About IBS and Back Pain

IBS AND BACK PAIN is something that a few Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers have along with their bowel symptoms. It is a little understood phenomenon, but can occur for a variety of different reasons.

There are certain factors which influence the development of back ache and flares including:

Select A Topic:

  • Fibromyalgia - a common association with the irritable bowel syndrome and a condition which can be very disabling
  • Depression - there is no doubt that mental health problems can have a significant affect
  • Treatment - what therapies are available to help your back pain? 

IBS and Back Pain Picture

Can IBS Cause Backache?

We've already established an ASSOCIATION with backache. There are many possible reasons for this including:

Previous Injury

If you've ever suffered a TRAUMATIC INJURY to your back, you are more likely to suffer from back discomfort.

When caused by trauma, it is usually treated with analgesics, some of which increase risk of constipation.

In sufferers with constipation predominance, this can become a major issue as well as the psychological consequences of this.


In women, having a PERIOD signals the onset of menstrual cramps and these can be associated with back pain.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

A little understood condition, if you have CHRONIC PELVIC PAINyou are likely to have symptoms of back discomfort too.

More common in women, this condition is associated with IBS with a prevalence of 35-80 % .

Depression, physical pelvic trauma as well as sexual assault are more common too (1)


Fibromyalgia is a condition defined by uncomfortable muscles with TRIGGER POINTS that have maximal pain.

The condition can also be associated with other symptoms such as profound tiredness, headaches, nausea, anxiety and depression.

Back symptoms are common in sufferers with an Irritable Bowel and fibromyalgia.


DEPRESSION is common in people that suffer back pain. 70 to 90% of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, who seek help, have some degree of mental illness (2).

This is a staggering number, but you need to understand this in the context of overall sufferers. 

Only a small percentage will actually seek medical help – around 88% don’t (3) so it is not known what the overall numbers are in those who don’t seek help.

IBS and Back Pain Treatment

This is a very large topic in its own right, but a lot of the options are covered elsewhere.

TREATMENT for back symptoms can be anything from a heat pad to the use of strong analgesics.

Common strategies involve modifying your symptoms with:

  • Drugs such as antidepressants
  • Use of hypnosis
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Physiotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy


1) Irritable Bowel Syndrome In Women With Chronic Pelvic Pain In A Northeast Brazilian City

Lessa, L et al. Ref Bras Ginecol. 2013 Feb;35(2):84-9

2) Major Depression And Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Is There A Relationship?

Masand, P et al. J Clin Psychiatry. 1995 Aug;56(8):363-7

3) AGA Technical Review On Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Drossaman, D et al. Gastroenterology 2002 Dec;123(6):2108-31

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