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Can IBS Cause Your Back Pain?

Published date: February 25, 2023 | Modified date:
by Dr Stephen Wangen

Here’s what we’re going to cover

  1. Does IBS Cause Back Pain?
  2. Why Does IBS Cause Back Pain?
  3. Other Areas of Pain With IBS
  4. How To Get Rid of IBS Back Pain


Do you have digestive problems and back pain?  Have you ever thought that IBS could be the cause of your back pain?  If not, you should consider it. IBS and back pain are often more closely related than you might think.

Does IBS Cause Back Pain?

Hi, I’m Dr. Stephen Wangen, the founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Center. Over the years we’ve had many patients who have told us that they not only have IBS, but that they also have back pain.

Interestingly, IBS can be the cause of your back pain. How do you know when this is the case? Because when your IBS is gone, then your back pain will be gone. We focus on helping people cure IBS. And that’s how we’ve witnessed this connection.

Obviously, there are other causes for back pain. But when IBS is causing your back pain, the improvement in both at the same time is almost miraculous. At least that’s what we’re told by our patients.

Why Does IBS Cause Back Pain?

IBS Cause Back PainHow can IBS be the cause of your back pain?  Well, it’s not so surprising once you think about our anatomy. Your abdomen, where your intestines are and where IBS is occurring, is literally directly in contact with your lower back.

Pain in your intestinal tract, or even irritation in your digestive tract, like that often seen in irritable bowel syndrome, can be referred into your back. When this happens you can feel pain in your back. And it can be anywhere in your back, not just your lower back, because the pain can be referred pain.

There are at least two reasons why you may not have connected your digestive problems and your back pain until now. First, they just seem like two different things that aren’t related, and no one ever told you before now that they could be.  Second, you don’t have to have abdominal pain with your IBS in order to have back pain. But in many cases, patients who have both IBS and back pain find that the two are related.

Back pain can be associated with several different types of IBS. If you have constipation (IBS-C) or bloating, either of these symptoms is putting pressure directly on the lower back.  But IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) can also be associated with back pain, because it often involves spasming that is impacting the back.

Another way in which IBS can cause back pain is through inflammation. Many patients with IBS are experiencing inflammation. That inflammation may not only affect the digestive tract, but it can also affect other parts of the body.

We have seen this type of inflammation cause back pain, even in the upper back, not just in the lower back which is directly in contact with your digestive system. Inflammation of this type may also cause body aches and other inflammatory problems.

Other Areas of Pain With IBS

It is also worth noting that IBS patients can experience hip or pelvic pain, or even leg pain. The hip and the pelvis are other areas that are directly contacting the intestinal tract. And the nerves running down to the legs leave the spinal cord in the lower back.

Direct pressure or irritation from IBS can impact all of these areas. And inflammation generated from IBS can also have a negative impact on these areas. So as you can now imagine, there are several ways in which IBS can cause pain in other parts of the body.

How To Get Rid of IBS Back Pain

the connection between IBS and back painThe best way to get rid of IBS back pain is to get rid of your IBS.  This may sound like it’s easier said than done, but we’ve been specializing in helping patients do that for nearly 20 years. Most places will tell you that IBS can’t be cured. That has not been our experience.

We fully expect our patients to be able to get rid of their IBS. That’s why we know so much about the connection between IBS and back pain, because we often get to see back pain improve at the same time that a patient’s IBS is resolving. So we know that it wasn’t just a one off or a coincidence.

Don’t suffer any longer. The amount of improvement in your overall health that can be had by solving your IBS will surprise you. And your back will thank you.

Do you think that your back pain may be related to IBS?