Gut health is a key indicator in overall health and, as this study shows, may also be linked with the pain we feel.
Our gut microbiome consists of many different healthy flora and bacteria. When it is balanced, we feel calmer, happier, and healthier. Out of balance, we experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, and a host of digestive problems. Deficiencies in the gut microbiome are also related to autism and Parkinson's disease. This research published in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine now links our digestive health with the severity of chronic pain.
Gathering data from 303 chronic pain patients, researchers positively correlated Cleveland Clinic constipation scores with pain severity across the entire study population. Most strongly connected were low back pain, lower extremity pain, and whole body pain. Interestingly, stool consistency showed no correlation to pain severity in this study.
The study has a few limitations and calls for answers to several follow up questions. It is, however, a great starting point for further exploration into how gut and abdominal health relates specifically to pain. Perhaps we will find that constipation and other gut microbiome dysfunction are not only predictors of chronic pain and it's severity, but causes as well.