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BACK PAIN DURING PERIODS

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Things that are the absolute worst - discovering at the most vital and last minute that you’re out of TP (lol, don’t @ me 2020), autocorrect during a rant, making a coffee and finding empty milk carton in the fridge and painful periods.

Lower back pain associated with your period is usually caused by hormonal changes and visceral pain referral.

It’s somewhat common to experience some discomfort or pain in our lower back nearing the arrival of or even during our periods. It’s estimated that 40-50% of women suffer from some low back pain leading up to or during their periods. Menstrual pain varies from person to person and even from period to period in the same person.

There’s a few different reasons for this.

The main reason is mostly due to a hormone known as Prostaglandins, that cause the uterus to contract to shed the endometrium, then referring pain to the lower back. Prostaglandins also cause cramps. Heavy cramps (or contractions) can lead to low-back pain, as the pain can radiate from the lower abdomen into the lower back.

People with high prostaglandin levels may experience severe menstrual cramps, or if you’re fancy, “Dysmenorrhea”, and also severe back pain during their period.

Let’s all collectively Booooooooo, shall we?.

Another reason why, is a little phenomenon called “pain referral”.

In regards to things like back and hip pain during menstruation, this is predominantly due to the fact that the uterus is located in the lower abdomen/pelvis. These areas are connected to it by nerves from the Sacral plexus. This bundle of nerves innovate the pelvic area, genitals, bum and some of the legs and feet. Essentially, pain referral is a b*tch.

Pain from our organs (visceral pain) is triggered by nociceptors (pain/sensory stimuli receptors) in our chest, intestines, pelvis and abdomen and then can be referred out to soft tissue structures (e.g. menstrual pain and low back pain!)

More often than not, low back pain leading up to, during or even after a woman’s period is nothing to vicious to overthink and can often be managed with NSAID’s + OTC pain relief, a nice heat pack or just resting.

-Heat is always a classic go-to to help promote blood flow and warmth to the area, this can help relax any aches or muscles spasms and best of all, it feels nice!

-OTC pain relief (panadol, nurofen, ibuprofen, aspirin etc) have shown positive results in helping to relive menstrual pain.

-Yoga or gentle stretching can promote some pain relief as well, helping to reduce things like bloating and muscular pain and promote breathing control and relaxation throughout the body.

-Breathing techniques can help to regulate the body’s sympathetic nervous system, decrease muscular tension, lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, increase your endorphin excretion, decrease stress etc

-Other more alternative measures such as herbal teas, Chinese herbal medicines, acupuncture etc. have also shown to have positive outcomes in relieving or reducing menstrual pain.

As I said before, it’s not often that low back pain during your period is that of a more sinister nature. Its quite generally just referred pain.

However, if severe and crippling enough, it can be signs of something potentially nastier, like:

  • Endometriosis - where the endometrial lining grow outside the uterus

  • Cervical Stenosis - an unusually small opening of the cervix, blocking the normal rate of blood flow and therefore creating increased pressure in the uterus

  • Uterine Fibroids - a non-cancerous growth on the wall of the uterus

*please keep in mind that low back pain is just 1 correlated symptom of these conditions*

If you find yourself in this more severe category, seek advice from your GP or Obstetrician/Gynaecologists.

All in all, no-body LIKES to get their period.

Periods and period pain are often brushed under the rug, seen as a bit of a taboo topic. But they couldn’t be more normal!

If this can help ease some discomfort and pains for you, or you have a friend you think could try some of these, help a sister out!





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