Can Constipation Cause Back Pain? How to Treat It Naturally

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Constipation and Back PainAccording to doctors, constipation can cause lower back pain. If you have lower back pain, you might assume you’ve slipped a disc, and there isn’t much you can do about it. But the reality is that you may have a few courses of action to turn to if the pain is a result of constipation.

Can Constipation Cause Back Pain?

It may seem unlikely that constipation and lower back pain are connected, but back pain causes come in many forms, and surprisingly, constipation is one of them. Constipation is a fairly common condition in which you are unable to pass stools easily—or at all, in some cases. A lack of fiber in the diet and pregnancy are two causes of constipation. It is normal to experience constipation once in a while, and if it passes after a few days, there isn’t much to be concerned about. But if it’s a regular occurrence and you experience lower back pain as a result, you need to examine the problem more closely.

When you can’t remove fecal matter from the body, it’s normal to strain, sometimes excessively so, to try to eliminate the waste. It’s this straining that puts pressure on the back and on the discs of your spine that might already be loose; this is often called a slipped disc or herniated disc. Fecal impaction is an even worse condition than simple constipation, and it can also trigger lower back pain. A fecal impaction is when a fecal mass becomes dry and hard, is lodged in the rectum, and can’t come out with ease.
The longer a fecal impaction is allowed to carry on without some kind of intervention, the worse the pain will become, because the pressure in pressure on the lower back and abdomen isn’t being alleviated, and will continue to build over time.

Natural Treatments for Back Pain Caused by Constipation

Apart from lower back pain, constipation causes a number of other uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms. Apart from not being able to have a bowel movement, or movements that pass only small, pebble-like pieces, constipation can cause vomiting, nausea, and a swollen abdomen. When your constipation is causing lower back pain, it’s a good indication that fecal matter has impacted within the abdominal tract and needs to be removed as soon as possible.

Constipation caused by lower back pain can be alleviated the following ways:

  • Add more roughage to your diet: It’s becoming a problem among many Americans—they simply don’t eat enough fiber. Fiber-rich foods include whole grains, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and fruits like apples and pears. Try sprinkling some bran on your cereal or moving away from refined white bread to something with whole grains. Even drinking a psyllium fiber drink like Metamucil can assist in alleviating your constipation, which will in turn alleviate much of your back pain. A simple switch like this can make a difference along with the rest of the suggestions below.
  • Drink a lot of water: Water helps clean out the abdominal tract and gets fecal matter moving through the proper channels more efficiently. The rule of thumb is eight glasses of water over eight hours.
  • Exercise: Exercises like yoga, swimming, and walking can help your body prepare to eliminate fecal matter. It doesn’t need to be anything strenuous, just enough to get your body off the couch and moving in some capacity.
  • Take a probiotic: Probiotics put good bacteria into your gut, which can help alleviate constipation, and they come in liquid and capsules. Visit your local natural health food store.
  • Apply a hot or cold compress: Depending on your preference; both a hot and cold compress work equally well. Hot/cold therapy can help to reduce inflammation in the lower back. Apply for 20 minutes every hour for a few hours a day.
  • See a naturopathic doctor: See a doctor who can discuss a detoxification program that will help eliminate toxins and junk from your colon that has been building up over the years.
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments: Some people find immense relief from back pain from constipation using these alternative therapies.
  • Use the washroom when you feel the urge. It sounds simple, but many people ignore the urge to use the washroom and this actually isn’t good for the body and can contribute to further backing up of the system. When nature calls, you should answer.

As we’ve seen, constipation can cause back pain, and it can be a serious matter which needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. In some cases it can even lead to death because of the straining some people might do to remove fecal matter, which can lead to a heart attack. If you aren’t getting the results you want, then you should visit your doctor to determine the next course of action.

Lower back pain and constipation do have a surprising connection and once the constipation is taken care of, the lower back pain should resolve.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“Lower back pain? Constipation might be the cause,” Happy Bowel web site;, last accessed February 16, 2016.
“The truth about constipation and back pain,” Back Pain Health Centre web site;, last accessed February 16, 2016.
“Can constipation cause back pain?”;, last accessed February 16, 2016.
“How back pain constipation occurs,” web site;, last accessed February 16, 2016.
“Are constipation and back pain related?” Global Healing Center web site;, last accessed February 16, 2016.
“Lower back pain treatment,”;, last accessed February 16, 2016.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »