Pain due to inflammation of the pancreas often occurs in the upper abdomen and then radiates into the back, according to WebMD. This pain usually occurs with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, a high heart rate, and a tender or swollen abdomen.
There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic, explains WebMD. Acute pancreatitis is inflammation that comes on suddenly and only lasts for a short period. The situation may cause pain ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain, and most people who have acute pancreatitis recover following treatment. In cases of pancreatitis that are severe, the pancreas may bleed or develop an infection, or severe tissue damage may occur. Severe cases may also cause damage to other organs, including the lungs, heart and kidneys.
Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that is long-lasting, states WebMD. Usually, this type of pancreatitis occurs following a bout of acute pancreatitis. Another cause of chronic pancreatitis is heavy alcohol use. In this case, a person may drink heavily for many years but then suddenly may develop severe symptoms of pancreatitis.
Those with acute pancreatitis usually receive treatment in a hospital that includes IV drugs and pain medications, claims WebMD. Chronic pancreatitis is more difficult to treat, and in this case, doctors recommend lifestyle changes, such as a low-fat diet, and may also prescribe enzymes or hormones.