FAQ: Is There Any Connection Between IBS and Back Pain?
Two conditions that commonly affect people today are IBS and back pain, which are extremely painful and uncomfortable. While the symptoms of these conditions are different from one another, they both cause pain and discomfort. Because of the unpleasant symptoms associated with these conditions, some have begun to worry that the 2 are connected.
Dealing with chronic back pain or IBS alone is unpleasant enough, but coping with both can be torturous. This makes figuring out the connection, if one exists, critical to people who suffer from one or both of them. Therefore, this article will assess the similarities and overlap between IBS and chronic back pain to see if having one causes you to develop the other.
What is Comorbidity?
Having a condition born of another is not something anyone enjoys dealing with, but it is possible in some situations. In the medical field, comorbidities are common scenarios in which one patient simultaneously displays symptoms of 2 or more health issues. However, comorbidity is slightly more complicated since different definitions apply to different scenarios.
When a physician uses the term "comorbid," it could mean any of these 3 things:
- A medical condition that exists simultaneously but independently with another condition in the same patient.
- A medical condition that causes or is caused by another condition in the same patient.
- Two or more medical conditions that exist simultaneously in the same patient despite any causal relationship between them.
Comorbidity is an unfortunate and common issue in the medical field that can occur whenever we develop multiple health issues simultaneously. There is some confusion surrounding comorbidity and its relationship to multimorbidity, but the latter is a different issue. Comorbidity refers to one "index" condition that is the primary concern, while the other condition(s) are viewed concerning the index.
Multimorbidity places all the conditions on the same level of importance, with none taking precedence. Ultimately, comorbidity involves a condition viewed as a byproduct of the index condition, which is more common than we prefer. Now we come to whether back pain and IBS are known for comorbidity or if their coexistence results from multimorbidity.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an unpleasant and common health issue that impacts the gastrointestinal tract. IBS is not inherently painful or dangerous, but it has varying levels of severity that determine how the symptoms affect the patient. Fortunately, the cases of IBS that yield the most severe symptoms are in the minority, but they are a risk that must be considered. IBS is highly unpleasant, regardless of the severity, since it affects one of our body's essential functions. Typical symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal Pain
These are only a handful of symptoms and are among the less severe potential issues IBS is known to cause. Some symptoms are so severe that you must seek medical attention from a physician. Specifically, you should seek medical attention if your IBS causes:
- Weight Loss
- Rectal Bleeding
- Unexplained Vomiting
- Pain (Only if the pain persists despite passing gas or a bowel movement.)
These symptoms indicate extreme IBS that could further complicate your health if left unaddressed. The cause of IBS is not fully understood, making it difficult to connect it to other health issues. Nevertheless, several factors contribute to IBS diagnoses that are becoming more common in modern society.
One of the most common factors associated with IBS is an infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Infections like gastroenteritis can irritate the fragile ecosystem in the gastrointestinal tract and cause lasting issues, including IBS. Having IBS does not necessarily affect you 24/7 and can be tolerated until the condition's symptoms are triggered. IBS flare-ups can be triggered by stress or certain foods that irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
IBS is a common issue, but it is not so common that most people struggle with it. According to modern research, between 10% and 20% of American adults have IBS (with women twice as likely to develop the condition). Most diagnoses occur when the patient is under 50, and your family's pre-existing history of IBS (should it exist) significantly increases the risk. Despite this, you might have noticed that back pain is absent from the symptoms discussed in this section. We must first assess chronic back pain as a separate issue before relating it to syndromes like IBS.
Back Pain Explained
Back pain is a widespread issue that has affected up to 23% of the global population, primarily lower back pain. Of the billions of people affected by back pain, between 24% and 80% have experienced recurrent symptoms within a year. This makes back pain a very common and very unpleasant issue for adults.
Chronic back pain might seem like an issue that only affects older people, but adults of any age can develop back pain. The only major difference is that patients under 60 have a wider range of treatment options, whereas elderly patients have limited choices. The detail that makes back pain such a nefarious issue is that it is not limited to a single condition and instead has hundreds, if not thousands, of potential causes. The symptoms of back pain can vary depending on the part of the back that is affected and what triggered the pain.
Back pain can be described as muscle aching or burning, shooting, or stabbing sensations somewhere along the back. The vertebral column is extremely sensitive to damage and is the hub for our central nervous system. This means our backs are sensitive to several conditions or issues that affect other body parts.
If the affected area has a direct connection to the central nervous system, the pain we feel in one area can likely radiate up our vertebral column. Fortunately, the issues that cause this are not overly common, but the causes of back pain are still numerous. The most common causes of back pain are physical injuries or strains that cause our muscles to contract.
There are so many different causes of back pain that it has been linked to several health issues, even if there was no evidence to support the connection. When back pain manifests in someone with IBS, there is usually a preconception that one is responsible for the other. However, this connection might not be what you believed since IBS and back pain are not closely related.
Do IBS and Back Pain Have Comorbidity?
Back pain is common in patients with IBS, especially those with extreme IBS, which yields more concerning symptoms. Patients with IBS tend to report lower back pain, one of the more common types of back pain in modern society. This has led some people to assume that back pain is a byproduct of their IBS and that resolving one will resolve the other. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and the correlation between IBS and back pain is slim.
While many patients with IBS experience back pain, it is not because the IBS is causing the issue. That said, your IBS symptoms may exacerbate your back pain since it causes gastrointestinal congestion. This can radiate through the nervous system and cause your back pain to flare up.
Most studies estimate that between 28% and 81% of IBS patients experience back pain, lending credence to the idea that the former induces the latter. Most experts believe the back pain associated with IBS is a case of referred pain, in which the brain misinterprets pain in one area of the body. Referred pain can cause pain in our back when it is another body part experiencing complications.
This referred pain can arise from gas buildup in the gastrointestinal tract, making our backs ache when the problem has nothing to do with it. Nevertheless, there is no evidence supporting IBS as a primary cause of back pain and that both conditions are usually the result of something else. Therefore, IBS and back pain do not have comorbidity but are comorbid with other underlying conditions that caused them to manifest.
The more common reason for the link between the 2 conditions is an inflammatory disorder that has strained the body. Many cases of IBS have been connected to rheumatoid arthritis, which weakens the bones and causes joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the back and cause pain along the vertebral column, while the associated IBS wreaks havoc on our gastrointestinal tract.
The general consensus is that IBS exacerbates the underlying condition that caused it, which can sometimes reverberate to the back. If your IBS causes excess gas or bloating, you may experience back pain because of the strain. That said, this is rare and usually requires you to have some pre-existing back pain that the IBS can irritate. Nevertheless, it might be worth investing in a supplement you can use to improve your health and minimize the symptoms of IBS.
Natural Remedy for IBS
Because issues with the gastrointestinal tract can cause IBS, it is possible to reinforce your body against the symptoms by consuming certain substances. One of the best tools for treating your gastrointestinal health is ginger. Ginger has been associated with gastrointestinal health for centuries, with modern studies reaffirming its usefulness.
Ginger is a naturally growing root you have likely encountered before, given its value in modern cuisine. You might not have known that ginger is renowned for its health benefits, making it a common tool in Ayurvedic medicine. One of ginger's more common uses is treating gastrointestinal distress.
Among the benefits ginger offers for the gastrointestinal tract is an indirect method for soothing IBS. Digestive issues are a common source of IBS, especially chronic digestive issues that certain foods can trigger. Ginger has been used to soothe the digestive system by accelerating the rate at which our digestive systems are emptied.
As a result, our digestive symptoms are alleviated since there is less in our stomachs to cause problems. This can reduce the frequency of IBS flare-ups since fewer things stress your digestive system. While ginger consumption is ineffective as a full-time treatment, it can help you manage the condition.
Finding the Right Blend
IBS and back pain are common issues that can affect anyone, though some people are more predisposed to them than others. Sometimes, the common nature of these conditions has caused people to believe they are comorbid and will always manifest simultaneously. While this is not true, IBS can exacerbate chronic back pain as your stomach and gastrointestinal tract are subject to distortions.
Reducing the symptoms by improving your digestive health can be extremely effective for people struggling with IBS and how it affects their back pain. Ginger, among other natural tools, is highly effective for addressing digestive health, but finding a viable supplement can be challenging.
We at Teami have been waging war against health and cosmetic issues using natural resources to enhance the body's natural capabilities. That is why we have created our Super Digest, Holistic Digestive Enzyme, made using ginger and other digestive aids. While our product was not specifically designed to treat IBS, it can fortify your digestive health to mitigate the symptoms and reduce discomfort. Natural resources can be very beneficial for reinforcing your bodily defenses without overstimulating them with pharmaceutical-grade products.
We encourage you to visit our website and peruse our entire catalog to see what resources we can offer your body. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
If you ever have any comments, questions, or concerns, we'd love to hear them. Whether they're about the topic of an article we've written, our line of products, or anything else similar, you can always either leave us a comment in the section down below or reach out to us directly, and we'd be more than happy to help you out however we can! You can find our contact page, including our various contact information, on this page over here, and if you're looking for further information, be sure to check out our other blog posts! We can't wait to hear from you and help you on your health and wellness journey!
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