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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow Can Constipation Cause Back Pain? Get the Answers Here

Can Constipation Cause Back Pain? Get the Answers Here

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 21, 2023
6 min read 1533 Views 0 Comments
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Have you ever wondered if constipation can cause back pain? If you’ve had constipation before, you know the pain that it might cause. It’s not surprising, then, that constipation can indeed lead to back pain.

can constipation cause back pain

The human digestive system is a complex system that works together to produce and process nutrients. There are also many other factors that can impact this system. So when something goes awry, the digestive system suffers.

One of these factors is constipation. Constipation is a common problem. But by itself, it does not cause any serious symptoms unless it is left untreated. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the connection between constipation and lower back pain and the causes and solutions to the problem.

Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?

Yes, constipation can cause back pain if it causes your colon to become full. When the colon becomes full, pressure is put on the nerves that go directly to your back. This is especially the case if you have fibromyalgia.

The nerves in your spinal cord are very close to your colon, so when it gets full, it can cause back spasms and pain. If you’re not having regular bowel movements, your spinal nerves will be some of the first ones to feel it.

People who suffer from chronic constipation and chronic lower back pain experience the worst of it, due to the connection between the two. As such, severe back pain will be present the longer they experience constipation.

How Are Back Pain and Constipation Related?

One of the most common reasons for lower back pain is constipation. Moreover, people with fewer bowel movements also have more episodes of back pain than those with healthy bowel movements. 

Upper back pain is less common, but people who experience extreme pressure on the spinal cord may notice aching pain further up the back. Plus, underlying causes like spinal stenosis, muscle strain, or herniated disc can contribute to upper back pain.

When you have constipation, the colon is not able to empty itself fully. And when your colon is filled with stool, it puts pressure on certain spinal nerves. These nerves directly lead to lumbar pain. That means you will feel pain and spasms in the lower back.

What Other Side Effects Can Cause Back Pain?

Many people who find it difficult to have a normal bowel movement also have a medical history of conditions like:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal cord injury

These are just a few medical conditions that can result in fewer bowel movements. And on top of that connection, there are a few other side effects that can lead to back pain, such as dehydration.

There are also health conditions like fecal impaction and spinal injuries that can lead to irregular bowel movements. Let’s explore these in greater detail, along with some other causes of general constipation.


One common problem that can lead to back pain is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your body loses fluids faster than they can be replaced. This results in a feeling of fatigue and weakness. 

The back muscles will also be affected. People who are chronically dehydrated will often have lower back pain. You, therefore, need to replenish the fluids your body is lacking. This can help relieve some of the pain associated with dehydration.

Fecal impaction

Fecal impaction is a medical condition that occurs when too much stool is accumulated in the rectum, which causes blockage. There are a couple of ways that fecal impaction can lead to back pain. The first is that the stool is painful to pass. 

When this happens, it is necessary to go to the doctor. The other way is when the rectum has been blocked for a long period of time. In this situation, the stool will build up, and it will be very painful to pass. 

Fecal impaction occurs when stool accumulates in the intestines and can’t push food through the digestive tract. As such, you need to combat your bowel obstruction so that you’ll experience normal bowel movements once again.

One of the fastest ways to prevent fecal impaction from happening is to use supplements aimed at treating constipation and other bowel dysfunctions.

Spinal injuries

Spinal injuries are a common cause of back pain. Most spinal injuries occur due to a fall or auto accident. As an underlying cause, these injuries can lead to constipation. When a person loses movement in the lower back, it can cause pain. 

There are several solutions to this problem. You can:

  • Watch your diet and hydrate to avoid dehydration
  • Move around more to keep the blood flowing
  • Seek medical treatment
  • Take a muscle relaxant

There are many common treatments for infrequent bowel movements and general constipation. Medications exist that can loosen dry stool and get your bowel movements regular again.

If you have constipation related to a spinal cord injury, you may need physical therapy to help alleviate your symptoms.

Lack of movement

For some people, constipation is a symptom of a lack of movement and physical activity. When you don’t get enough exercise, it can lead to hard or lumpy stools that prohibit a comfortable bowel movement. 

What’s more, a lack of movement can also cause pain and discomfort throughout your body. If left unaddressed, it can eventually lead to chronic pain. Due to these additional symptoms, you’re likely to experience abdominal cramping and lower back pain.

The best way to combat this and stop it in its tracks is to take part in physical activity on a daily basis. Getting plenty of exercise can promptly alleviate both constipation and back pain.

How to Treat Back Pain Caused by Constipation?

Fortunately, there are many ways to treat your lower back pain due to constipation. Even better, these remedies are natural things you can start doing right away.

Eat high-fiber foods

Fiber can be found in many different fruits and vegetables. They are known to have many health benefits and can be very helpful in preventing and treating constipation. Getting more fiber is important for a number of reasons.

It is important because it helps clean out your colon and prevent constipation. Plus, it’s part of a healthy diet and can help you burn fat.

Avoid sugars

Sugars found in many different types of foods can cause constipation. When you are trying to prevent constipation, you should stay away from these types of foods as much as possible.  Fruits are rich in natural sugars and cannot be used to prevent constipation. 

Instead, you should focus on fibrous vegetables and whole grains. In doing so, there’s a good chance you will also get the additional fiber your body needs if you’re suffering from chronic constipation.

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly is one of the most important things you can do to prevent constipation. It is important because it helps keep your colon clean. Exercising also helps you stay regular and prevent constipation.  

Regular exercise can be very helpful in preventing constipation. This is because it keeps your colon clean. Exercising also helps you stay active, which is important because it keeps your brain and nerves healthy.

Drink enough water

Drinking enough water is very important in preventing constipation and relieving abdominal pain. Simply put, water helps cleanse your colon, prevent constipation, and make you feel better.

It is important because it helps your body get rid of toxins and stay healthy – another reason why you should drink plenty of water. 

A Word From Our Expert

Even general constipation can result in back pain. Fortunately, home remedies will usually resolve mild cases. Try incorporating foods high in fiber into your daily diet. Foods like prunes are known to help soften stool and get your bowels moving regularly.

If constipation is an ongoing issue for you, it’s important to add other high-fiber foods to your diet. Many fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans work well to combat constipation.

But if you’re suffering from chronic constipation, something more serious could be the culprit. For instance, fecal impaction is a serious complication that causes a blockage in the colon. It can have harmful side effects, such as pressing on internal organs and causing pain throughout the body.

In such cases, medical attention should be sought immediately to have the blockage removed. If you’re experiencing regular constipation, don’t delay in seeking treatment, whether it’s supplements, diet, and exercise, or medical care.


So, can constipation cause back pain? Absolutely. As you’ve learned, there are many common symptoms that can also contribute to your lower back pain. As such, it’s important to identify the primary cause of your constipation first.

Once you’ve successfully treated it, you’re likely to notice your other symptoms alleviate as well. It’s sometimes normal to experience minor constipation. But if it’s to the point that you’re feeling a sharp pain in your back, it’s time to take action.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 21, 2023
6 min read 1533 Views 0 Comments

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