Back and pelvic mobility may help painful periods
Menstruation can consist of abdominal pain, bloating and headaches for most women each month. In addition to the typical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, some women also suffer from low back pain, or it can just make the existing back pain worse and more uncomfortable for the individual.
This low back pain can range from a subtle annoyance to debilitating pain during those days of the month. The pain experienced typically is felt around the middle part of the lower back. Back pain symptoms or the exacerbation of problems for most women will begin a few days prior to a menstrual cycle and usually subside after the cycle has finished.
The good news is that low back pain during menstruation is usually not serious.
So, why does it happen?
What Causes Low Back Pain during Menstruation?
Low back pain during menstruation is typically muscular in nature and thought to be caused by hormone changes. Prostaglandins (hormones released during a menstrual cycle to promote uterine contraction to shed the uterine lining) can affect the lower back muscles. An excess of prostaglandins can cause painful menstruation. Heavy contractions can lead to low back pain, as the pain can radiate from the lower abdomen into the low back.
Also there is also a slight build-up of intrauterine pressure as the flow of blood increases in and around the pelvis during this time (bloating). Good pelvic muscle control, lower back, pelvic and hip mechanics may help improve blood flow and drainage and reduce any feeling of bloating.
Women with endometriosis may also experience low back pain during the menstrual cycle. If this is of concern, you may want to talk to your doctor about this diagnosis and proper treatment options.
Tips to Reduce Painful Cramping and Low Back Pain:
1. Some women benefit from starting with over the counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, a couple days prior to menstruation.
2. Exercise regularly. Studies show that women who exercise on a regular basis have less painful menstrual cramps and low back pain. Stretch the lower back and hips. Improve pelvic floor and abdominal tone. If you have back pain outside your period, seek medical advice.
3. Maintain a healthy diet and take nutritional supplements with vitamin B and magnesium.
4. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
5. Apply heat or take warm baths.
6. Avoid caffeine and chocolate.
7. Avoid alcohol intake and smoking.
8. Some women may require birth control pills to help with menstrual pain. (See your GP for more advice)
If your low back pain lingers past the menstrual cycle or you develop leg pain or weakness, you should seek medical attention, as this may be more than the typical low back pain stemming from prostaglandin release during menstruation.
Do you experience back pain associated with your menstrual cycle? If so, please share your tips with us and your girlfriends!
Steve Palmer DO MRO
www.bodycare-clinic.co.uk 01293 533 082 & 01403 242624