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What Causes Constipation And Back Pain

What Does Back Pain From Constipation Feel Like

2 ways to relieve constipation & Back Pain

Back pain from constipation is usually described as a dull ache that radiates from the abdomen to the lower back. Some IBS patients have reported a sharp pain, cramping, and a sense of fullness or pressure.

Constipation can cause chronic pain in your back, or it may only happen in certain positions like bending over. The pain can also flare up when you’re trying to push poop out.

Keep in mind that other causes of back pain can mimic these symptoms, like a herniated disc, sciatica, or spinal cord injury. It might be smart to get medical advice to rule out something serious.

How Common Is Constipation

You are not alone if you have constipation. Constipation is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. At least 2.5 million people see their doctor each year due to constipation.

People of all ages can have an occasional bout of constipation. There are also certain people and situations that are more likely to lead to becoming more consistently constipated . These include:

  • Older age. Older people tend to be less active, have a slower metabolism and less muscle contraction strength along their digestive tract than when they were younger.
  • Being a woman, especially while you are pregnant and after childbirth. Changes in a womans hormones make them more prone to constipation. The baby inside the womb squishes the intestines, slowing down the passage of stool.
  • Not eating enough high-fiber foods. High-fiber foods keep food moving through the digestive system.
  • Taking certain medications .
  • Having certain neurological and digestive disorders .

Another Possible Scenario: Back Pain Causes Constipation

Back injuries can turn otherwise easy activities into a huge painliterallyand they can also make passing stool more difficult.

Back pain isn’t a super common cause of constipation, but it’s definitely possible. Your back is a winding maze of skeletal structures, nerve endings, muscles, and connective tissue. Injuries and medical conditions can interfere with your “gut-brain axis,” which tells your body it’s time to drop a deuce.

Back pain can also lead to poor sleep, a lack of physical activity, and stressthree huge risk factors for constipation. If your back is screwed up, physical therapy can resolve the underlying issue and, in turn, get your pooping schedule back on track.

Also Check: How To Relieve Lower Back Ache

Treatment Options For Constipation

If constipation is the cause of your back pain, treating the root cause is most important as it should resolve the pain. The first line of treatment for constipation is changing what you eat, and adding more fiber and more water to your diet. This can quickly make your stool softer and easier to pass, relieving constipation. Physical activity can also be helpful as it may cause movement within your bowels.

Some tips for relieving constipation at home include:

If home remedies do not work, a provider may recommend over-the-counter options. These can include fiber supplements, osmotic agents like Milk of Magnesia, stool softeners, lubricants like mineral oil, and stimulants. Medication can also be prescribed if these do not work. Common prescriptions include:

  • Lubiprostone, which increases the level of fluid in the intestine
  • Linaclotide or plecanatide, which helps to make bowel movements more regular for people with long term constipation or IBS
  • Pricalopride, which helps the colon to move stool

When further intervention is needed, a provider may recommend:

  • Biofeedback therapy to help retrain your muscles

General Constipation And Back Pain: Whats Going On

Pin on IBS Hospital

The most likely situation is whats referred to as general constipation, where the blockage in your digestive tract presses against the nerves and muscles of your back.

This causes a range of feedback to be intercepted by the brain, which only worsens as the backed-up stool grows larger.

Just as with fecal impaction, symptoms of general constipation include infrequent bowel movements, pain when passing stool, and hard/lumpy output.

Abdominal cramps, bloating, swelling, and a feeling of fullness are also common factors.

The cause of general constipation is most commonly linked to poor diet, but stress, sudden injury, reaction to medication, and a lack of activity/exercise also play a part.

Dont try to self diagnose, however. The real cause of your condition needs to be determined by a medical professional, and it remains highly important that you consult with your doctor or a physician should constipation and back pain continue to dictate your quality of life.

The treatment for constipation is not quite as severe as fecal impaction. Rather than intrusive techniques, this solution revolves around diet improvements and bowel movement management.

Sometimes, medication may be administered, but its really the last report. Lifestyle changes are absolutely the best way forward here.

Engaging in more physical sports, stretching, exercising, and being active are great ways to treat the problem.

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What Should I Do If I Am Constipated

Take these steps:

  • Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day, unless your doctor told you to limit fluids for another reason.
  • Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  • Eat prunes and bran cereal.
  • Exercise most days of the week. When you move your body, the muscles in your intestines are more active, too.
  • Donât ignore the urge to poop.

You can try taking a laxative, too. There are several types of laxatives, and you can buy many of them over the counter. Each of them works in a different way to ease constipation. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which kind might work for you and how long you should take it.

Can I Prevent Constipation

In many cases, you can. These things can help:

Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal . See how prebiotic supplements can help ease digestion.

Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day . Fiber and water work together to keep you regular.

Cut back on milk. Dairy products can constipate some people.

Exercise regularly. Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge.

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Also Check: Why Is Back Pain So Painful

Is It Possible For Back Pain To Cause Constipation

Back pain that is being caused by a spinal cord injury or nerve condition may cause you to have constipation. This is because these conditions can damage the nerves that control part of your colon and intestines. Damage to these nerves can interfere with your ability to have healthy bowel movements.

Back pain may also cause you to sleep poorly. It may be so severe it causes you to lose your appetite and ability to properly care for yourself. It could also lead to physical and mental stress. All these factors increase the risk for constipation.

Does Constipation Also Lead To Upper Back Pain

Does Constipation Cause Lower Back Pain?

While constipation may be one of the many causes of lower back pain, it rarely, if ever, is a cause of pain in the upper back.

One of the rare times that upper back pain does lead to constipation is when the reason is an injury that affects the nerves connected to the colon and digestive system.

For example, if you suffer from a herniated disc in the upper back, it can cause excess pressure on specific nerves in the spine, including those that regulate bowel movements.

In addition, any injury or sprain to the spinal cord can lead to pain in the upper back that may indirectly cause constipation.

If you have upper back pain and constipation, we recommend you book in with us for a complete physical evaluation of your upper back and spine to determine the root cause of your symptoms and whether the two conditions are linked for you.

Also Check: Why My Lower Back Is Hurting

How Can I Clear My Bowels Every Morning

10 ways to make yourself poop first thing in the morning

  • Load up on foods with fibre. …
  • Or, take a fibre supplement. …
  • Drink some coffee preferably *hot.* …
  • Get a little exercise in. …
  • Try massaging your perineum no, really. …
  • Try an over-the-counter laxative. …
  • Or try a prescription laxative if things get really bad.
  • 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.

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    What Are Causes Of Constipation With Back Pain

    Constipation can be caused by certain lifestyle behaviors, such as not exercising enough or not drinking enough water. However, if you have both constipation and back pain, its possible you may have a specific health condition that is causing these problems.

    For example, a tumor that is pressing on your spinal cord can cause back pain and constipation, depending on where the tumor is located and how it is pressing on your spinal cord. Constipation is also a side effect of diabetes, and lack of exercise is a risk factor for both diabetes and back pain. Therefore, you may have both constipation and back pain if you have diabetes.

    The Relationship Between Your Lower Back & Digestive System


    Constipation can indeed cause back pain, as a blockage of waste in your lower intestines can cause pain to radiate in your lower back. The problem only gets worse until you have a bowel movement, as while you are still waiting to go, the food that you eat is causing even more waste to accumulate and become impacted. On the other hand, back pain in the form of strained or tight back muscles can also be the cause of constipation. This is because when the muscles contract too tightly, they can cause difficulties for the nerves that control your bowel movements. Therefore, we can conclude that a relationship does exist between your lower back and digestive system.

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    Constipation Types & Symptoms

    The Bristol Stool Form Scale makes it easier to understand and talk about constipation. The scale helps assess how long stools have been in the bowel by assigning them a number based on their size, shape, and consistency.

    Type 1 stools have spent the most time in the bowel type 7 have spent the least. Stools resembling types 1-2 indicate constipation, types 3-5 are typically considered normal bowel movements, and types 6-7 are diarrhea.

    Sudden or short periods of difficult, infrequent bowel movements of type 1-2 stool are categorized as occasional constipation.

    Occasional constipation affects about 16% of adults and is usually the result of easily-identifiable causes, such as a diet low in fiber, dehydration, lack of physical activity, or medications that cause constipation as a side effect. This includes over-the-counter medications like antacids or iron supplements, and many medications prescribed for high blood pressure, Parkinsons, and depression. It also includes many of the most commonly prescribed pain medications like opioids more on that in a minute.

    Constipation symptoms that keep coming back or seem to last for a long time more than 3 months are known as chronic constipation. If chronic constipation is accompanied by bloating and abdominal pain or discomfort, its called IBS-C .

    Chronic constipation can be a symptom of a range of medical conditions, including problems in your spine.

    Pain That Doesnt Disappear After Bowel Movement

    Your lower back pain should disappear after a bowel movement, since that alleviates any pressure you may be experiencing in your pelvic area. However, if the pain persists or intensifies after your bowel movement, it could be a sign that a nerve was pinched or something was dislodged when your colon loosened up.

    Read Also: How To Relieve Lower Back Cramps

    Conditions That Cause Lower Back Pain And Constipation

    It is also possible that you do not have IBS, but have constipation, which is also linked to lower back pain. Both constipation and lower back pain are fairly common medical issues, and are often nothing to be concerned about, but if they occur suddenly at the same time, it is advisable to see a doctor, as it might be a sign of a more serious issue. For example, the following are examples of conditions that cause both constipation and lower back pain to occur at the same time:

    • Bowel obstruction

    A bowel obstruction is a gastrointestinal condition in which digested material cannot pass normally or as it should through the bowel. A bowel obstruction can be caused by fibrous tissue that compresses the gut, which can develop many years after abdominal surgery. With a bowel obstruction, the blockage in your colon or rectum can create a dull pain that extends from the abdomen to the lower back.

    Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. In individuals with endometriosis, the tissues that should be lining the uterus can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or the intestines. Bowel symptoms are very common with endometriosis, as is back pain. This is because endometrial cells can stick to the lower back and the front of the pelvic cavities.

    • Liver disorders
    • Urinary tract infections

    Link Between Lower Back Pain And Bowel Problems

    Can constipation cause back pain

    When we talk about bowel disorders, we are referring to conditions that affect your small intestines. Bowel disorders can also affect other parts of your digestive system, like your large intestine. Bowel problems are usually caused by smoking, diet, microbial and immunologic factors, and a family history of Crohns disease.

    The most familiar symptoms of bowel disorders are abdominal pain, swelling, bloody stool, constipation, diarrhea, and gas. What many people do not realize is that bowel problems are also related to lower back pain. The truth is that bowel problems and lower back pain are inextricably linked. This is because the nerves of both the back and the abdominal area run through the lower part of the spine.

    If you suffer from abdominal pain and bloating, it is likely that you also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to the classic symptoms like bloating and gas, individuals with IBS often develop extraintestinal symptoms, or symptoms that involve parts of the body beyond the gut. This can include sleep problems, headaches, trouble urinating, fatigue, muscle pain, pain in the pelvis or jaw, and back pain.

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    Can Bowel Problems Cause Leg Pain

    It is also possible that SIBO, a bacterial overgrowth in the small bowel, can lead to issues with legs such as restless leg syndrome. Up to 80% of those with irrvos type symptoms have SIBO as the underlying issue. This can cause pain in one or both legs. abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal discomfort.

    The symptoms can vary from person to person, but they can all be caused by the same underlying cause: bacteria. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out other possible causes of the problem.

    Is My Back Pain Caused By Constipation

    One study found that the association between constipation or stool consistency can exacerbate back pain in people with chronic pain. In other words, if you have chronic pain that you experience in the lower back or lower limbs, having constipation or harder stools can make this pain worse.

    For most people, back pain is not a sign of constipation. Instead, the most common symptoms of constipation include:

    • Having fewer than three bowel movements a week
    • Stools that are hard, dry, or lumpy
    • Stools that are difficult or painful to pass
    • Feeling that not all stool has passed
    • Straining to have bowel movements
    • Needing help to empty your bowels, including using your hands to press on your stomach

    However, some people report that the feeling of being âbacked upâ can cause pain in their stomach that can sometimes extend to the lower back.

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    So How Does Constipation Cause Back Pain

    I wont sugarcoat this with niceties. Constipation swells the intestines with retained fecal matter, and this can lead to serious discomfort across the abdomen and back area.

    This kind of pain is most commonly reported as a dull ache in the lower back, where the backup of stool radiates pressure upon surrounding parts of the body.

    If things get really bad, pressure upon the nerves can lead to pain and numbness in your legs. Its like sciatica, but with extra suffering and a disturbed appetite.

    What Could Be Causing Lower Back Pain When You Have A Bowel Movement

    Back Pain &  Constipation

    Other than constipation and painful, hard stools, there are several other potential causes for experiencing lower back pain while pooping.

    Here are three common ones to consider.


    Endometriosis is a common issue if youve got a uterus, affecting up to 10% of women worldwide. This condition occurs when the endometrium attaches to organs and grows outside the uterus. The tissue can attach to the bowel, which can cause pain when passing gas or stool.

    There may also be blood in your stool around your menstruation cycle. Speak to your doctor if you have other symptoms, including heavy, painful periods, cramps, pelvic pain, and pain during sexual intercourse.

    Irritable bowel syndrome

    Studies show that 28 to 81% of people with IBS also have back pain.¹ IBS has many symptoms, but the main ones include bloating, stomachache, constipation or diarrhea, back pain, nausea, and flatulence.¹¹

    Stress or certain foods can worsen these symptoms, causing a flare-up.


    Sciatica is another condition that arises from pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve, which runs from the foot to the lower back.¹² Symptoms include dull or sharp pain, a burning sensation, numbness, tingling, or weakness.

    These typically affect the lower back or one side of the lower body. If you strain during bowel movements, the pressure can cause lower back pain and other sciatica symptoms.

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