Does Constipation Cause Back Pain?

If you're wondering if constipation can cause back pain, look no further. Constipation is a common ailment that occurs when bowel movements are infrequent and difficult (via theĀ Cleveland Clinic). This is often a result of your stool being too hard and dry to push out of your body. While constipation is more prevalent among women and older people, anyone can experience constipation at any time. In fact, constipation affects more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. every year.

In some cases, however, constipation can also lead to back pain. "Constipation may cause lower back pain because stool buildup can cause pressure on the colon or rectum, which can refer pain to the lower back," Dr. Yili Huang, the director of the Pain Management Center at Northwell Health's Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York, told The Healthy. Fortunately, the pain should subside once you make a bowel movement.

While constipation with back pain is often a result of dehydration or a low-fiber diet, it might be a symptom of a more serious condition if the pain and constipation remain chronic and persistent. If your symptoms don't resolve on their own after making a bowel movement, you should contact your doctor. You might have a bowel obstruction, colon or rectal cancer, or pelvic floor dysfunction.

How to treat constipation with back pain

In less serious cases of constipation and related back pain, however, there are plenty of at-home treatments and lifestyle changes you can make to help alleviate your situation. For instance, it might help to add more fiber to your daily diet (via Healthline). Eating fiber can help bulk up stool, making it easier to pass. The same goes with water. Drinking plenty of water fluids can make your stool less hard and dry, making bowel movement easier.

It's also a good idea to engage in regular exercise. That's because it can help stretch your muscles and encourage activity in your intestines. This activity can be increased by walking, jogging, running, or doing any other type of cardio workout. In addition, keeping a schedule and going to the bathroom at the same time every day may also help promote regular bowel movements. To help relieve your lower back pain in the short term, you can try using heating pads or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. However, some pain medications, like ibuprofen, may actually contribute to your constipation (via the Cleveland Clinic). If this occurs, you should talk to your doctor. They'll be able to prescribe you a different medication that won't end up making your symptoms worse (via The Healthy).