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Diverticulitis Low Back Pain

diverticulitisA good starting point in understanding low back pain with diverticulitis is to define what diverticulitis actually is. In cases of diverticulitis, the colon bulges out into “pouches” along weak spots in the colon wall, usually in the sigmoid colon that runs along the left side of the abdomen. These balloon-like pouches are then called diverticula. Many people have diverticulosis without any idea they’ve got it–it’s estimated that between ages 60 and 80, half the people in the U.S. have diverticulitis. When the diverticula become infected or inflamed, the condition is escalated to diverticulitis. When it advances to full-blown diverticulosis, serious complications can arise such as:

  • abscesses
  • perforations
  • intestinal blockages from scarring
  • fistula
  • peritonitis

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Often, diverticulitis doesn’t show any symptoms, but in some cases it can result in abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea, vomiting, change in bowel habits or cramping. It can also result in back pain; since there are so many possible causes for lower back pain, it’s easy for a physician to overlook diverticulitis as a potential culprit. Sometimes the pain can even spread to the scrotum, buttocks, hips, thighs, legs, and even shoulder and neck. Obviously this complicates diagnosis even further.

Cases where diverticulitis cause back pain are more common among women and the elderly, or people who are otherwise compromised. What makes it dangerous is that especially among an elderly person or someone with other complications, having diverticulitis advance to the point of back pain means that it’s much more dangerous and harder to treat. An advanced case of diverticulitis can result in a fistula, a connection of the tissues between organs (such as the bladder). That can mean an infection that’s spread to the other organ and the organs sharing their contents, which adds up to a full-blown emergency.

Unfortunately, that sort of back pain can also arise from things like kidney stones or gall bladder problems, among many other things that aren’t related to the muscle strain or orthopedic problems that usually cause back pain. It can make for a scenario where the pain is extremely difficult to accurately diagnose and treat. Your physician will probably start by ruling out the obvious (strenuous activity or the wrong mattress), then work his way to the less-obvious.

The good news is that diverticulitis will most likely present other symptoms other than just back pain (i.e. the nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, irritable bowel and others we discussed earlier). And remember that before it advances to diverticulitis, diverticulosis often goes for years without showing any symptoms whatsoever. It’s an unusual case of diverticulitis (or diverticulosis) that only causes back pain without any other problems. If your back pain is coupled with other symptoms that would point toward diverticulitis, consider getting a reference for a gastroenterologist from your MD. The gastroenterologist will probably want to do a colonoscopy and run additional tests to narrow down the causes and try to discover any problems with diverticulitis, diverticulosis or other bowel disorders.

Filed Under: Miscellaneous
Written By: Updated:

Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFTPain Relief Expert, Post Rehab Specialist.

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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27 thoughts on “Diverticulitis Low Back Pain”

  1. Ivy Jones says:

    I was diagnosed with diverticulitis 3 weeks ago. The pain in my abdomen became unbearable, so I went to the ER. I had been having lower back pain for about 3 weeks prior to the ER visit. It is not a muscular back pain, it is a deep ache like the back pain you experiance when you have the flu. I have been on two rounds of antibiotics and still feel horrible. The pain in my back is, at times unbearable. Is there anything I could do that would lessen this pain?

    1. Jane says:

      I recently had the same thing, in fact I’m still healing. I think I was sick for 6 – 8 weeks. I started drinking green tea and water in the morning. Then, I started eating oatmeal, cinnamon, and peanut butter mixed up together and nothing else. I feel so much better, but still a little sore in my back, side, abdomen, and one hip. Of course, I have an appointment with my doctor coming up and I will discuss this with her. I went to ER, and no help there; they said it was muscular. Anyway, I am going to mention that I think it is the diverticulitis acting up again, only worse this time. I bet that’s what it is.

  2. Steve says:

    Ivy, last year I was diagnosed with diverticulosis, and the first thing I did was change my diet, fiber supplement EVERYDAY and Probiotics EVERYDAY, I have not had a bout of pain since then…

    No diverticulosis is far different then diverticulitis and you need to get with proper medical professionals ASAP and take the most appropriate action needed to control you situation…

    Steve

  3. Devin says:

    What a living hell when the first bout of diverticulitis occurred! Having never experienced this before I did what people suggested and changed my food intake to bland, roughage meals whioch, as it turned out, was the wrong thing to do. Now being aware of balancing roughage intake and watching intake of foods that contain seeda I am able to avoid the more serious diverticulitis. What is extremely helpful is my inversion table! Given the collection in “pouches” of food particulate is to be avoided, regular session in the inverted position appears to counteract any of the beginning tell tale signs of on coming diverticulitis attack of gas, bloating and some abdominal discomfort! What an additional benefit this has been beyond the relief to my tight back and body!!!

  4. Martin says:

    I was diagnosed with diverticulitis in 1997 after an acute attack which was thought to be appendicitis, on surgery for that they found instead that I had diverticulitis one of which had perforated and caused peritonitis, it was a close call, they repaired the damage and put me on antibiotics for what seemed like a couple of months till I was well again, since then I have had three further acute attacks. Over the same period of time I have had severe back pain which was put down to a number of different causes none of them though seemed to be correct and so I put up with the pain. Late last year I had my fourth attack and the specialist then decided that it was appropriate to have the affected part of my large bowel removed, this was done a month ago, since then there has been absolutely no back pain which leads me to believe that the back pain was indeed somehow related to the diverticulitis. I now live in hope that this is correct and my back stays pain free. Has anyone had a similar experience?. Thanks

    1. Lubaabah says:

      Martin
      I’ve been diagnosed recently with diverticulitis and now under antibiotics and a diet. Indeed I’ve been suffering from lower back pain and the physicien took that fact in account. We’ll see after the treatment if the lower back pain persists or not, as well the somehow unbearable pain in the buttocks without any apearend reason!
      Sorry for my English, but it is Not my mothertongue and neither am I living in an English speaking country. Thanks for your understanding.

  5. Ken Ring says:

    I’m a 65 year old guy and I’ve been suffering from IBS and diverticulitis for years. I discovered I had it from a colonoscopy that I had performed in 2004. My dad had this condition and I guess I inherited it from him. Back pain on the left side and butt is a common thing. Also abdominal bloating discomfort and pain. It really sucks! I’ve been on several steroids and antibiotics but nothing seem to work. I then discovered through a good friend suffering with the same thing to try a probiotic (good bacteria) supplement. I’m on a product called ALIGN and things seem to be calming down with the pain and abdominal pressure. So far so good. Talk to your doctors about this.

  6. Janet says:

    Yes my pain also goes through my left hip leg and around the front as well as lower back

  7. Jen says:

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this site. I thought I was the only one who suffers from severe back pain with my diverticular disease. It has been really bad for at least seven weeks despite antibiotics. Diet and rest seem to be the only cure. I did have previous bouts that responded to oral Aloe Vera but not this time. Another trip to the doctors it seems!

  8. Freddie says:

    I too was diagnosed with Diverticulitis, and have Kidney, back pain. I thought it was more of a infection things so I started googling it and came to this site. Im glad im not theonly one. This is very painfull

  9. Barbara Howard says:

    I have been suffering from low back pain mostly right side for years. No real reason was found for pain of this intensity. I began having stomach pain of an on for about a year. Still having intense back pain that was worse when lying down. Finally, about a year ago I developed severe stomach pain and ended up being diagnosed with diverticulitis. While I was in the hospital being given intravenous antibiotics for the diverticulitis my back pain miraculously went away. It quickly came back once I was finished with full round of antibiotics. I have now had two other episodes with diverticulitis and antibiotics and the back pain and accompanying lower body stiffness has gone away every time, to only return when antibiotics are completed.

  10. Jeanne says:

    I have had about five bouts of Diverticulitis flair ups in the last four years. I am a 55 year old female, didn’t even know I had this until my first bout. About one one ago, I had another flair up, took one round of antibiotics and still have excruciating back pain on me left side, but no abdominal pain like other flair ups. Is this normal? This bout has made me feel like I have been hit by a semi & feel like I am 90! Have been to ER twice this past month, I tell them what is going on, but they do blood work ups & CT scans and no doctors seem to want to help me? What can I do, I feel like they are taking advantage of my health ins. Provider & most of it is not covered. Now besides the pain and feeling crappy, I have overwhelming medical bills & anxiety! Any suggestions are welcome! Jeanne

  11. Breda Carroll says:

    Hello my friends , I to have very severe back pain for years some of that time my hips and bottom hurt as well but as I arthritis it was tought to be from it not the bowel now it all makes sense ,it’s still quite bad maby they will take the affected part away in July please God ,ad I have just been dignoised with sarcoidosis of lungs as well be nice to be pain free .Thanks for sharing your stories friends breda.

  12. Jeankelly says:

    I am 67yrs was diagnosed but 3yrs ago, in last week my back killing me, wen I cough, turning in my bed even walking it aches all time..what can I do??

  13. Admin says:

    Hi Jeankelly, If you do not already have it , we suggest you get a copy of our free back pain book -The 7 Day Back Pain Cure. It has lots of information to understand back pain and pain relief methods for you to try. It will give information and education about the back and treatment options you can consider. Please read more about the book and its contents via the link below

    http://www.losethebackpain.com/7daybackpaincure.html

    Thank you
    Admin (The Healthy Back Institute)

  14. Nanette says:

    I haven’t been diagnosed yet but I have a terrible feeling that this is what I have. The pain in my lower left quadrant is brutal and the lower left back pain is just as severe. Ended up in hospital last week. I am in process of having tests done. So we shall see. Good to find this site and to read all the comments. I don’t feel so alone. Trying to take some of the advice for diet and a good probiotic. Just feeling overwhelmed, and not sure where to start. Thanks for listening.

  15. Catherine O'Neill says:

    I am a 65 yr old woman and have diverticula disease. This started a few years ago after being rushed by ambulance to A&E with severe abdominal pain. My gall bladder was removed about 17yrs ago. In A and E I was examined by what I would consider a young inexperienced Dr. . She put a morphine drip on me, then Paracetamol drip and sent me home !!!i. I thought I was going to die. 3wks later I was sent as an emergency again. The damage was done. They had to remove part of my bowel and appendix because of a burst Abscess ??? Now I have flare ups of diverticulitis , severe lower back pain and shoulder and left sided pain. I never knew my back and shoulder pain was associated with my bowel. Sorry to be on so long, but thanks a million for your advice.

  16. Jessica says:

    Hi I’m a 25 year old female diagnosed with diverticulitis 4 months ago. I have had an attack every month since then. Ever since my attack in May I am bloated, in pain, a neasous ALL of the time! Nothing seems to help. I was put on light duty at work (I work in a factory) but even walking makes my pain worse! I feel like my family doctor really isn’t trying to help me. I go for a colonoscopy in September but idk if I can handle this pain much longer. I have had to miss soo much work and honestly don’t even know if I can continue working where I do because the pain gets soo bad. Also, since my attack in April I have only had 1 period… has this happened to anyone else? I was very normal before This! Thanks!

  17. Fiber Fiber Fiber…

    I have it and Fiber was the answer for me, have not had an issue for almost a decade.

    Even if it’s just Metamucil…

    Stay off the Opioids as that will constipate you and make everything worse…

    Steve

  18. Cathy. Harnisch says:

    I also have diverticulosis with back pain. I appreciate the comments from people with this horrible disease. I am suffering from back pain with it now.

  19. Cathy, for everyone reading this start early and continue Fiber Fiber Fiber, it helps in so many ways…

    Steve

    1. Sheila Donnan says:

      I’m a 66 year old female and I suffer with diverticulitis every since I had low back surgery 1 year ago. I had complications from an opioid constipation/ blockage from the surgery and treated with IV antibiotics. The back pain is extremely bad and always worse at night. I have an nutritionist and have a good diet filled with fiber. But back pain is the killer and on my left side I have a little pouch on my stomach unlike the right. Which concerns me.
      I have appointments with my back surgeon and Gastrointestinal doctor but it doesn’t help the pain. This is far worse than my low back pain I needed surgery for. ☹️

      1. Delina Mccallson says:

        I am experiencing the same with the back pain and the pouch on.my k eft side, can’t close my jeans I fit in just a few days ago. Git me on antibiotics but seems worse this time.

  20. debbie says:

    Hi
    I have had 3 bouts of diverticulitis since being diagnosed following colonoscopy. Each much worse than the other and needed 2 courses of antibiotics last time. I falt dreadful for almost a month. I have found changing diet does help – fibre, fibre supplement, avoiding white bread, pasta, rice; eat the brown… you do get used to it. I also started to have Keffir which is a probiotic that stays active as it passes through the gut. You must however remember FLUIDS and gentle exercise. Lots of water to keep hydrated and avoid constipation. Walking or swimming is the best thing of you are not a gym fan.
    I still get abdo pain, back pain, bloating but these things definately reduce the symptoms.
    Hope this helps….

  21. I understand, I too have diverticulitis, here are my comments…

    1. Here are some additional way to address your back pain, suggesting a free book…
    https://secure.losethebackpain.com/products/7-day-backpain-book/4/sp-free-7-day-back-pain-cure-book

    2. Please know while probiotics are good they can firm up the stool, so be careful in that regard.

    Thanks

    Steve HBI-Staff

  22. Catherine David says:

    Hi everyone, just another sufferer looking for advice. I’ve just come out of hospital after suffering my fourth attack of the dreaded disease. Having done all the scans , x-rays etc…. it was confirmed that I have acute diverticulitis and put on intravenous antibiotics and then tablets. I’ve had this bout for five weeks now and am in incredible pain. My doctor says to walk a bit more but how can when doubled up in pain. I’m afraid to eat in case I vomit and am losing weight. Doctor just says high fibre! I’ve been eating high fibre for months!
    Any ideas from you fellow sufferers will be most welcome. I’m a 66 year old woman who was looking forward to retirement but I can’t see a happy future now that life has dealt me yet another blow.
    Well now I’ve probably moaned enough, perhaps you guys can help me.
    Many thanks
    Catherine

  23. Barry says:

    I had a colon resection2 years ago after going to the Dr about left side pain and was sent for a colonoscopy which showed a muconic cyst so they took away half my colon from the appendix end. Now I have just been diagnosed with NSIP Fibrosis and at the moment I have also got clots in the lung.Steroid treatment has I think now given me a flare up of diverticulitis which I have in what’s left of my colon. I have pain in the back and lower left hand side abdomen and Diahorea. Think I need a visit to A&E don’t you?…….

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