Constipation is defined as a condition causing an individual to have three or less bowel movements a week. Alternatively it also relates to bowel movements with small, hard and dry stools that are very often hard and sometimes very painful to pass. It can result in the sufferer having an uncomfortable or painful bloated sensation around the abdomen region.
It can be termed acute which means its onset is sudden but short lasting (most of us have suffered from this at some point in our lives) or chronic whereby the symptoms can last for much longer periods – years in some cases.
Normally constipation, whilst painful and uncomfortable, is not considered that serious and most who suffer from it do not feel they need to consult a doctor.
Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?
The short answer is yes – constipation and back pain can go hand in hand in a couple of ways. Constipation means that the body isn’t getting rid of waste properly via regular bowel movements – the result, a build up of waste, which we know as stool, within the large intestine. If the stool is not passed it will change in consistency and harden to the point that it becomes more and more difficult to pass. This can result in back pain in two ways:
A: The blocked lower intestine becomes distended and is likely to cause a pressure, discomfort, bloating or feeling of being full, not just in the abdomen area but can also extend into the lower back too. This uncomfortable type pressure will worsen the longer the constipation lasts as the body will continue to produce waste even though it’s not being excreted and so the build up and pressure will worsen. This back pain as a result of constipation will normally not be too severe and often more of discomfort, a dull ache or uncomfortable pressure type lower back pain.
B: The act of trying to pass a constipated stool is hard, even the act of trying can result in the body puts the lower back muscles at risk by straining them. This strain all too often will affect the nerves in the area and hence cause a pain in the lower back region. It may not sound much but this pain can actually be quite severe in some cases.
Treating Back Pain From Constipation
Just as constipation is common so are the treatment options with a plethora of home remedies, over the counter solutions and prescription drugs available. In fact there are so many different solutions it can be completely confusing – from a high fiber diet combined with plenty of water and exercise, to high powered over the counter or prescribed laxatives which are only designed to be used occasionally. We’re not going to prescribe a solution for you but suggest that you talk to your doctor, physician or pharmacist who will be able to make a recommendation based on your own personal symptoms.
Treat the constipation and back pain will go too – obviously if the pain is down to muscle strain it may take a little more time, rest and treatment.