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How Constipation and Back Pain are Related

Published on , Last Updated on June 5, 2013

Back Pain and Constipation

Are you aware that the soreness you are feeling in the lower back region may be related to the constipation you are experiencing? On the flip side, are you aware that having back pains can cause constipation?

While most people are comfortable and open in discussing their back pain, constipation to date remains to persist as an embarrassing subject that most people rarely talk about. Because of this, the relationship between constipation and back pain is not widely known.

That’s right! Either one can cause the other. Therefore, it is very important for all of us to have a better understanding of the relationship between constipation and back pain, while working toward developing healthier habits and choices to care for our backs and digestive system.

How Constipation Can Cause Back Pain

Constipation is a term used to describe having infrequent bowel movements and it affects many people every dayy. While the most obvious constipation symptom is difficulty in having regular bowel movements, another prevalent symptom is back pain. Most of us will experience some sort of pain or discomfort in our backs at some point in our lives, and constipation could be one of the underlying causes.

Typically, back pains occur when you are lifting something too heavy, or when you are twisting too suddenly, or even sleeping in an awkward position. Our everyday motions of walking, running, bending and sitting, continuously impact the lower back area.

Now, when you add the weight of an impacted colon to your daily activities, the added pressure on your lower back while walking, running, and sitting will result in greater strain. More specifically, when a person becomes constipated, it basically means accumulated waste has led to an impacted colon. In more severe cases, the bowels swell to the point where they’re actually pressing against nerves in the lower back. As the nerves are compressed, they send shooting pains and spasms throughout the lower back area and occasionally down the legs as well.

By mentioning the added weight of an impacted colon, you might think it’s only in cases of more severe impaction that back pain is experienced. Not necessarily! The fact is, even minor cases of constipation can involve back pain. Therefore, when your lower back feels greater strain due to having an over-full, constipated colon that has yet to be cleansed and eliminated, you will undoubtedly experience pain, which in turn will hinder your daily natural movements.

How Back Pain Can Cause Constipation

A recent study suggests that 60-80% of people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives [1].

The back has many muscles attached to, intersecting, or covering the spine. The spine itself is made up of an elongated, curved stack of bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are basically circular in form and between each of them is a special disc. These discs are composed of rubber-like tissue and provide flexibility of the spine. Without this flexibility, we wouldn’t be able to bend over, twist, sit, or walk.

Along with the discs, we have strong ligaments spanning from vertebrae to vertebrae for added support. The spine also has the critical job of protecting the spinal cord, which sends messages back and forth between the body and the brain, so we can see the logic of having spinal “armor” shielding it.

Now, when you suffer from a back injury due to sports injuries, accidents, work related injuries involving heavy lifting, or a sudden jerk, you will experience back strains. According to APA, sometimes the simplest of motions such as picking up a pencil from the floor – can also have painful results. That said, having such back strains disturb the lower intestinal nerves. The lower intestinal nerves stimulate bowel movements. Once your lower intestinal nerves are disturbed and you are experiencing irregular bowel movements, you may have constipation. Simplified, back pain can cause constipation!

Additional Facts:

  1. Individuals suffering from back pain are in many cases prescribed codeine to help with pain management. Codeine is a painkilling narcotic that can also unfortunately cause constipation as one of its side effects.
  2. Constipated individuals have been known to herniate discs from straining too hard when trying to force a bowel movement
  3. Pregnant women routinely face constipation along with back pain.

Constipation and Back Pain Symptoms

There are a number of causes of constipation that can potentially lead to back pain. Back muscle spasm, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs are some of the conditions that can cause constipation leading to severe backache. Back pain and constipation can also be related to dehydration and taking medications, as mentioned above such as painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Other potential constipation symptoms that accompany back pain are chronic diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, bloating, and stomach discomfort.
If you are looking to find out if constipation is the source or cause of your back pain, look for the following list of persisting symptoms:

  • The pain is constant and doesn’t improve by resting your back or lying down.
  • Sudden development of the pain that most likely travels up the back into the chest area, and you are under 20 years old or over 55 years old
  • You experience weakness or numbness in your legs, feet, or buttocks.
  • Recurrent loss of appetite, nausea, etc. that affects your diet pattern
  • Problems in the bowel movement with increased pain.

A common symptom for both constipation and back pain is STRESS! Try not to allow financial, relationship, and job stresses consume you and your health! Bottom-line, pain is always a signal that something is wrong. Consult a qualified natural healthcare practitioner if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms.

7 Helpful Hints & Tips for Relieving Constipation and Back Pain

The list of tips below will all help you get constipation relief.

  1. Constipation and back pain can each be distressful, but when combined they can be unbearable. Always remember that it’s important to attack the root cause of the pain and not the symptom.
  2. Posture and regular exercise are two key elements in maintaining both back and digestive health.
  3. Drink lots of purified water (not tap water); avoid dehydrating colas, coffee, and especially alcohol.
  4. Eat regularly and develop an organic diet with plenty of raw fibrous fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds. Avoid constipating foods like dairy and meat products high in fat, refined sugars, processed foods and fried foods.
  5. Raise your feet with a footstool when you are sitting on the toilet. Foot elevation places the bowel at a better angle for passing stool easily.
  6. Thoroughly examine your sleeping conditions. Invest in not just an “okay” bed but the best one you can afford. Getting a great night’s rest is critical to keeping the body in proper working order.
  7. STRESS LESS! Don’t allow financial, relationship, and job stresses to consume you and your health!
  8. Read my book “The Green Body Cleanse” for completely changing your life.
  9. Try taking an oxygen-based intestinal cleanser like Oxy-Powder®. Oxy-Powder® has been clinically proven to relieve constipation, and help keep your bowels moving regularly.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM


  1. Dr. Joseph Lee. Lower back pain and surgery. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2010 June.

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