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Back pain due to constipation

Can constipation cause lower back pain?
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Doctor Answers (1) on Back pain due to constipation

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Ms. Swati Kapoor Bangalore | Dietitian/Nutritionist
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Constipation is a condition in which you have fewer than three bowel movements a week, or hard, dry and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass. It is a condition that affects your gastrointestinal system. Whereas lower back pain can be a result of a variety of problems with any parts of the complex, that is the interconnected network of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons in the lumbar spine. But research has proven that the two are often linked. So constipation basically distends the intestine with retained stool. This can lead to discomfort, bloating, and a sensation of fullness that can be felt across the entire abdomen and can even extend into the back region causes back discomfort.It can cause pressure on pelvic nerves which can lead to back pain.Constipation occurs from obstructions in our system or from slow transit time through the colon. When back pain is a factor, obstructive constipation is usually to blame. Obstructive constipation is fairly self descriptive; defecation is painful or halted due to a blockage. Although defecation stops, the traffic in the intestines does not. Just like a real life traffic jam, it gets worse before it gets better. When blockage becomes significantly backed up, pressure on the lower back can increase and pain can result. Since the body will continue to produce waste, the pain can increase if the impaction is not eliminated. Sometimes attempting to alleviate the problem can be a catch.By straining and trying to force our body to do something it’s already having a problem with, we can create more pressure and cause additional pain. The main problem lies with a slipped intervertebral disc . The intervertebral discs are made up of cartilage. They form cushions between the vertebrae and act as a shock absorber. Too much pressure on the discs can lead to disc prolapse which is an extremely painful condition.The pressure on the discs depends on our posture. Lying flat on a firm surface exerts minimum pressure while standing position causes considerable pressure on the discs. Sitting and bending cause double the pressure as of standing. In chronic constipation,lots of time is spent in the toilet with a bent seated position which means there is a considerable amount of strain, this scenario creates maximum pressure on the intervertebral discs and the discs protrude from their original position and irritate the nerves which leads to terrible back pain. Taking medications for the pain just makes the condition a lot worse.More than 150 prescriptions and many commonly used over-the-counter medications can cause and worsen constipation. These can include certain antacids, antidepressants, cold medicines and pain relievers,it is a vicious cycle. Codeine in the pain medications makes constipation worse.However this back pain if it is from constipation will probably be just dull and not very severe. If it is severe or worsening or if there is any numbness or tingling or weakness in the legs or groin, there are other serious causes of it, such as an infection or tumor pressing on the spinal cord, that could cause constipation as a side effect. So if you are suffering from constipation and are starting to experience symptoms of back pain then it is advised that you consult a physician.
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