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Low Back Pain and Constipation: Understanding the Connection

Low back pain is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, poor posture, and certain medical conditions. However, one lesser-known cause of low back pain is constipation. In this article, we'll explore the connection between low back pain and constipation and what you can do to manage this uncomfortable combination of symptoms.
What is constipation?
Constipation is a condition in which a person has difficulty passing stools or has fewer than three bowel movements per week. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including a low-fiber diet, lack of physical activity, certain medications, and certain medical conditions. When you're constipated, your stools can become hard and difficult to pass, which can cause discomfort and pain.
How does constipation cause low back pain?
Constipation and low back pain are connected in several ways. First, when you're constipated, you may strain during bowel movements, which can put pressure on the muscles and nerves in your lower back. This can lead to muscle spasms, which can cause pain and discomfort.
In addition, the buildup of stool in your colon can cause cramping, bloating, and discomfort, which can also contribute to low back pain. When stool builds up in your colon, it can press against the muscles and nerves in your lower back, leading to pain and discomfort.
Finally, if you have a medical condition that causes constipation, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it can also contribute to low back pain. These conditions can cause inflammation and irritation in the digestive system, which can lead to muscle spasms, cramping, and pain in the lower back.
What can you do to manage low back pain and constipation?
If you're experiencing persistent low back pain along with constipation, it's important to talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause and to discuss treatment options. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as increasing your fiber intake and getting regular exercise, to help manage your constipation and reduce your low back pain.
In addition, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to help relieve constipation and manage low back pain. Some common medications used to treat constipation include fiber supplements, stool softeners, and laxatives. Anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants may also be recommended to help manage low back pain.
In some cases, physical therapy or chiropractic care may be recommended to help relieve low back pain and improve your overall health. A physical therapist or chiropractor can help you develop a personalized exercise and stretching program to help improve your posture, reduce muscle tension, and manage your pain.
Low back pain and constipation can be a frustrating and uncomfortable combination of symptoms. However, by understanding the connection between the two and working with your doctor to develop an effective treatment plan, you can manage your symptoms and get back to feeling your best.
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Constipation.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Constipation.
American Chiropractic Association. (2021). Low Back Pain.
Yaron Lohr, DC Clinic Director

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