Fast relief for lower back pain with some constipation?


Q: I need to know what's the best source of immediate short-term relief of lower back pain with some constipation. Neither the pain nor the constipation is serious, but both have lasted a while and are a nagging nuisance interfering with my quality of life and I would like to get rid of them.

My basic questions are: How can I tell if the back pain is causing the constipation, or if the constipation is causing the back pain? (That is, which one do I try to treat?) The back pain is very low in the lumbar region and is not much relieved by stretching or by laying flat on the floor. It is worst in the morning when I get up and usually lessens during the day as I move around. I am 45, in generally good health, a nonsmoker, do not use caffeine, am not on any prescription drugs, am moderately overweight, and am pretty sedentary. I use Benefiber regularly for the constipation and it helps somewhat, but the back pain doesn't go away even when I've recently had a bowel movement. There is no diarrhea or stomach cramping, just the lower back ache combined with a feeling like I want to strain and eliminate, but usually there's nothing to eliminate. I know I should get more exercise, but until I can come up with a workable routine, what can I do to ease my discomfort quickly and safely? Are there stretches I should be doing, lumbar supports to use as I sit in my desk chair and work, or effective and safe laxatives that act relatively quickly (as in, not overnight?)

Most important though is the question -- should I be trying to treat the back pain (stretches, support, exercise) or going after the constipation with laxatives and dietary changes? How can I tell what is likely to work? (aside from trial and error I guess...)


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