Can spinal surgery cause bowel problems?

Many patients report constipation problems after spinal surgery.  They feel considerable discomfort and pain in passing motion.  Though it has been considered as a usual problem by orthopedic and spine specialist, many people find it a significant challenge difficult to overcome.

Reasons to get spinal surgery

Many reasons can be attributed to the persistent pain and constipation felt by spinal surgery candidates.  Anesthesia, use of pain medications, dietary changes, decreased acidity etc are some among them.


  • Bloating and abdominal pain
  • Vomiting and or nausea
  • Hard stool or difficulty in bowel movement

Recovering from the trauma of the surgery itself is a difficult task.  Along with that managing constipation problem becomes an additional burden to a person who has undergone back surgery. However, some easy actions which can be taken by the patient to avoid the problem of constipation are discussed below.

Steps to prevent constipation

Increased activity:  Try to increase your physical activity soon after the successful completion of the surgical procedure.  Walking has been found to be an excellent way to bring back the body functions to its normal state. It also helps to speed up the healing process.

Avoid use of narcotic medicines: Intake of narcotic medications should be reduced to the maximum possible extent. They are to be taken only what is minimally required to keep the pain under control. Bowel mobility will be slowed down by this medicine resulting in constipation.  Switching over to non-narcotic pain relievers is a good option in this regard.

Fiber laxatives, stool softener etc can be used: Stool softener, fiber laxatives or a mixture of the above mentioned products can be used for avoiding the risk of constipation as it has been found to be very successful on many patients according to the opinion of an orthopedic and spine specialist Mclean.

Drink more water?  Drinking more non-caffeinated drinks can reduce the risk of constipation. You have to drink at least 40 ounces of these liquids if your surgeon has not restricted the usage owing to other reasons.


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