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Back Pain or Constipation or Both

therapyroom1 picture of constipation

There are many people suffering from back pain who come to clinics such as Therapyroom1 for treatment, however no matter what we might try e.g. massage, manipulation, mobilisation stretching etc, it just does not work.

So what is causing this back pain?  I appreciate that many good therapists like me might want to keep trying to make our treatments work but what happens when it actually not a manual therapy situation?

It might seem strange but we at Therapyroom1 looked at this question and whilst I personally am no nutritionist I do remember what my mother and other nurses who looked after children did and that is important for this article. So the one aspect which is what I am going to focus on here is constipation, chronic constipation.

Simply put: Constipation is a common condition in which you are unable to pass stools easily or not at all (Stewart et al 1999). Simple enough… then for this article let’s look at when it becomes a chronic problem:

Chronic constipation (also known as faecal impaction) happens when you are regularly constipated over long periods of time. 

Symptoms of faecal impaction

The symptoms of impaction are similar to the symptoms of constipation. But other more serious symptoms can occur. These include:

  • back pain due to the mass of poo pressing on the nerves in your lower back (sacral nerves)
  • high or low blood pressure
  • a rapid heart rate
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • feeling and being sick
  • severe abdominal pain
  • dehydration

Now the reason why we are talking about this is the fact that we are open minded to consider other causes of back pain. Faecal impaction might not be recognised by the patient until it’s too late but in the meantime slowly building up in the gut; loading up.

So over the next upcoming articles on this subject we can talk more about back pain and what we can personally do to reduce it.


Stewart WF, Liberman JN, Sandler RS, et al. Epidemiology of constipation (EPOC) study in the United States: relation of clinical subtypes to sociodemographic features. Am J Gastroenterol 1999;94:3530-40.

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