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Back pains

Hey guys,

I was officially diagnosed with IBS in January this year but I've been having these symptoms since I was in year 9 (I'm in year 13 now.) I know the basics of the condition but I'm a little confused because of my backaches because I never had them until this year. They get so bad that I cant even get out of bed and it's having a huge impact on my education. I was just wondering if its normal that my stomach spasms have"spread" (so to speak) to my back.

13 Replies

I have the same problem which you describe very accurately but I am aged! It must be really tough for you. I have not found an easy answer but my physio recommends ice packs and also heat - I go to bed with a Wheaty bag which you can heat up in the microwave - I find that both help. Also try to keep moving as much as possible. My IBS is triggered by anxiety so it is a vicious circle!! I would be inclined to go back to your doctor to see if he/she has any suggestions on how to cope with it. Others on this board may have ideas too. Good luck!


Thanks a lot for your help. I was just wondering if my back paid were actually IBS or something else but you have put my mind to rest. I'll try to see my doctor to find out if there are any other ways to reduce the pain. Till then I'll attempt your method.I hope your pains are reduced too! Your help is much appreciated 😊


The spasms won't have spread but maybe they're a bit more intense now so you're getting back ache as a consequence of trying to deal with the pain. The other obvious thing that jumps to my mind is anxiety. You're in your last year of school now so maybe you're starting to worry about exams and university etc (even just subconsciously). Anxiety can contribute to both IBS and pain. What are your thoughts about that?


I already know that I have anxiety and depression but I told the healthy minds lady that I didn't want to go through CBT because I dont like the idea of talking to a stranger. Unfortunately I dont think she understood my point because she then just referred me to counselling and they STILL haven't got back to me so I feel like I'm just being messed around by the system. And you're definitely right about uni because I'm so afraid of failing , especially because my grades were terrible last year. Alongside this someone in family passed away which just made things even worse. Maybe I should ask my doctor about this too? Thanks a lot for your help, everything seems to be quite clearly linked to me now when I just assumed that my IBS, anxiety and depression all worked separately.


The points you raise (fear of failing, losing a relative) are just the type of thing that CBT is designed to help with. You don't even need to speak to a counsellor to do it. If you like, you can read my experiences of using the book Mind Over Mood and how that helped me - patientj.wordpress.com/2016... - although I will stress that a therapist really helped as well - patientj.wordpress.com/2016...

The doctor can help by providing medication or also referring to a therapist. To be honest, I'm not sure the medication helped me (perhaps I will only know when I start coming off of it) but I truly believe that the medication is only a crutch and it's the learning to deal with and manage the emotions that are crucial.

As for the fear of failing, that's only natural. As a society we base so much on people's academic achievements. I think what's more important is not to base it on what we achieve but on what we want to do - there will always be more than one way to get there. That's one of the things counselling helped me to realise.


wow your article is so eloquently written and motivational! If you don't mind me asking, did you apply for med school for the next academic year? (2017) I really hope you get in and its so brave of you to make these changes to your life,its actually inspiring. So considering the article and everything, you think that I should go through CBT? If that's the case I'll probably have to phone healthy minds again. (but I dont like feeling like a burden to the psychiatrists) I'm not sure what I'll do as of right now but I'll definitely take your advice into account. Thanks a lot for your time and effort and good luck for the future patientj :)))


Thank you.

Yep - I applied this year to start next year. Had some interviews last week which were pretty intimidating. We'll see how I get on.

I'm not an expert, but based on my own personal experiences, I think CBT will help you. The key thing is to be patient. I think lots of people expect it to work straight away but if anxiety has been an issue for a while, there's an awful lot to understand about yourself and your thoughts.

Under no circumstances think of yourself as being a burden, though. It's what the professionals are there for. Don't be afraid to put yourself first. Best of luck!


Lots of helpful advice and suggestions from Patientj, Fellipe. I entirely agree tht I have not found medication particularly helpful. You will probably begin to feel a bit better now that you know you are not alone.


Dont worry patientj, I bet you've got a place in the bag! And thank you both for your advice. I'm glad I've joined the IBS community and you're right brandywell I actually feel somewhat better about my IBS. Thank you both for your advice and support and best of luck 🍀:))


Hi Fillipe,

It's a strange and eye-opening realisation that our body/mind are all connected hey? But is only in past couple of centuries that we've had this distinct separation of mind and body and actually medicine is coming back to acknowledging the link between physical and mental health.. and the extent to which the link between the gut and brain is a significant factor in conditions like IBS - and yet still doctors don't seem to make a point about this when they're dealing with IBS patients.

Doctors don't know for sure what the PRIMARY cause is - but it is known that changes in gut bacteria can significantly affect the symptoms as well as other factors such as the body's inflammatory responses. And guess what - now they're starting to think gut bacteria could be playing a role in psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression and new treatments are being developed for these using probiotics (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26306709)! It is unclear whether an imbalance in gut bacteria (which in turn somehow stimulate messages being sent to brain manifesting in anxiety and depression symptoms), or anxiety and depression (which puts the body in a fight or flight state and stimulates bacteria growth in the gut) comes first but it is likely that they are self-perpetuating!

I'm at uni studying Physiotherapy and we have access to lots of specialised lectures - so of course I watched the lecture on IBS! They talked about targeting the different potential factors that are causing the IBS, ie gut flora, systemic inflammation, psychological factors etc. Probiotics have been found to be helpful for some people and I think by the sounds of it it would be really helpful and useful for you to try and tackle your anxiety and depression. Talking to people about these things can seem so difficult but you just have to think that these people can help and you will not be the first person to come to them with these types of trouble!

The other thing is - on our Physiotherapy course we have a back pain module and anxiety DEFINITELY feeds into back pain and this is just another reason to go see someone who can address some of these issues as it could help you!

I hope this information helps - definitely try getting some good pro-biotics anyway! :-)


Hi H_M_R,

I really appreciate the in depth response you have provided me with. I am hopefully going to try to undertake CBT and I've been trying mindfulness techniques from youtube in the meantime as recommend by patientj. I had no idea that my back pains were directly linked to my anxiety so I'm definitely going to try and sort that out too. I've previously tried to take probiotics but I didn't really find any improvement in my health? I'm not sure why this is though. Anyways thanks so much for helping out H_M_R!! :))))


No problem! And obviously everyone is different and responds to different things, but there are lots of different types of probiotics out there and not all of them have been proven to get through to the gut and properly absorbed - so it's always worth trying a few - I've found optibac probiotics to have worked well for me after I was on antibiotics for a while.

In terms of the back pain - anxiety and stress can definitely make you more sensitive to the back pain - but it won't be that alone that's causing the pain - it'll probably be a combination of things - I think someone mentioned it before but it's really good to keep mobile and moving - I know it's probably hard when you're trying to study but exercise and movement is key to helping reduce back pain! But I think it'd be good to get it checked out by a professional (doctor/physio) to be sure, especially as you're so young to be getting back pain!


I'm such an idiot😂 I thought there was only a single type of probiotic. I've been taking a type called "advanced acidophilus plus".(I just checked the label) anyways I'll be sure to check out optibac in the near future hopefully.

About talking to my gp, the strangest thing has happened. She's left the health centre that I'm registered at and she was aware of my medical history and we were familiar with one another which made it easier for me to tell her about my issues. Now I feel like I have to start all over again with a different doctor at the same health centre but she doesn't know who I am and in previous instances I've been to her when my original doctor was away and she literally didn't care about my issues. She's the kind of person who wants to get rid of patients asap so I dont know who to go to now. I might try changing health centres? I'm not sure as yet but either way I have to start all over again in telling a complete stranger about my problems!


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