3 years ago

Constipation Causing Back Pain - Are You Feeling The Strain? 

Do you suffer from constipation? If so you need to do something about it, as it could be the cause of your back pain. Find out how here.

Constipation causing back pain

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There's nothing more frustrating is there?

When you're sat on the throne desperate to do your business yet your bowels just won't comply.

And the longer it goes on the more frustrated you become.

Your stomach hurts and you feel bloated, uncomfortable and irritable.

It also zaps you of energy, leaving you feeling lethargic.

Yet when things finally start moving it's not always the cause for celebration it should be.

Because the strain of going can be so painful it can make your eyes water.

Seriously, forget childbirth, try taking your first poo in a week! (just kidding ladies).

However, while we all experience these pains and frustrations from the odd bout of constipation, if you find yourself constipated on a more frequent basis then you need to do something about it.

Because believe it or not, all that straining and not being able to rid your body of waste could be what is making your back hurt. 

How Does Constipation Cause Back Pain?

Being constipated is probably not the first place you look when you're trying to find the root cause of your lower back pain.

But it might just be the thing that's triggering it.

Now one-off cases of mild constipation may not be anything to worry about.

But if you suffer from constipation on a regular basis then you need to take notice.

Because being constipated like this can cause back pain in two different ways:

  • The blockage it causes in your intestines puts your spinal discs, nerves, and lower back under increasing pressure.
  • Straining as you're trying to go causes even more pressure on your back, which can lead to protruding discs that press on your nerves and cause pain. 

A Blockage In Your Intestines

"Ah man, it's total gridlock"

When you become constipated there is a blockage in your intestines that stops the stools from passing through as normal.

However, just because you can't go to the toilet doesn't mean your body stops producing waste that it needs to get rid of.

So you end up with a backlog of stools in your intestines that resemble the M25 during rush hour!

And this backlog will start to affect you, as it will add pressure and strain onto your spinal discs, nerves, and lower back.

So as the 'poo queue' gets longer and longer, the more this pressure builds.

Which results in lower back pain that can make you feel really uncomfortable.

And the longer your constipation goes on for the worse this back pain will get.

So you need to unblock those pipes!

Straining On The Throne

We've all been there right?

When you are sat down on the toilet your spinal discs are under twice the amount of pressure that they are when you are standing up.

This is because these discs become compressed and squeezed when you sit down, and as a result they can't take in the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Which can make sitting a surprisingly hazardous activity!

And even more so when you are constipated.

Because being constipated forces you to strain with all your might when trying to do a number 2.

But this straining is terrible for your back as it adds even more pressure on to your already pressurised discs.

And this can cause them to protrude and press onto your nerves.

Which as anyone who has ever experienced nerve pain will know is an absolute disaster.

So you need to avoid the strain if you want to avoid the pain.

Why Do You Become Constipated?

It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing your constipation, because there are many different reasons that you can become constipated.

These include:

  • A lack of activity.
  • Changes in your diet.
  • Eating too many dairy products.
  • Stress.
  • Travelling (especially through different time zones).
  • Taking certain types of painkillers (especially opioids).
  • Taking anti-depressants.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome and problems with your digestive system.
  • Other serious medical issues such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and having an under-active thyroid.

Quite a long list of potential culprits.

So, if you recognise that any of these things apply to you, try to address them.

And here are some more ways you can try and rid yourself of constipation.

11 Ways To Cure Constipation

So you know that if you get regular bouts of constipation you need to do something about it.

And not only to prevent back pain, but to also keep your body healthy and functioning as well as it should.

So try implementing a few of the following tips to get things moving again.

Eat More Fiber

Infographic care of Positive Healthwellness.

Increasing your fiber intake is a great way to get rid of constipation.

As this will both increase the bulk and consistency of your bowel movements, which makes it easier to poo.

And as so many of us fall into the trap of eating too many processed foods, a switch to a high fiber diet should make a big difference.

So, to increase your fiber intake try to add some of the following foods to your diet:

  • Fruits such as apples, pears, plums, apricots, berries, and prunes.
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beans, and spinach.
  • Whole-grain bread and cereals (especially bran).
  • Nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
  • Seeds such as flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds.

This will get your bowels moving regularly in no time.

Eat Probiotic Yoghurts

An imbalance between good and bad bacteria in your gut can lead to constipation.

So a good way to maintain a healthy balance is to add probiotic yoghurts to your diet.

As these have been found to increase the consistency of your stools while also making your bowel movements more regular.

So try eating a probiotic yoghurt every day to get relief from constipation.

Just make sure you pick one that contains active live cultures to get the most benefit.

Drink Plenty Of Water

Being dehydrated can cause constipation as it makes your stools hard, dry, and difficult to pass.

So it's vital that you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during the day.

Try to aim for between 8-10 cups to keep you on the straight and narrow.

And avoid too much alcohol and caffeine when constipated, as these can cause you to become even more dehydrated.

Drink A Strong Black Coffee

Now this kinda runs contrary to the 'avoid caffeine' advice in the previous section.

However, for some people a strong black coffee in the morning can really help to get the bowels moving again.

That's certainly the case for me anyway (sorry if that's TMI!).

Coffee has this effect because it stimulates the muscles in your digestive system, which jump starts the whole process.

Just be sure to limit yourself to 1-2 cups of coffee per day to avoid dehydrating yourself.

And don't add milk, as dairy can be another cause of constipation.

Stay Away From Dairy Products

Meet Daisy the colon blocker

We all love a bit of milk and cheese right?

And dairy products are great for you in so many ways, such as providing you with calcium and giving you strong bones.

However, while a probiotic yoghurt each day is good for constipation, too much dairy can be a cause of it in some people.

Now this may not be a problem for everyone, but it could be causing your constipation without you even realising it.

This is because dairy products contain lactose.

And if you are lactose intolerant it can lead to excessive gas, bloating, and constipation.

So, to make sure dairy isn't the cause of your constipation try to completely avoid it for a couple of weeks.

If you become regular again in that time then it may have been the dairy products that were the problem.

Get Some Exercise

Get things moving in more ways than one!

A big cause of constipation is when people live a life that is too sedentary.

As too much sitting around and not enough exercise can cause muscles to weaken, and this includes your intestinal muscles.

So, if you're suffering from a bout of constipation make an effort to get yourself active again.

Go for a walk, a run, a swim, or a cycle.

This will strengthen your muscles and get your internal organs working and moving again including your bowels.

Also yoga is great for keeping your internal organs healthy and functioning well too.

For a full list of exercises you can do safely as someone with chronic back pain click here.

Don't Hold It

Don't fight the urge!

I've never understood why people decide not to act on the urge to go to the toilet.

Maybe it's a case of not wanting to poo in a public bathroom, but by not listening to your body's urges you are increasing your chances of ending up constipated.

This is because the longer you hold it, the harder the stool will become.

And this will only make it harder and more painful to eventually pass.

Also as the urge to go passes, your body won't give you another signal to go again until much later.

By which time you'll have a backlog of waste that needs to come out.

And by holding it regularly your body will start to think it needs to go less frequently, which will increase the risk of your constipation becoming chronic.

So for your own good, if you need to take a shit, take a shit!

Use A Step Stool

The book is optional.

This one may feel a bit weird at first but it can really help your bowels to relax and do their thing.

So try resting your feet on a small stool when you sit on the toilet, as this will raise your knees above your hips.

And this gets your hips and pelvis in the optimum 'squat' position for a bowel movement.

Which sends a strong signal to your body about what your intentions are and improves your chances of a satisfying ending! 

Try A Herbal Laxative

One of the first courses of action for people with constipation may be to go to the drugstore to get some laxatives.

However, these contain chemicals that can cause harmful side-effects such as drowsiness and nausea, and they are not good for you to use in the long-term.

So try a herbal laxative instead.

These are made from plant extracts and help to soften your stools and push them through your colon.

Now there are plenty of options to go for but a good one to try is flaxseed oil.

As taking a spoonful of this oil daily helps to lubricate your intestines, which makes it easier for the stools to pass through the colon.

And it also contains Omega 3 which will help to soothe your digestive system.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can be a great aid to get rid of your constipation.

As it's a bicarbonate, so it helps to expel any excess gas (from both ends!).

This will help to relieve the pressure in your abdomen and help your stools to pass through more easily.

So just add one teaspoon to a 1/4 cup of warm water and down in one.

Then get ready for some interesting noises!

Drink Some Prune Juice

Prunes and prune juice have been used for decades as a constipation reliever.

And they work great as a natural laxative because they are very high in fiber.

They also contain sorbitol, which softens your stools making them easier to pass.

So, when constipated try drinking a glass of prune juice in the morning and another one in the evening.

It's not the most appetising of juices, but it'll get your insides moving again that's for sure!

A Word Of Warning

In most cases the back pain that comes from constipation shouldn't be too much of a cause for concern.

As it will be a numb, dull ache rather than anything more troubling.

However, if your back pain feels more severe than that it may be a sign of a more serious issue and you should get it checked out with your doctor.

Especially if the pain is accompanied by a tingling or numbness in your legs and groin area.

This is also the case if you notice blood in your stools.

After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Rounding Up

how to cure constipation


Constipation is an irritation that everyone experiences from time to time.

However, if you get constipated regularly it can lead you to develop lower back pain.

So you need to do something about it.

And by trying out a few of the methods in this article and making a couple of subtle changes to your lifestyle, you can ensure you remain regular and healthy.

Which is good for your back pain as well as your general health and well-being.

So don't suffer the strain.

Be the king of your throne again instead!

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I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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