Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that could be very bothersome. It has several specific symptoms, the main ones are abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, alternating constipation & diarrhea, and bloating (gas). It may also cause vague symptoms such as headache, lack of appetite, fatigue, bad breath, nausea, and feeling full quickly after eating – according to the National Health Service. How about lower back pain?
People with IBS can have lower back pain in several ways. While the syndrome may have a role to cause the pain, it could also be caused by something else.
There is no clearly answer why this occurs, it’s not fully understood yet. But there are a few theories.
Some layers of muscles that line on the wall of the intestine are very crucial for our digestive system. They relax & contract in a coordinated rhythm as they distribute the food that we eat from stomach to the rectum.
In people with IBS, the contractions of these muscles are likely to be stronger. This makes food move more quickly than normal. As a result, you’re likely ti have bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Interestingly, sometimes the opposite way occurs. Without known reasons, foods move more slowly than usual through the intestinal tract, resulting dry and hard stools which turn into constipation.
Other contributing factors that may lead to IBS symptoms [reference]:
- Abnormalities in the colon or nervous system.
- The abnormal levels of serotonin (a kind of chemical messenger that naturally links to the brain function)!
- Poor balance of good bacteria in the gut. In fact, lack of good bacteria in the intestine is pretty common in people with digestive problems.
Although the exact cause of this syndrome is still not known, experts have confirmed that it is more likely to occur in one /some of the following conditions:
- Young age! Most cases of IBS are diagnosed before the age of 35. If you are over 35 and not diagnosed with this spastic colon problem, you’re less likely to have it.
- Gender – women are more likely to have this chronic condition than men.
- If you have a family member (especially the first-degree relatives – such as father, brother, sister, or mother) who has IBS, your risk is relatively higher than others who don’t have any family history of this syndrome. It seems the syndrome runs in families.
First off, you need to clearly understand that back pain is not a disease. It is a symptom that can be caused by many factors.
Although most of back pain is musculo-skeletal origin, sometimes it can also be caused a pain arising somewhere else in the body — this is called as referred pain.
In fact, back pain is quite common in people with IBS. So does the condition have a role to cause lower back pain?
Unfortunately the link of both is still not completely understood, and there is less information about this issue. But in general, some experts believe that there is a chance for IBS to cause lower back pain – according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you have IBS and also experience lower back pain, tell your doctor! Several tests are probably required to find out the underlying cause.
IBS is not specifically associated with back pain. So it’s possible that the pain has to do with something else, bowel dysfunction for example.
While there is less information about the connection between IBS and back pain, doctors have confirmed that there are some common conditions that commonly factor into the pain. These include: