December 16, 2021

Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?

Constipation and back pain are both highly common conditions. In many instances, these two conditions occur at the same time.

Here’s more about the link between constipation and back pain, and what to do next if you are suffering from one or both conditions.

Can Constipation Cause Severe Back Pain?

Constipation does not usually cause severe back pain. However, it may be a side effect of severe back pain. Most doctors report that constipation causes a dull ache instead of severe back pain.

Constipation that occurs with severe back pain may be caused by:

  • A pinched nerve in your back
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Tumor on your spine

Why Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?

Constipation can cause your intestines to swell due to built-up stool that you are unable to pass. This is why your stomach may look bigger, or you feel more bloated when you are constipated. Swollen intestines can cause pain or discomfort in your back. This pain usually feels like a dull ache, which many people may describe as general back pain.

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 Cause Lower Back Pain?

The buildup of stool in your intestines may cause lower back pain or a dull aching sensation in this part of your back. If your constipation is causing your lower back pain, your pain will gradually go away after you start having regular bowel movements.

Fecal impaction is another common cause of lower back pain. Fecal impaction is when a piece of dry stool gets stuck in your colon or rectum. This can lead to extra pressure in these areas that cause lower back pain.

Common symptoms of fecal impaction include abdominal cramping, bloating, and bleeding from the rectum. Make an appointment with your doctor soon if you have lower back pain and constipation and have fecal impaction symptoms.

Can Constipation Cause Upper Back Pain?

It’s possible for constipation to cause upper back pain, though it is not as common as lower back pain. You may have constipation from upper back pain if the back pain is being caused by an injury or condition that affects your nerves.

For example, a herniated disc can put pressure on certain spinal nerves, including the nerves that control your bowel movements. A muscle strain or injury that affects your spine could also lead to upper back pain that causes constipation.

If you have both constipation and upper back pain, make an appointment with your doctor so you can receive an accurate diagnosis.

Can Constipation Cause Back Pain and Leg Pain at the Same Time?

Leg pain on its own isn’t usually caused by constipation. However, you may experience constipation with leg pain if your leg pain is also accompanied by back pain.

For example, you may have constipation if you have sciatica, which affects the sciatic nerves. The sciatic nerves run from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica occurs when pressure is being placed on one or both sciatic nerves and causes pain in the areas along the nerve, including the legs and back.

What Are Symptoms of Constipation?

Constipation is a condition where you have fewer than three bowel movements a week. It could also mean that you have to strain really hard in order to have a bowel movement.

Other symptoms of constipation include:

  • Having stools that are hard or lumpy
  • Having a feeling of fullness all the time
  • Experiencing pain when having a bowel movement
  • Feeling as though you have a blockage preventing you from having a bowel movement
  • Feeling as though you still have stool in your body after a bowel movement
  • Needing to press your hands on your abdomen to encourage a bowel movement
  • Needing to use a finger to remove stool out of your rectum

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, it’s 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.

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.

Treating Back Pain with Healthcare Associates of Texas

Healthcare Associates of Texas is home to a large team of board-certified medical professionals who can work with you to eliminate constipation and reduce back pain. We offer a wide range of primary care and physical medicine services that can help you start feeling better right away. Visit our website today to find the nearest location and request an appointment.

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