Constipation and back pain are the two most common health disorders in the current scenario. Several people with constipation face severe or mild back pain. Now the question arises here can constipation cause back pain?
Is there any association between back pain and constipation? Let’s check why constipation causes back pain and how to get rid of it.
Why Does Constipation Cause Back Pain?
Constipation causes blockage in the colon or rectum area. This obstruction can lead to back pain, especially for women. There is a strong association between back pain and GI symptoms in women.
Constipation is one of the most common GI symptoms. Studies have shown GI symptoms like constipation, hemorrhoids, and other bowel problems are significantly associated with back pain among all age cohorts (1).
Constipated young, mid-age and older women often face back pain.
Also, fecal impaction during constipation may lead to back pain. So what is fecal impaction? When the dry stool is stuck in the colon or rectum it is known as fecal impaction.
Where Is Constipation Pain Felt?
Constipation pain can be felt in both the upper and lower back areas. However, the pain in the lower back area is most common. It is also observed that constipation pain can extend throughout the abdomen area.
In fact, constipation can worsen the conditions of patients with chronic pain. Patients with chronic pain can face whole-body pain during constipation also. According to studies, constipation is associated with the pain severity of the total patients and patients with low back and/or lower limb pain, and whole-body pain (2).
Can Constipation Cause Lower Back Pain?
Yes, constipation can cause lower back pain. Actually, lower back pain is one of the most common side effects of frequent constipation. It can take place on both sides or on a single side of the lower back area.
Let’s check the reason behind these types of pains.
Can Constipation Cause Lower Back Pain On One Side?
Yes, constipation can cause lower back pain on one side. People can feel pain in either left or right side of the lower back portion. Let’s check the reason behind one-sided lower back pain on constipation.
Can Constipation Cause Lower Back Pain On Left Side?
Left side lower back pain is caused by both constipation and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Studies have shown that Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation can lead to pain in the left flank (3).
However, in the majority of cases, the combination of IBS and constipation does not cause pain in the right side of the back. There is very little chance of right back pain in this situation.
Can Constipation Cause Lower Back Pain On Right Side?
Functional constipation can cause lower back pain on the right side. In this case, people face the pain in the right hypochondrium and they are less likely to feel pain in the left flank and left the iliac site.
Moreover, IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea are associated with pain in the right flank for several people. On the other hand, the lower right flank is the predominant pain site for hypogastrium Patients with functional abdominal pain syndrome.
Can Constipation Cause Upper Back Pain?
Constipation may rarely cause upper back pain. Although, pain in this area is not as common as lower back pain. However, people who are suffering from functional diarrhea, IBS with diarrhea, or functional bloating can face upper back pain.
It’s because functional diarrhea, IBS with diarrhea, or functional bloating do not have a specific pain site. In that case, upper back pain can be caused by constipation or bowel obstruction.
On the other hand, constipation is linked with chronic kidney diseases. In fact, constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders observed among patients suffering from chronic kidney disease or CKD (4).
The kidneys are placed below the ribcage. This area falls under the upper back portion. In that case, constipation may cause upper back pain near the kidneys.
Can Constipation Cause Lower Back Pain Near Kidneys?
In normal circumstances, constipation does not cause lower back pain near the kidneys. As the kidney is located just below the rib cage the pain occurs also just below the rib cage.
This area does not fall under the lower back. That’s why constipation does not cause lower back pain near the kidneys. However, if you are suffering from some disorders you may face lower back pain somehow near the kidneys.
- Functional diarrhea
- IBS with diarrhea
- Functional bloating
How To Relieve Constipation Back Pain?
To relieve constipation back pain people need to get rid of constipation first. Constipation occurs mainly due to a lack of fiber consumption. The high fiber foods can increase the stool frequency, and soften stool consistency (5).
That’s why consumption of high fiber foods can help to relieve back pain that occurs due to constipation. Moreover, magnesium-rich foods are also helpful to reduce the risk of back pain on constipation.
It’s because magnesium intake is associated with smooth bowel movement. Furthermore, reducing the intake of foods that are high in saturated fat like peanut butter and coconut may also aid in reliving constipation and back pain.
Studies have shown that more than 30 grams intake of saturated fat per day can promote constipation (6). Because of this saturated fat rich coconut can cause constipation and back pain.
Like coconut, peanut butter can also cause constipation back pain because it is a rich source of saturated fat. That’s why replacing peanut butter and coconut milk with a medium saturated fat product like almond butter may help you to reduce the risk of back pain on constipation.
There are some other factors that can help in relieving back pain. These are:
- Consumption of more water to avoid dehydration related constipation
- Maintaining a daily physical workout schedule to prevent constipation
- Practicing some common bowel movement exercises
- Use of natural laxatives for constipation cure
Constipation with back pain is a very common problem faced by numerous people every day. There are several reasons behind this kind of back pain. The blockage in the colon or rectum area due to improper bowel movement is the main reason for back pain.
Also, IBS with constipation can promote back pain in some people. However, the back pain of constipation can be dealt with by following some easy rules. The main way to get rid of it is to add more fiber-dense foods to your daily dishes.
Also, the consumption of adequate water and magnesium can also help to relieve constipation and back pain. Removal of high saturated fat dense foods is another great way to deal with this problem.