Why might IBS cause back pain January 01, 2016 10:00

Pain is one of the most troubling symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is identified as a key factor in the reduction of quality of life in IBS sufferers. In addition to pain from abdominal cramps, constipation and diarrhoea some people with IBS report back pain as a symptom associated with their condition.

Back pain can be alarming for some people as they might worry about what is causing this pain. Don’t panic, most of the time this is a normal symptom of IBS.

We have found that there are two primary causes of this pain; one relating to muscle cramping and spasm and the other relating to posture.

Cramps, spasms and pain

Did you know that some of your abdominal muscles and your diaphragm connect to your spine? Often we focus on the pain that those muscles cause the stomach area but when certain muscles spasm or cramp that pain can radiate to the back. There is every chance that if you are experiencing stomach cramps at the same time as the back pain that these muscles are the cause of the pain. 

The good news is that when these cramps or spasms subside so will your back pain.
Treating this type of pain is the same as cramps. Check out this article on Cramps and Spasms to find out more.


For some sufferers, back pain is not solely related to muscle spasms and cramps. The pain is likened to a continuous ache, often felt more in the evenings or at night. Often the cause of this pain is incorrect posture (for example; from spending long periods of time bent over during cramps). 

The good news about posture related back pain is that it can be prevented by an increased awareness of posture and by strengthening the muscles of the back.
Treatment for this type of pain focusses on the muscles that have been affected. For minor injury rest and the application of heat will help, for more severe or long-term damage you may wish to look into seeing an expert (such as a physiotherapist) to work with you to repair and strengthen any damaged muscles.

Other causes for back pain can include referred pain or something entirely unrelated to IBS, if you are experiencing any different pain to what your family doctor and you have already discussed you may want to return to your doctor and get their advice.

*Please remember to always seek medical advice. This article is written generically about IBS and should not supersede any advice received by a medical professional about an individual condition. If you think you have IBS or any other condition get the advice of your Family Doctor especially before beginning or changing any course of medication.