As we know, incontinence is, more often than not, the symptom of an underlying condition. By finding and treating this condition, you can remedy your symptoms of incontinence and similar side effects. Some of the most common conditions that we know cause incontinence include frequent UTIs, pregnancy, childbirth, constipation, and prostate cancer.
Recently, back pain has also been studied as a cause for urinary incontinence. Some researchers believe that the activation of muscles in your abdomen may trigger back pain. And those same muscles may affect your ability to properly hold or release urine. However, whether back pain is the cause or the symptom of urinary incontinence is still to be determined. Today we are going to look at the correlation between back pain and incontinence.
Is Back Pain a Symptom of Urinary Incontinence?
The connection between back pain and other symptoms of urinary incontinence remains unclear. While some patients experience back pain or pressure that can cause episodes of incontinence, not all patients experience back pain. Further, researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause for all back pain or pressure that does cause episodes of incontinence.
Most incontinence symptoms depend on the type of incontinence you have:
This is characterised by sudden pressure on your bladder pressure can be characterised as laughing, sneezing, exercising, or lifting heavy objects.
This is characterised as a sudden, severe urge to urinate as well as the inability to control the loss of urine. People with this type of incontinence may need to urinate frequently.
This type of incontinence is characterised as the bladder not emptying fully. As a result, people may experience dribbling or dripping urine.
This is characterised as a mental or physical impairment that may affect people’s ability to reach a toilet in time to urinate.
This is characterised by the inability to hold urine or prevent passing urine.
This is characterised by having more than one type of incontinence. For example, you may have stress and urge incontinence.
Back Pain and Incontinence Research
Currently, researchers are still studying how back pain or issues with the back may cause or affect cases of incontinence. So far, a few studies are shedding light on possible connections. In 2015, Brazilian researchers published a study exploring the correlation between lower back pain and urinary incontinence. This study, however, was conducted among patients with an average age of 80.
Also, in 2015, a study from Calgary, Alberta, was conducted among women a year after giving birth. Of these women, researchers found that both back pain and urinary incontinence were common. Further, the study showed that back pain was more common and more likely to interfere with a woman’s day-to-day life than urinary incontinence. It also found that women who were obese, at an advanced maternal age, or had a vaginal delivery during childbirth were more likely to experience symptoms of urinary incontinence. Finally, the study found that there was no connection between women who experienced back pain and any episodes of urinary incontinence.
Of course, both of these studies used specific members of the population. As a result, more research is needed to see if there is a substantive link between back pain and incontinence.
What are the Risk Factors for Back Pain and Incontinence?
There are certain risk factors that will put you more at risk of experiencing both back pain and incontinence. Some of these risk factors include:
Your age increases your risk of both back pain and incontinence. Back pain becomes more common as you age. Similarly, the muscles that control your bladder also lose strength as you grow older.
As we know, carrying extra weight puts pressure on our joints. This includes our back. It also increases pressure on our bladder and nearby muscles which can lead to stress incontinence. Over time, this extra stress can also weaken the bladder muscles.
Other diseases, like diabetes and arthritis, can cause incontinence and back pain. Further, psychological conditions like anxiety and depression are more likely to also experience back pain.
Can Back Pain and Incontinence Be Caused by Other Conditions?
While incredibly rare, there is one condition that can cause back pain and urinary incontinence simultaneously. Known as Cauda Equina Syndrome or CES, this disorder affects the bundle of nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord. These particular nerve roots are responsible for sending and receiving signals from your brain, controlling the lower half of your body and pelvic organs. When these nerve roots are compressed, it cuts off sensation and control, and the nerves that control the bladder and bowels are particularly susceptible to the loss of control caused by CES.
Less rare, a ruptured disc can also cause back pain while putting pressure on these nerve roots. This can cause similar issues with bladder or bowel incontinence.
There is also a form of arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) that causes inflammation of the spinal joints. This can cause everything from discomfort to chronic severe pain. And the inflammation of the joints can also compress the nerve roots, leading to incontinence issues.
Treating Back Pain and Incontinence
When it comes to treating incontinence and back pain, it largely depends on the underlying causes. Once what is causing your symptoms is understood, you can develop a plan to manage your conditions.
Back Pain Treatments
The most common treatments for back pain include:
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle changes
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications
- In some serious cases, surgery
There is a range of ways to treat and manage incontinence, including:
- Bladder retraining
- Incontinence products – pads, adult nappies, etc.
- Diet and exercise
- Lifestyle changes
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Prescription medications
- Medical implants
How Can I Prevent Back Pain and Incontinence?
Patients experiencing infrequent bouts of back pain and incontinence can reduce their risks of another episode. The best line of defence is going to a doctor and getting a diagnosis, and setting up a treatment plan. But below we have listed some prevention tips:
Maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of fibre, lean protein, vegetables, and fruits is important. Not only does it help you maintain weight and fuel exercise, but it also reduces the risk of constipation. Constipation can cause lower back pain as well as incontinence, specifically bowel incontinence.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also an important factor in preventing both back pain and incontinence. Excess weight is known to contribute to back pain and incontinence, as well as cause back pain and incontinence.
Getting regular exercise can help prevent weak back muscles, reducing your risk of back pain. Exercise can also increase the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, making it easier to hold urine. As a result, this helps reduce the chance of developing incontinence.
Products to Manage Back Pain
Holistic Incontinence provides a wide range of products to help you manage both back pain and incontinence. We carry an impressive range of incontinence products that are both modern and discrete, ensuring you can manage your incontinence in comfort day and night. Holistic Incontinence also has a range of support products to manage back pain.
Swivel Chair Cushion
Our swivel chair cushion is ideal for those with reduced mobility due to injury, disability, or age. It can help with any movement of sitting or swivelling into place, like getting in and out of a car, that could lead to a fall or an injury. These cushions feature a special low-friction design that offers a smooth, 360° pivot action.
It is designed with an internal swivel mechanism to minimise exertion and the chance of injury by improving the angle needed to get out of vehicles, wheelchairs, and chairs. As a result, users can simply sit and swivel to enter and exit their car, get in and out of a wheelchair, or up and down from a home office chair.
It is comprised of an ABS base, a foam centre, and a comfortable velvet top. The Swivel chair cushion is ideal for car seats, office chairs, at home, and wheelchairs.
Unlike its traditional counterparts, our revolutionary posture cane will make you feel balanced, safe, and more comfortable when walking. The specially designed handle keeps you upright, so you look forward instead of down. Not only does this take pressure off your back and help improve back pain, but it also takes the pressure off your shoulder and wrist. This gives your body a lift, placing you in a natural upright position and supporting your body weight.
It has an adjustable height from 101-124cm and a durable 6-pin tip that not only provides 360° traction but also allows the cane to stand upright. This makes it invaluable for getting up from chairs and sofas. It is lightweight and sturdy, as well as foldable, making it easy to store as well as simple to carry with you. Safely navigate all kinds of terrain, from hills to footpaths to stairs, with our posture cane.
Easy Pick-up Reacher
The easy pick-up reacher features a swivel claw and magnetic tip that assists the user when collecting items without bending or overextending. This helps protect your back and reduce back pain associated with bending and reaching. Ultra-lightweight and robust, the easy pick-up reacher assists with retrieving and reaching items at home, in the garden, and even when shopping. It is perfect for those who have difficulty bending and reaching.
It features a moulded plastic handle with a full four-finger operated trigger, which moves more like a jaw rather than traditional two-finger operated reachers. As a result, this allows for a more controlled grip and the ability to apply more pressure.
The head of the reacher can be adjusted and swivelled 360° to the perfect position, reducing the need to rotate the wrist. The head also features a magnet allowing for the retrieval of small metal objects. Further, the rubber edge on the claw improves the grip on the items, while the lightweight construction for improved manoeuvrability.
Explore Holistic Incontinence’s range today for your incontinence and other needs. Or contact us today for advice on products.