A woman doubles over and squints in pain, holding her stomach and her back. The background shows the enlarged, abstracted outline of an intestine.

IBS and Back Pain

We have been reading the comments for a while now, and wanted to get a more concrete answer from our IBS community: Is there a connection between IBS and back pain?

To hear more about this link, we reached out on the IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Facebook page. We polled the community, asking: “Do you experience IBS-related back pain?”

Nearly 400 community members responded, with 80 percent stating they do experience IBS-related back pain. Nearly 40 of you commented further.

Here is what you said.

“I did not know IBS could cause back pain.”

Many in the community shared that they did not know that IBS is related to back pain. Yes, the two are often linked—but technically, IBS does not “cause” back pain. Rather, this phenomenon is known as “referred pain,” which means that pain originates in one area of the body, but can be felt somewhere else.

“I did not know IBS could cause back pain. I have a sway back. The curve inward in my lower back is rather pronounced. The pain there has gotten steadily worse over the years but so has my weight. Recently my entire back has started hurting more.”

“Really useful reading this.”

“I get back pain when I am having a flare-up.”

Several of you have already noticed the direct link between back pain and IBS. Specifically, you have observed that your back pain shows up right before or during an IBS flare-up, which makes sense.

“Whenever I get a flare-up from my IBS, my back hurts all the way to the front. It feels like a pair of pants that are to tight and a belt that is ten times tighter.”

“Yes, it is very severe just before an episode.”

“I get back pain when I am having a flare-up.”

“It is hard to tell.”

For others, your pains are or seem to be separate. You experience back pain, and also IBS pains, but not always at the same time. This also makes sense as IBS can affect people in entirely different ways.

“It is hard to tell.”

“Never related my back pain to IBS... hm.”

“My mother said it was just gas.”

We also wanted to address the fact that not everyone in your life will understand what it is like to live with IBS. Even family members, partners, and close friends may not automatically understand. They may give you pushback when you talk about your back pain, which only makes a tough situation worse. Hopefully, you feel comforted knowing you are not alone in this, and that many members of this community fully understand what you are going through—and the fact that it can be terribly difficult for others to understand.

“It would hurt to no end. Then it would. My mother said it was just gas. But no. It was IBS running me crazy.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who voted, and everyone who shared about this issue.

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