OK Constipation and back pain, not a sexy topic, not one you want to discuss with your family and friends but one that does come up.
If it affects you, one you will know can be miserable, painful and make you feel very unwell- the last thing you need on top of back pain and sciatica...Also sometimes being constipated may create pain in the lower back so it is worth taking it seriously.
You will know you are constipated if you do not go as often as you normally do, if you have to strain more than usual and if you have a feeling of not completely emptying your bowels. When you do go the stools may be hard and lumpy smaller or larger than normal for you. On top of that you may also experience stomach pain and bloat, not want to eat and feel sick.
There can be many causes of constipation.
If constipation goes on for any length of time and/or you are in pain you should see your doctor. Be prepared to talk with them about your bowel movements and any changes in your health, lifestyle and diet. Clearly you should say you have back pain if they are not aware of that.
One of the reasons you are constipated could be any medication you are taking for your back pain or other health issues/ If you suspect this do not stop taking the medication but get to see your doctor as soon as possible and describe what has happened.
Other causes may be not eating the proper amount of fibre-fruit, veg, cereal and not drinking enough water . It may be that since you developed back pain you cannot do so much exercise or find moving around difficult or painful and lack of exercise may also be a contributing factor. In addition if you find back pain is making you depressed and anxious this may be a factor towards developing constipation as well. If you have back pain and are constipated you may well find that it aggravates your pain...the act of straining puts pressure on your back and equals pain.
Of course the best thing is not to become constipated in the first place..
If it is already an issue for you you could first try natural methods like prune juice, additional fibre in your diet, getting a little exercise if you can. You might also try putting your feet up on a little stool ( no pun intended!) while you sit on the toilet , this can make it easier to "go". Do not sit for ages trying to go, it will only hurt you more.
What you can do naturally and what you should do all the time to prevent constipation and have regular bowel movements is to:
Drink enough water ( about 8-10 glasses a day)
Get some exercise-Whatever you can do with your back pain
Eat a diet which includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, ideally five or more portions a day.
Increase your daily intake of fibre., especially fruit, vegetables and cereal and if you also eat things such as wheat bran that will make stools easier to pass.
If constipation does not ease with these methods or you are frequently constipated or have alternate constipation and diarreah, or are in pain you should consult your doctor. They can give further advice and possibly medication and have the cause of the constipation looked into further.
More Information on Constipation from this page at NHS DIRECT