Back Pain and Constipation: Is There a Connection?

Constipation is not something anyone enjoys. You know personally that being constipated makes you feel irritable, uncomfortable, and can interfere with your ability to sleep. What you may not realize is that this condition may also be the reason that your back is hurting.

Here are some things you need to know about the connection between being constipated and experiencing lower back pain.

What’s Causing the Pain?

Assuming you don’t have a chronic back problem and no recent back injuries, the fact that you are constipated may actually be a contributing factor for the pain you feel in your lower back. This is because the constipation has created a blockage that places additional pressure on your pelvic nerves.

This connection between those pelvic nerves and the nerve endings around the muscles and discs of your lower back is direct. As those nerves become more irritated, it makes perfect sense that the irritation would spread to other areas of the nervous system. What starts as discomfort in your pelvis will expand until you notice that there’s a dull ache in your back that won’t go away.

Straining Will Make the Back Pain Worse

Obviously, for anyone that’s been constipated as some point (everyone), you know that straining while constipated is a natural reaction. You also know that it does nothing to improve the situation. Instead, it can make things worse. What you may not know is that straining is also hurting your lower back.

The muscles you employ while straining places more pressure on the nerves. Add that to the fact that your colon is at capacity and already exerting stress on your back muscles and you can see why the straining makes things worse. Resist the urge, and at least you won’t be making a bad situation even more unbearable.

Is There Any Way to Relieve the Pain?

how-to-get-rid-constipationThere’s only so much you can do to ease the irritation to the nerves in your back. The application of heat or cold to the back may help (a Far Infrared heating pad is best), but only a little. You can try taking pain medication, but that provides temporary relief at best. For many common prescription pain meds, constipation is a side effect and they can easily make things worse.

There’s really only one way to deal with lower back pain constipation, and that’s to do something about the blockage. For most, dietary changes such as increasing fiber intake, drinking more water, or taking a laxative will get rid of the constipation and get rid of the back pain along the way. See here for more ideas on how to relieve constipation.

When Home Remedies Won’t Work

If you’ve tried various home remedies without much success, you probably need to see a doctor. The reason is that the constipation could be a symptom of any number of health issues, including some sort of infection or obstruction in the colon or some other part of the rectal system. Modern imaging technology will help your doctor determine if there is anything other than fecal matter preventing you from experiencing normal bowel function.

Based on the outcome of the tests, your doctor can determine the best way to approach the issue. Perhaps all you really need is something to correct the immediate problem, plus some lifestyle changes to prevent the constipation from occurring again.

If there is a blockage or some type of inflammation, your doctor will know if surgery is necessary (only in rare situations), or if the situation can be resolved methods like transrectal enemas or digital disimpaction.

Whether it takes a simple home remedy, an over the counter laxative, or a procedure performed by your doctor, your best bet is to take action and get your bowels moving efficiently once again. Keep in mind that as the contractions that occur before a movement commence, you may feel an increase in the pain. As you begin to void your system and ease the pressure, expect the pressure on the nerves to reduce quickly.

As the pressure continues to lessen, the effect will spread to your back. The nerves will stop throbbing and any back pain caused by constipation will start to subside. You may find that, like some people, your back feels better in as little as a half-hour after you finish “voiding” your system.


The following two tabs change content below.


(Editor at Back Pained) – Adam is a former longtime back pain sufferer who is now pain-free. He has created this site to help others get back pain relief at home as an alternative to expensive specialist appointments or physical therapy that may or may not work. A research junkie, he's spent considerable time determining which of the countless back pain products actually work and which ones are a waste of money. He now enjoys spending time on the basketball court re-learning that jump shot from when he last played in high school.

Leave a Comment