Healthy Living

Is IBS Linked to Back Pain?

Treatment for IBS Back Pain

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder, which is usually characterized by common symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. People suffering from the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) most often report unique symptoms that don’t seem to be related to IBS. Lower back pain is one of the most commonly mentioned. This symptom is called as referred or unrelated pain. Referred pain is particularly felt in a different place other than the specific point of origin. For IBS, pain is due to intensive constipation and bloating that occurs in the gut.

Lower Back Pain Overview

Lower back pain can really be detrimental. It is one of the most common reasons why people seek medical attention or even miss work. Moreover, it has proven to be the major cause of most disabilities. Most people experience lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. These backaches can be excruciating, unbearable, and even debilitating to the extent that the person stays bedridden for the length of the symptom.

Fortunately, there are multiple measures that can be undertaken to relieve back pain incidences. If prevention does not work, simple treatments and useful body mechanics can often heal your condition. Surgeries are rare in this case. The relation between back pain and irritable bowel syndrome is not quite understood. However, some cases have been attributed to spasms in different parts of your large intestine and being referred through to your back.

Certain conditions that are associated with irritable bowel syndrome may influence the development of backaches and they include:

  • Previous Back Injury - People who have suffered a traumatic injury to their back are at a higher risk of suffering from back pain along with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Menstrual Cycle - For women suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps can be worse and more often than not accompanied by a backache.
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain - Although primarily due to gynecological reasons, irritable bowel syndrome and its symptoms have been known to contribute to this condition. Backaches are often due to pelvic pain.
  • Fibromyalgia - Irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia often coexist in some people, thereby resulting in an increased severity of the symptoms. Back pain complaints are common in such patients.
  • Depression - Common among IBS sufferers, depression has been known to, in rare cases, cause backaches as well.

In case you have these conditions and have noticed additional symptoms manifesting, it is imperative that you get in touch with your doctor immediately to avoid further aggravation of the symptoms. Avoid trying home remedies unless you have discussed it with the doctor. Irritable bowel syndrome is bad enough, but when coupled with a backache, it can be dreadful for the sufferer.

Treatment for IBS Back Pain 

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome has not yet been determined, but a few factors have been identified to trigger or aggravate the symptoms. Factors include stress, eating certain types of food (e.g., dairy products), hormonal changes, certain medications, and digestive tract related infections.

No definitive treatments for IBS-related pain exist. Treatments vary for different people and it is imperative that you closely work with your gastroenterologist to establish effective measures that can be undertaken to mitigate your pain. It will possibly take a combination of medical treatments and complementary therapies to address the pain. Certain probiotics that are available in tablets, yogurt, and powders are proven to relieve cramping, pain, and bloating. Be sure to consult your doctor before incorporating additional supplements into your daily diet. They could end up worsening your condition if mixed with other medications.

Some of the complementary treatments for irritable bowel syndrome back pain include:

  • Relaxation Techniques - Abdominal breathing, visualization exercises, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxations can greatly help in reducing stress, easing fatigue, and improving your mood.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - Medical professionals suggest that CBT can improve negative moods or habits. It can also suppress stress and other physical symptoms.
  • Regular Exercise - Yoga exercises play a crucial role in lowering one's back pain.
  • Meditation and Hypnotherapy - Consider these approaches and watch your back pain disappear.

The best thing to do when you have a backache is to keep mobile, even if you don’t feel like it. A light walk or swim is often recommended to ease the pain. Hot and cold compresses have also been known to reduce the pain, especially when applied to the affected area. Other than these measures, dietary changes have been recognized to have a huge impact on back pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Avoid eating and drinking unhealthy foods and drinks such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks, highly processed food, and junk food. It is important to include probiotics in your diet as it helps reduce gas and constipation, which are known to directly impact lower back pain. 

Back Pain and Sleep

IBS-related back pain can really be problematic when trying to catch some sleep. However, this shouldn’t trouble you. You can still have cool nights by devising a comprehensive routine.

Carefully observe the following tips to get you going:

  • Get involved in some little exercises every day.
  • Avoid taking heavy meals or caffeinated drinks 4 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Don’t use your bed for non-essential purposes such as watching television, working, or eating. It should just be for sleep or sex.
  • Relax for some considerable amount of time before going to bed. Ensure that you don’t sleep after being active.
  • Build a consistent sleeping and waking up time. This will help you counter the problems associated with back pain.

If your lower back pain distracts you from catching a good sleep at night, be quick to consult a physician about medical treatments and other supplements that may help.

If you’re experiencing severe back pains along with your IBS symptoms, don’t presume that they’re related. Seek assistance from a healthcare provider for a confident diagnosis. You’ll definitely want to find exact treatments for a known cause. Don’t make incomprehensive conclusions on your own.  

It is important to remember that IBS symptoms can be easily managed with the right approach, and for this, getting a timely advice from the doctor is crucial.