why you must have dismissed it when it first started, but as time as, your pain must have turned excruciating. Symptoms (mild or severe) should not be underestimated, so you should immediately notify your healthcare provider. If the pain becomes unbearable, go to the emergency room directly or call 911.

Treatments listed below can be followed to prevent the symptoms:

  • Avoid triggers

Not only will you be treating GERD symptoms by avoiding trigger food substances, but pancreatitis will also be prevented. 

Dietary restrictions must be made, and substances such as spicy, fatty, acidic, and alcohol should be removed because they contain chemicals known to prolong the digestive process.

Instead, doctors and nutritionists recommend a high-fiber diet that will aid your digestive system and provide you with essential nutrients. You should also avoid consuming meals or snacks at nighttime because lying down right after eating them can also trigger acid reflux.

Most importantly, weight loss should be the first step to reducing GERD because obesity is a considerable risk factor. The excess weight adds pressure on your stomach, and the lack of space forces the acids to flow through LES, so reducing it will indeed minimize acid reflux.

  • Medication

Many effective medicines are known to help with GERD, and your doctor can prescribe you the most suitable one after seeing your medical history. These medications might include proton pump inhibitors. (PPIs) fix the problem from roots and reduce the level of acid produced by glands. The most successful one as of now is dexlansoprazole. Even though you can’t get it without a prescription, omeprazole, and lansoprazole are PPIs noticeable over the counter. 

Tylenol is another medicine that helps explicitly with GERD-triggered shoulder pain by reducing inflammation.

You can take other h2 blockers and counter medicines but consult your doctor first to learn about possible side effects. 

  • Rehab clubs

Rehab clubs are a great way to help with GERD-related stress and shoulder pain. They offer excellent services and help you live a better quality of life. People diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as GERD usually have difficulty adjusting to this new lifestyle. To learn all of a sudden that you have to change everything from your diet to your sleeping position can cause serious mental health problems ( which backlashes and make the situation worse)

Rehab clubs encourage healthy exercises that are proven to reduce acid reflux symptoms. As for shoulder pain, several muscle therapies and strengthening exercises can improve your focus and help you recover from pain.

Read also: Best Wine For Acid Reflux – Ultimate Guide For 2023

Can GERD Cause Shoulder Pain Summary

Most times, shoulder pain can be a symptom of GERD, and if that’s the cause, the pain will subside with the GERD-related treatments mentioned above.

However, it is essential to know that the shoulder pain is persistent and keeps getting worse despite medication, which most certainly means that it’s occurring as a symptom of a much more severe problem. 

It’s necessary to get a proper diagnosis to avoid confusion about treatment. Once the blood tests are taken and the real problem It’sdentified, the pain can be relieved. 

You’d be surprised that your shoulder pain can indicate heart disease or cancer. Neglectful behavior towards it can be life treathning.

Did you get the answer to your question? Do you understand how GERD causes shoulder pain? Share it with your friends or family to help them know it too.