Is Constipation Causing Back Pain? Exploring the Connection


Posted By Author on November 20, 2023

Some symptoms don’t point directly to the conditions that cause them. Spotting the connection requires a gastroenterologist with an experienced eye – like the ones you’ll find here at Charleston GI! Read on to learn more about the link between constipation and back pain, then schedule your appointment – no referral needed!

constipation symptoms and signs, Constipation and Back Pain 

Understanding Constipation 

The symptoms of constipation include the following, often lasting weeks:

  • Infrequent bowel movements (fewer than three a week) 
  • Hard, dry stool 
  • Strain during bowel movements 
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Sensation that you can’t empty bowels
  • Needing help to empty the rectum

Anatomy 101: Food’s Path Through Your Digestive Tract 

As food travels through the colon during its digestive journey, the colon absorbs water and forms the stool along the way. If too much moisture is absorbed, the stool becomes dry and hard, forcing your colon to work harder to pass it through. If this is the case, constipation may occur.

When the colon’s muscle movements slow and fecal matter accumulates, you may experience swelling. Increased pressure may radiate pain outward, often impacting surrounding areas like the back.

The Link Between Constipation and Back Pain 

While constipation and back pain are not always related, there’s a clear link between the two when experienced simultaneously. Constipation occurs among patients whose lifestyles are defined by the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Low-fiber diet 
  • Lack of physical activity 
  • Certain medications 
  • Lifestyle changes (travel, pregnancy, old age) 
  • Stress and/ or anxiety 

While simple changes to your routine, like adopting a more nutritious diet or increasing your water intake, can allow your body to regulate bowel habits, continued symptoms may indicate a more serious problem.

Impacted Stool and Other Conditions 

Fecal impaction occurs when a piece of dried stool gets stuck in the colon or rectum. Patients may experience abdominal cramping, bloating, rectal bleeding, and increased lower back pressure as a result.

Because these more serious conditions also cause constipation and back pain to occur together, it is important to schedule a visit at a GI doctor near you to rule them out:

What if Back Pain Leads to Constipation

If you find that the dull ache from your lower back is paired with decreased bowel movements, it may indicate that a tumor or growth is pressing on the spinal cord’s nerves. 

If lifestyle changes don’t offer any relief, be sure to see your Charleston GI doctor as soon as possible. Your gastroenterologist can help diagnose the root cause of your symptoms before searching for a solution.

Experiencing Constipation and Back Pain? Contact Charleston GI Today! 

If you’re suffering from digestive discomfort, Charleston GI doctors are trusted board-certified gastroenterologists who are here to help.

We’re equipped to handle a wide range of GI conditions, offering much-needed relief to the patients we so proudly serve. We can also provide suggestions and lifestyle changes to reduce risk factors and help prevent constipation! And because prevention saves lives, we recommend colonoscopies for patients aged 45 and above. Schedule yours today!

With four convenient Charleston area locations in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Carnes Crossroads, we’ve brought quality care close to home!

Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you medical relief.Find the nearest office, then contact us today to schedule your appointment!


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