The curse of constipation extends to organs apart from the intestines (bowels). It can affect you in acute form or may extend for an extended period of time. In the majority of texts, the term "constipation" refers to chronic constipation.
Of all the constipation consequences, the link between constipation and back pain is the most neglected one. Though it is an unusual relationship, persistent constipation can eventually lead to low back pain development and aggression.
Constipation is a common complaint. The prevalence of constipation is found to be between 2-28% in Western countries, while the prevalence for China is found to be 14%. The average worldwide prevalence of the malady is found to be 16%.
Chronic constipation is the state of abrupt bowel movements that lead to difficulty in passing stools. Contrary to the normal bowel movements of once or twice a day, constipated individuals might experience merely two to three bowel movements per week.
Associated Symptoms Of Constipation
A difficulty to pass stools is accompanied by different symptoms, including:
- Painful defecation (passing of stools)
- Dry stools
- Hard and lumpy stools
- Feeling of fullness
- Incomplete defecation
The inability to remove the fecal content can lead to its retention in the intestines induces discomfort and pain in the abdomen region. This may also involve the back region and lead to dull, aching discomfort.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Constipation
There are no hard and fast rules or definitive causative factors when it comes to constipation. The possible causes and risk factors for constipation are given below:
According to a cross-sectional study, a lack of fiber and water intake can lead to constipation. Dehydration can lead to dried up and hard stools that are difficult to pass.
2. Lack Of Fibers In The Diet
A diet lacking fibers is most likely to give you a hard time pooping. It is recognized as a causing factor of constipation.
3. Lack Of Exercise
A routine lacking physical activity can be a triggering factor for both constipation and lower back pain. As per a survey, lack of physical activity is considered a risk factor for constipation.
Certain medicines can cause constipation:
- Opioids cause opioid-induced constipation
- Antispasmodic drugs (dicyclomine)
- Antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline)
According to a study, constipation can be the outcome of a number of issues, including stress and intestinal obstruction. Another study carried out on university students found a link between mental health and constipation.
6. Intestinal Obstruction
Obstruction of the bowels that may be due to entanglement, polyp, or a tumor can lead to constipation development. The issue can be serious and, at times, requires immediate treatment.
7. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Patients, suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, experience abrupt bowel movements, which can cause constipation. A study promotes the use of Tegaserod to treat constipation caused by IBS.
Complications Of Constipation
Chronic constipation can lead to harm throughout your body. You may experience the following issues if constipation stays for long:
- Hemorrhoids in the anus
- Low back pain
- Anal fissures
- Impaction or clogging of feces
- Protrusion of intestine from the anus (rectal prolapse)
How Can Constipation Lead To Back Pain And Vice Versa?
The relationship between back pain and constipation is a two-way road. Though the link is not that pronounced and doesn't occur very frequently yet, it sufficiently adds to the patients' misery. A study in 2018 found a relationship between functional constipation and low back pain.
Opioid-induced constipation is found to have a direct link with chronic low back pain, a study suggests.
Back Pain Caused By Constipation
1. Fecal Impaction
One of the features of constipation is fecal impaction. This is a condition in which a hardened stool mass that is usually large in size gets clogged inside the intestine (colon or in the rectum). This is considered a serious condition that may lead to death if left untreated.
The fecal impaction leads to the development of abdominal and lower back pain. According to research, a strong association was found between pain severity and constipation. The participants of the study were all suffering from lower back and lower limb pain. The severity of constipation was judged on the basis of the Cleveland clinic constipation score (CCS).
2. Anal Fissures
Long-standing constipation can end up in the development of anal fissures. These anal fissures are characterized by bleeding and itching in the anus. An evident symptom of anal fissures is severe pain that may radiate to the lower back and buttocks region.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Constipation due to Irritable bowel syndrome can also lead to low back pain. It is estimated that 28-81 percent of people suffering from the disorder experience backache. According to some experts, it is believed that it refers to pain from the bowels.
Constipation As A Result Of Back Pain
Long-standing back pain makes it difficult to perform everyday chores. For some, the discomfort is more pronounced when sitting down. This can result in passing stool a difficult task. Therefore, people start avoiding going to the toilet. Incomplete voiding is the unwanted result of this activity that eventually leads to fecal impaction. The clogged fecal matter ends up in the development of constipation.
Natural Ways Of Treating Constipation And Associated Back Pain
As both the diseases (constipation and back pain) can be severely debilitating, it is necessary that you treat them as early as possible. There are a number of natural ways to cure constipation and associated back pain too.
The most effective method is to add certain herbs that have proven effective.
Take Help From Herbs
Constipation is often associated with hard stools, nausea, and bloating. The bloating puts pressure on the muscles of the abdomen and the back that can lead to back pain. Thankfully there are a number of herbs given to us by nature that can work wonderfully well.
Some of these herbs are given below:
Senna Alexandrina shrub can be used in different ways to cure constipation. The fruit itself can be consumed, or you can take advantage of the leaf of Senna. This herb is pretty effective in relieving you of symptoms of constipation.
According to a study carried out on constipated children, Senna is a safe and effective drug to use.
When compared to polyethylene glycol by a study, senna came out to be the better option for bowel management in patients with constipation. Another review promoted the use of senna as a laxative as it showed results superior to lactulose.
Peppermint is another herb that has positive impacts on your digestive health. Peppermint tea is considered an effective way to eliminate bloating and aiding you in taking a dump. The herb works by relaxing the upset stomach, thereby allowing easy passage of stool to the intestines.
Gastric issues, including constipation, characterize irritable bowel syndrome. The use of peppermint can be beneficial, a study suggests. Another review found out that peppermint improves the abdominal symptoms of patients with Irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint also plays an important role in reducing abdominal pain arising from constipation.
Chamomile is used as an aromatic oil to have a soothing effect on the body. The herb is used in the form of tea too. Chamomile tea can be effective in soothing the stomach muscles and the intestines, making it easier to pass stools.
According to research, chamomile has a positive effect on gastrointestinal motility. This improvement in motility helps relieve you of constipation and ultimately of associated back pain.
Chamomile tea effectively relieves adults of bloating and constipation, topical massage of infants with chamomile oil with chamomile can alleviate colic symptoms, a 2017 study suggests.
Ginger has widely been used in Indian households for relieving gastric issues. It is also a part of traditional Chinese medicine. It is famous for its exceptional antioxidant and antibacterial properties. However, the digestive benefits it imparts are also uncanny.
A 2020 review claims that ginger has a positive effect in improving bowel movements. A detailed study on the health benefits of ginger was carried out in 2019. This study found out that ginger can justly be used to treat constipation, nausea, and bloating.
Another meta-analysis carried out on traditional Chinese medicine herbs revealed that ginger is potent in treating indigestion and constipation. Ginger root also calms down the irritated stomach.
5. Acai Berry
Acai berry is proven to be effective in relieving patients of constipation and bloating. When used in combination with other herbs such as ginger and psyllium, the herb can do wonders in relieving gastric symptoms.
According to a study on the medical benefits of foods, it was found that berries are good for treating constipation (including acai berry). Acai also helps in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. This also helps with improvement in gut health.
There are innumerous studies that encourage the use of psyllium for curing constipation and other gastric-related problems. A randomized controlled trial noted the herb psyllium's efficacy as a supplement in treating elderly patients suffering from constipation.
Psyllium works by trapping water inside the intestine. This softens the hardened stool and makes dumping easier. As per a 2019 study, psyllium supplementation effectively increases the water amount of fecal content and has a positive impact on the gut's microflora. Therefore, it is regarded as an effective non-medical alternative for treating constipation.
Researchers have noted that psyllium relieves chronic constipation and leads to improved glycemic control and reduced cholesterol levels.
7. Devil's Claw
Devil's claw is famous for its beneficial role in curing gastric issues such as constipation and bloating. According to a survey, supplementation with this herb resulted in decreased flatulence and subtle improvements in constipation symptoms.
A review analyzed the role of different herbs on the nervous system. It found out that devil's claw or Harpagophytum procumbens is an efficacious herb for reducing lower back pain (LBP). In another review of 2020, it was found out that devil's claw has positive neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. The herb is also good for those suffering from a loss of appetite.
8. Cayenne Pepper
Peppers are considered exceptional antioxidants and analgesics. Low back pain is considered a severe pain that is difficult to treat. Some herbal medicines have shown to be effective against this rigid entity. One such herb is commonly used in Asian houses, i.e., cayenne pepper.
Comfrey is also a member of the herbs used for alleviating back pain. It is believed that comfrey root extracts are potent in reducing lower back pain and in improving mobility. This is confirmed by research. The herb is considered an effective method of analgesia in sciatic nerve pain too.
Cascara sagrada or buckthorn is a popular herb that is used as a laxative. This very herb promotes bowel movements. It is an easy-to-use herb that should be used for the short-term only because it may cause side effects (on the liver) with long-term usage. Buckthorn performs well as a laxative, a study suggests.
Turmeric is a condiment that is known widely for its health benefits. The yellow herb is quick to reduce inflammation and pain from the body. Ginger and turmeric make up the best combination for treating pain and inflammation, a study suggests.
Where To Find The Best Supplements?
To get rid of that chronic constipation, check out our Detox complex, which is a combination of the best constipation-relieving herbs. You can get a completely organic complex of psyllium, ginger root, and acai berry by just clicking here.
To relieve your back pain, you can check out the immensely effective Turmeric supplement by clicking here.
Constipation and back pain are interrelated. Chronic constipation may lead to the development of low back pain, and it can also go the other way round. You can use some proven herbal supplements to get relief from bloating, constipation, and back pain, including psyllium, turmeric, acai berry, and chamomile, etc.