Diarrhea and back pain are often experienced simultaneously, specifically lower back pain. While occasional back pain and diarrhea are normal and may be completely unrelated, certain underlying medical conditions could be to blame for both unfortunate and uncomfortable symptoms. Read on to learn why you might be experiencing back pain and diarrhea, and how to help alleviate the pain and digestive upset.
Possible Causes of Back Pain from Diarrhea
While some instances of back pain and diarrhea are relatively minor and can be easily resolved, others are more serious. If your back pain and diarrhea are chronic (occurring consistently for longer than 4 weeks), an underlying medical condition like the ones below could be to blame. If you suspect you might be experiencing any of the conditions below, a doctor’s visit is definitely in order.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic GI disorder that affects an estimated 15% of the world’s population. Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, digestive upset and lower back pain are all common symptoms of IBS.
Kidney infections can become very serious if left untreated, and lower back pain, diarrhea, fever and nausea are common symptoms.
Inflammation of the appendix usually presents as pain starting at the navel and traveling to the lower right side of the abdomen and sometimes as far as the lower back. Appendicitis can also cause constipation and/or diarrhea, fever, nausea/vomiting and a loss of appetite.
While not a likely cause of your back pain and diarrhea, it’s good to have pancreatic cancer on your radar, especially if your lower back pain and diarrhea present alongside symptoms such as weight loss, jaundice, nausea, dark-colored urine, and poor appetite.
How to Treat Back Pain from Diarrhea
If your symptoms don’t clear up after a few days, it’s best to check in with a medical professional ASAP as you could be experiencing one of the more serious issues above. However, if your symptoms are new and not severe, the below tips can help to alleviate your back pain and relieve diarrhea.
Gentle Movement and Stretching
Often, lower back pain is caused by muscular soreness or irritation. Gentle stretching and low-impact movements like walking and restorative yoga can help to alleviate pain caused by irritated back muscles.
Epsom Salt Baths
Tension could also be to blame for your lower back pain. Epsom salt baths allow your skin to absorb magnesium which helps with muscle relaxation. Combine 4-5 cups of Epsom salt in a hot bath and soak for 20-30 minutes.
Dehydration is a common side effect of diarrhea so it’s important to stay well hydrated with pure water, unsweetened coconut water, and bone or vegetable broths. If your diarrhea is severe, consider taking an electrolyte supplement to help restore the electrolytes and nutrients lost during diarrhea.
Adjust Your Diet
When experiencing diarrhea, it’s best to stick with easy-to-digest foods like bananas, unsweetened applesauce, broths, soups, and stews. Avoid fatty and spicy foods, and high-fiber foods (especially raw vegetables) which can be irritating to your digestive system.
It’s entirely possible that your low back pain and diarrhea are two unrelated symptoms, and experiencing them together does not indicate an underlying medical condition. Try these at-home approaches and, if your diarrhea and back pain persist, consult with your doctor to rule out a more serious issue.