Lower Back Pain When Constipated Or Pooping: What You Need To Know
Constipation is a common diagnosis, affecting up to 27% of people in the United States.¹ Certain conditions can cause constipation, and most can be resolved through lifestyle changes and other ways to improve your digestive health.
While constipation is a frequent issue for many, experiencing lower back pain when youre pooping or while constipated can be worrying. Its important to know its causes and when to see a doctor for it.
Why Being Constipated Can Cause Back Pain
Youre probably constipated if:
- your poo is hard, dry, large or lumpy
- youve not had a poo at least 3 times over the last 7 days
- you have to strain or it hurts when you poo
And when this happens, you usually have a lot of poo in your bowels, which – as mentioned above – can cause back pain. If youve been constipated for a while, you can develop faecal impaction which can also cause low back pain.
Back pain caused by constipation usually feels like a dull ache and it should go away once you starting pooing normally again.
But if the pain is from faecal impaction, you should see a doctor immediately as this can cause serious complications.
You may have faecal impaction if you have the following symptoms:
- tummy pain, bloating or discomfort
- leaking soft poo
- feeling the need to push
- headache and loss of appetite
- losing weight without meaning to
Being pregnant can also cause low back pain and constipation because of changes in your levels of certain hormones, loosening of the ligaments in your body and the effect of carrying extra weight on your body.
How Are Back Pain And Constipation Related
One of the most common reasons for lower back pain is constipation. Moreover, people with fewer bowel movements also have more episodes of back pain than those with healthy bowel movements.
Upper back pain is less common, but people who experience extreme pressure on the spinal cord may notice aching pain further up the back. Plus, underlying causes like spinal stenosis, muscle strain, or herniated disc can contribute to upper back pain.
When you have constipation, the colon is not able to empty itself fully. And when your colon is filled with stool, it puts pressure on certain spinal nerves. These nerves directly lead to lumbar pain. That means you will feel pain and spasms in the lower back.
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Signs Of Trouble: When To Call A Doctor If You Have Back Pain And Constipation
Most of the time, simple remedies are enough to resolve constipation and its accompanying symptoms. However, some situations require emergency medical assistance because they indicate severe underlying causes. Here are examples of instances when you need to take your constipation and lower back pain more seriously:
Causes: Lower Back And Lower Stomach Pain
Many conditions can be behind lower back and lower stomach pain. In fact, its possible for pain to stem from a problem within the reproductive, musculoskeletal, urinary or digestive system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For instance, menstrual cramps are a common cause of abdominal pain as well as lower back pain, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Endometriosis, a condition that occurs when uterine-like tissue grows in areas outside the uterus, is another condition that can cause stomach and back pain at the same time in women, according to the Office on Womens Health.
There are many known chronic overlapping pain conditions with endometriosis, notably abdominal pain and low back pain,Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a doctor of physical therapy at Femina Physical Therapy in Southern California, says. Endometriosis is known for creating cyclic and noncyclic pain in the abdomen, low back and jaw.
Gastrointestinal conditions could be at the root of lower abdominal and potentially lower back pain as well.
Irritable bowel syndrome , a gastrointestinal disorder, could lead to pain in the lower stomach and possibly the lower back, according to Kaliq Chang, MD, a board-certified interventional pain management specialist at Atlantic Spine Center in New Jersey and New York. In addition to abdominal pain, common symptoms of IBS include gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea, the Mayo Clinic says.
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How Can Constipation And Back Pain Be Treated
The type of treatment you receive for constipation and back pain will depend on the root cause of your problem.
For example, if your constipation is being caused by dehydration, your doctor may instruct you to start drinking more water throughout the day. If your constipation and back pain is being caused by sciatica, your doctor will treat you for sciatica. Common treatments for sciatica include medications, physical therapy, and surgery.
Be completely open and honest with your doctor during your appointment to address constipation and back pain. This will help your doctor determine the true causes of your problems, and the best treatments that can effectively relieve both your constipation and back pain.
Can Constipation Make Your Lower Back Ache
Often, constipation swells the intestines with retained fecal matter. This can lead to discomfort in both the abdomen and back. This type of back pain is typically reported as a dull, aching type of discomfort.
Why do I feel nauseous and lower back pain?
As a general rule, back pain accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting, progressive or unexplained weight loss, mental health changes, such as confusion or anxiety may indicate a tumor, cancer, or infection and requires urgent medical evaluation. must be evaluated by a medical professional.
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Foods That Frequently Cause Gas
For example, cramping abdominal pain is commonly due to gas and bloating. Itâs generally not caused by something serious , and may be followed by diarrhea.
âColicky pain,â or abdominal pain thatâs severe and comes and goes in waves, is typically the result of kidney stones or gallstones.
If your pain isnât localized to a specific area, and instead you feel it in more than half of your belly, you may have a stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. Sometimes stress or anxiety causes vague, nonlocalized abdominal pain as well.
If that pain becomes more severe over time, or your abdomen becomes swollen, it could be the result of something obstructing or blocking your large intestine.
The way the pain evolves over time can also be useful in determining whats causing it. Certain conditions tend to cause acute pain over the course of hours or days, while other conditions cause pain that comes and goes but doesnt necessarily worsen over time.
What To Do If Constipation Causes Back Pain
When the back pain crops up due to any factor it should be treated properly. Nevertheless, if constipation occurs in a person who has back pain, managing the constipation can assist to a great extent.
At most times, it is perceived that other predisposing factors of back pain which include earlier injuries, straining the muscles, intervertebral disc issues etc. may accompany constipation. Thus, treatment of constipation on top of other additional health conditions is recommended.
When the condition happens it can be cured using drugs. Treatment of the root causes of constipation is correspondingly important. It is highly worthwhile to look for medical advice and adhere to it promptly. The prevention and management of constipation requires minor changes, especially in a persons lifestyle. The changes may include
Drinking Large Amounts of Water and Fluids At a minimum, a person should ensure drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water is per day. Unique adherence to the routine must be done especially during the summer season and/or when playing, working out at the gym or being involved in sports activities.
Adequate Roughage to a Persons Meals They include meals such as whole grain meals for breakfast and suppertimes. Add adequate and appropriate quantities of fruits and vegetables in the meals. Avoid food substances that lead to constipation or gastric issues.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Enlarged Prostate
Most men with prostatitis will have a persistent form of the disease, where symptoms come and go for at least three months.
Possible symptoms of chronic prostatitis are:
- pain in the pelvis, genitals, lower back and buttocks
- pain when urinating
- difficulty urinating, such as problems starting or stop-start urination
- pain when ejaculating, which may contribute to erectile dysfunction
- discomfort in the perineal area
The symptoms may vary from day to day: some days they may be particularly troublesome, on other days they may be mild or almost non-existent.
Sometimes you may also experience tiredness, joint pain, muscle pain and a high temperature.
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Constipation Can Cause Back Pain And If You Already Have Low Back Pain Constipation Can Make It Worse Here’s Why You May Be Backed Upand What To Do About It
If you have low back pain, youre not alone. According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 85 percent of working people can expect to experience low back pain during their lifetime. One reason the problem is so common is that the list of potential causes for low back pain is long.
Your back contains many structures that can cause or contribute to pain, including bones, muscles, joints, nerves, tendons, disks, and ligaments. These can become damaged from trauma, aging, obesity, overexertion, and underlying diseases, among other factors.
Your lower backs proximity to other organs and body parts, like the colon, makes it a prime target for referred pain, including from constipation.
Heres a closer look at constipation, the causes of constipation with lower back pain, and treatment options for relief.
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Most Common Sciatica Treatment
Due to the fact that there are many different conditions that can cause nerve roots to become compressed and result in the condition of sciatica- one individuals treatment options will most likely be much different than those for someone else.
Of course, no matter who you are or what the cause of your sciatica, a combination of treatments is typically the most effective choice. Following are a few of the most common treatment options:
While sciatica is typically a short-term condition- lasting only a few weeks when conservative treatments are used- this may not be true for everyone.
In some cases, the condition of sciatica may last for several months. This is why there are so many treatment options that must be adjusted according to the individual.
What Are Bowel Movements
The term bowel movement is synonymous with defecation or, to put it more bluntly, pooping.
While many people do not spend too much time thinking about what their bowel movements look like, what you plop into the toilet bowl every day can tell you a lot about your health.
Essentially, your bowel movements exist somewhere along a spectrum of being healthy or unhealthy, depending on their shape, color, consistency, and frequency.
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Limit Foods And Drinks That Give You Gas
Moderating foods and drinks that make you gassy can also help stave off back pain. Per the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, some common culprits include:
- High-fiber foods like beans, fruits and whole grains
- Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus
- Fermented foods like kombucha or kimchi
- Dairy products if youre lactose intolerant
- Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners
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Preventing Upper Back Pain
While back pain is common, its possible to lower your risk of getting upper back pain. Here are some tips:
- Practice good posture. Sit and stand up straight. When you sit, position your hips and knees at 90 degrees.
- Exercise.Cardio and resistance training will strengthen your back muscles and lower your risk of injury.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can place stress on the back.
- Quit or avoid smoking. This will help you quickly heal after a back injury. Quitting is often difficult, but a doctor can help you develop a smoking cessation plan right for you.
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Back Spasms / Cramping
A sudden contraction or spasms in the back can cause a very severe pain. This condition is known as muscle cramping. However, this type of pain may disappear without you noticing it. With muscle spasms, this could either tell you that whatever it is you are doing should NOT be done again, or there is a more serious underlying issue in your spine. For immediate relief, seek muscle relaxant medication, heat/cold therapy, and slowly stretch the affected area by walking or rubbing it as much as possible. If the spasm occurs again and more frequently, seeking medical attention for the spasm would be in your best interest.
Avoid activities that could lead to back cramping or spasm.
When you experience any of these pains, it is good to visit a Pain Management Doctor to help you diagnose the source of your lower left side back pain. At first you may use over-the-counter pain relievers pain-relieving creams can be of help as well. However, as time goes by and this pain increases, your doctor may recommend certain medication or medical procedures if your pain is severe.
If medications arent helping, your Pain Management Doctor may recommend injections. These injections target irritated nerves by using a nerve root block method. Steroid medication are usually found in these injections. However, if you experience long back pain and is interfering with your daily life, then surgery may need to be an option for you.
Gastrointestinal Causes Of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may arise from problems in the digestive tract including:
- : You may experience early signs of appendicitis in the center of the abdomen, but the telltale sign is lower right abdominal pain and fever. Appendicitis is often a medical emergency because an inflamed and infected appendix can rupture and spread the infection.
- Bowel blockage or obstruction: Marked by stomach pain, and swelling, constipation, , bloating and nausea, a bowel obstruction can lead to intestinal tearing and infection if not treated promptly.
- Celiac disease: You may experience abdominal bloating and pain, , weight loss, and fatigue. There is no cure for celiac diseasea chronic, immune-mediated condition that causes your body to overreact to gluten and damages the lining of the small intestinebut eliminating gluten from your diet is a must.
- Colitis: An infection or inflammation of any part of your colon. Colitis is less severe than a form of inflammatory bowel syndromebecause UC is a chronic, lifelong condition. Antibiotics can clear bacterial colitis, and viral colitis will typically clear on its own.
- : An uncommon, but possible cause of abdominal pain. Symptoms may also include fatigue, blood in stool, a change in bowel habits, bloating, and gas.
- Gallstones: Upper-right abdominal pain is a classic sign of , especially after eating a meal. Medication may dissolve small gallstones, but is the most common treatment.
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Constipation And Back Pain: The Relationship
If you are experiencing constipation along with dull pain in your lower back, it is pretty likely that your back pain is being caused by your constipation. This happens because of the backup of stool in your system, and working to relieve your constipation will also help relieve the pain in your back.
However, sometimes back pain is a sign of something more serious, and it is not always the result of constipation even if the two things are happening simultaneously.
Other common causes of back pain include:
- A pinched nerve in your back
- Sitting or standing for extended periods of time
- Bad posture
- Irritable bowel syndrome
When it comes to back pain, it is important to rule out other causes before assuming that it is stemming from constipation, but this connection is not infrequent.
Constipation can also result from back pain sometimes, though this happens indirectly. In other words, constipation can be the result of back pain when you are taking certain medications to treat that pain, and constipation occurs because of those medications.
The causes of constipation that comes along with back pain do not differ greatly from the causes of constipation alone, because the accompanying back pain is just part of the process.
Constipation Can Be The Cause Of Back Pain Too
The cause-effect relationship works the opposite way, too. When youre constipated, the build-up of fecal matter, bloating, and straining to defecate all lead to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. This extra pressure can cause pain-signaling nerve endings in your lower back to fire.
If you already have a pre-existing back injury, this can lead to a nasty positive feedback loop in which your back pain causes constipation and your constipation, in turn, amplifies your back pain.
The good news is that if your back pain is actually resulting from constipation, it should begin to feel better as soon as bowel function normalizes. Self-management with the tips below is usually enough without having to see a specialist, though changing habits and lifestyle may be required to prevent future flare-ups.
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