Lower back pain and constipation can be the symptoms of single condition or can also be completely unrelated. If you find these symptoms occurring together it is better to consult a doctor. Most of the time the lower back pain resolves without treatment. Also, constipation can be treated at home(1, 2). But, both these symptoms together can be a problem that a doctor should be consulted for.
Can Lower Back Pain Cause Constipation
Sometimes, in the case of a tumor, lower back pain can lead to constipation. According to the British Charity Cancer Research UK, the tumor presses the nerves and can slow down the movement of the bowel, which can cause constipation (3). Also, growth and tumors in the colon can lead to constipation(4).
Conditions That Can Lead to Constipation and Back Pain
Constipation can lead to lower back pain, which occurs when the mass of feces presses on the nerves of the lower back. A few more conditions that can lead to both constipation and back ache at the same time are:
- Bowel Obstruction: This condition results when hard stool collect in the intestine or when something presses on or constricts and prevents the stool from moving forward.
- Endometriosis: In endometriosis the tissues lining the uterus start growing in the other places in the body, which include fallopian tube, ovaries, bowel, and bladder. The symptoms of endometriosis include severe menstrual cramps, lower abdominal cramps, and back pain(5).
- Fibromyalgia: Those with fibromyalgia experience increased sensitivity to pain, problems in sleeping, fatigue, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS): Inflammatory bowel disease can lead to abdominal bloating and cramping. The person with IBS may also experience lower back pain.
- Pancreatic Cancer: There are not many symptoms present in the early stage of pancreatic cancer but as it progresses a range of symptoms such as itchy skin, back pain, abdominal pain, and digestive problems are experienced(6).
- Liver Disorders: Liver disorders such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and cancer can lead to nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, swelling, and itching. The symptom of back pain depend on the type of liver disorder. In a study done in 2015, lower back pain was found to be a common symptom of cirrhosis(7).
People who experience constipation along with lower back pain should contact the doctor as soon as possible(8).
Causes of Constipation
Constipation can occur due to numerous causes including stress, diet, and physical activity. Other causes of constipation include:
- Lack of fiber in the diet
- Pregnancy or hormonal changes
- Spinal or brain injuries
- Low level of physical activity
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Cause of dull lower back pain is constipation and there can be a possibility of constipation and back pain being related. The stool in the rectum may be the cause for the discomfort.
A severe back pain can be due to the following causes:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Spinal cord injury
- Spinal tumor
- Pinched nerve in the back
- Parkinson’s disease
Treatment for Lower Back Pain and Constipation
If the lower back and constipation occur together, an appropriate treatment depending on the underlying condition is recommended.
In less serious cases there are certain home remedies that can prove to be of help:
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs: These are the drugs that can help in relieving pain.
- Low-impact Physical Activity: Exercise can be helpful in relieving constipation as well as lowering back pain(9).
- Drinking Water: Drinking plenty of water can help in softening the stool and making it easier to pass through.
- Over-The-Counter Laxatives: These help in making the stool soft.
- Fiber-Rich Diet: Fiber adds bulk to the stool, which stimulates the intestine and make the stool movement along the digestive tract easier.
If the symptoms are severe and not resolving after home treatments, a doctor should be consulted. Also, if experiencing any of the following symptoms, see a doctor:
- Sharp pain in the back
- Blood in stool
- Sharp abdominal pain
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