Back pain

Back pain during your periodis very common1 and is typically a muscular pain related to cramping, which is caused by contractions in the uterus. If no pregnancy occurs, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This signals your uterus to begin contracting to break down and discard the uterine lining. If your uterus contracts strongly, it may press on blood vessels and cut off the supply of oxygen to muscles in the abdominal area. This can cause pain which radiates out to the lower back, the groin, hip region and the thighs. So, back pain and cramps often go hand in hand during your menstruation.

It is also common for women with endometriosis to experience back pain during their menstrual cycle.2 Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of endometrial cells in a location outside the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly occurs on organs in the pelvic region. Many women with endometriosis don’t have any symptoms, but pelvic and lower back pain that worsens during menstruation is a known symptom. Endometriosis can be diagnosed from a pattern of symptoms, but is most usually confirmed through a surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. Treatment for endometriosis includes medication and surgery for both pain relief and treatment of infertility, if you want to become pregnant. Discuss the treatment options with your physician.

Expert advice

  • Take a warm bath. The warm water will help your muscles relax. A long, hot shower can help too. Aim the water at your lower back for maximum effect.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine (such as ibuprofen and naproxen) may help you manage back pain if you take it a couple of days before your menstruation begins.
  • Place a covered hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen or back. The heat will help your muscles to relax and ease back pain.3
  • Stay active, if you can. This will help take the focus off your pain and increases blood flow to your muscles and nervous system. Endorphins are released during exercise and they reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in your body.4
  • Drink herbal teas. These can help relax your muscles and limit cramping and back pain.

When should you visit the doctor?

Lower back pain is a common menstrual discomfort for many women.1 If it is a familiar experience for you, it is unlikely to be anything to worry about and will pass as your cycle progresses. See your physician if there is a sudden change in your symptoms or if you are unable to move or function for several days each month because of back pain. Severe pain or dramatic changes may signal endometriosis, uterine fibroids, an infection or pelvic inflammatory disease. If in doubt, get it checked out.

References

1. Jang-Won Lee1 and Hye-Sang Park, Relation of the factor to menstrual pain and musculoskeletal pain J. Exerc Rehabil. 2015 Apr; 11(2): 108–111. Published online 2015 Apr 30. doi: 10.12965/jer.150188
2. Troyer, M,R Differential Diagnosis of Endometriosis in a Young Adult Woman With Nonspecific Low Back Pain Physical Therapy, Volume 87, Issue 6, 1 June 2007, Pages 801–810,https://doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20060141
3. Chaudhuri, A., Singh, A. & Dhaliwal, L. A randomised controlled trial of exercise and hot water bottle in the management of dysmenorrhoea in school girls of chandigarh, india. Indian J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 57, 114–122 (2013).
4. Viña, J., Sanchis-Gomar, F., Martinez-Bello, V. & Gomez-Cabrera, M. C. Exercise acts as a drug; The pharmacological benefits of exercise. Br. J. Pharmacol. 167, 1–12 (2012).


Tip: TakingNutri-Gyn MenstruComfort in combination with lifestyle changes helps relieve physical symptoms duringmenstruation.