An introduction to IBS and back pain
Back pain is not a symptom that is usually linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it can occur when the small and large intestines take up a large area: over three quarters of the abdomen.
Abdominal pain in IBS may be felt both at the front of your body or your back. Pain associated with the abdominal organs can often be experienced away from the area affected. This is known as referred pain and is one explanation why the pain of IBS can be felt in your back.
Why does IBS cause back pain?
The connection between back pain and IBS is not fully understood but the discomfort is most likely the result of spasms in different parts of your large intestine, being referred through to your back.
Physical distension of the gut wall, more likely in the case of constipation, can also be a cause of pain, or it is possible that pain receptors in the gut may be overly sensitive and are responding unnecessarily to different food types or gut movements.
IBS isn’t classed as an inflammatory condition. In the event that pain is a result of inflammation being present, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) rather than IBS may be responsible, in which case a trip to your doctor would be necessary. Please refer to our IBS or IBD page to find out more if you are in any doubt.
Please be aware that lower back pain may also indicate an issue with your kidneys so please be sure to seek medical advice if you experience this.
What can I try at home for back pain?
There are some simple steps you can take at home which may help to relieve back pain caused my IBS:
- Exercise: When exercising, blood is diverted to your skeletal muscles. This takes the pressure and attention off your gut, allowing it to restore calm and stability
- Keep a diary: Take a note of any flare-ups that you experience, and you think what might be causing them. If a specific food or environmental trigger appears to be causing a reaction, make a note and try a period of cutting it out to see if this makes a difference
- Relaxation techniques: Mental techniques can redirect your attention, and physical techniques may allow blood to travel to other areas of your body, relieving pressure from your aching back.
How can natural remedies help me?
If we are sure the back pain is directly related to IBS, we should focus on the intestines which are under some sort of stress.
- Silicol gel: Silicol gel acts as a protective barrier for the digestive tract, soothing and calming the tissues of the intestine.
- Molkosan: L+ lactic acid in fermented whey works synergistically to create an environment to support the good bacteria in our gut. If any bacteria overrun this organ, the gut wall becomes irritated and the symptoms of IBS will worsen.
How can my doctor help?
If your back pain is the result of IBS, your doctor may have a few options that would offer temporary relief of the symptoms. These include anti-spasmodics and anti-diarrhoeal tablets.
It may be more beneficial to try and determine the cause of the IBS and treat this accordingly in order to find a more long-term solution. Please refer to our causes and treatments pages.