For many, including myself, back pain is something I’ve often overlooked. I figured it must be from sleeping weird, or sitting for too long in my sub par chair, or standing weird for 8 hours at my service job.
While these all could be reasons contributing to your back pain, as someone with a period, back pain can be and is most likely closely related to our period pain, and can reveal information about potential imbalances and conditions within our bodies.
Back pain alongside period pain is very common.
So, don’t worry, experiencing back pain around your period doesn’t necessarily mean that something is glaringly wrong. An estimated 40 to 50 percent of people deal with back pain during menstruation. However, it is a symptom that patients are often asked about, so those numbers are most likely higher.
When Is It Normal To Experience Back Pain Around My Period?
Typically, within the first six days of your cycle, so slightly before and during when you start to bleed, its normal to experience back pain. If you experience back pain outside of your cycle throughout the month, it may be related to an underlying reproductive condition, which we will get to in later in this article.
What Causes Back Pain Around My Period?
As for many symptoms of menstruation, due to lack of research and attention, the EXACT causes for period related back pain are still not fully understood. However, for the most part, it is usually related to hormonal changes and their effect on ligaments in the spine.
The pain is typically muscular. Prostaglandins, the hormones released during a menstrual cycle that cause your uterus to contract to shed the uterine lining, play a vital part of that lower back pain you may be experiencing.
As your uterus contracts, it can sometimes press on blood vessels in the area, which limits or cuts off the supply of oxygen to the nearby muscles. How many prostaglandins your body releases can affect the intensity of your pain. This will also affects other types of primary dysmenorrhea, which is various pains associated with your period, such as headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and pelvic cramps.
It has also been found that hormonal changes may affect your body's collagen production, which can directly affect your ligaments, making them loose. Loose ligaments in the spine can cause some instability, which can bring about pain in the lower back.
The phenomenon that is back pain during your period, as well as other types of body pain such as in your legs, is called “referred pain”, which is pain felt in a part of your body other than its actual source.
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So,What If I'm Experiencing Lower Back Pain Throughout the Month and Outside Of Those First Six Days Of My Cycle?
Secondary dysmenorrhea is a reason why you could be experiencing intense back pain outside of the beginning of your cycle. Essentially, secondary dysmenorrhea is a period-related pain caused by another reproductive condition aside from just menstruation.
Conditions such as endometriosis are accompanied with back pain, as the implantation of the endometrial tissue in the pelvis that happens in endometriosis can cause pelvic and back pain.
Adenomyosis, a condition where the endometrial tissue grows in the uterine muscles, often makes back pain worsen.
One way to think about it is any condition that causes chronic inflammation and pain to the pelvic area, is it’s most likely going to cause low back pain.
Whether it’s an underlying condition or an infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease, abscesses on the ovaries or even a just particularly heavy flow, the inflammation and pressure can contribute to back pain during and around your period. PCOS and uterine fibroids are also common culprits for some low back inflammation.
What Are Some Things I Can Do For Period Related Back Pain?
First of all, if the back pain you are experiencing is severe enough that it debilitates your normal and everyday movements, hinders you from going to work, or completing other daily tasks, and you aren’t aware of any underlying condition you may have, reach out to someone for help and support.
Whether that is reaching out to someone you know who also experiences bad period related back pain, finding a trusted gynecological period pain specialist, or even just a visit to the ob-gyn; debilitating period pain or back pain is not normal and should be addressed.
If you experience primary dysmenorrhea, and just want to ease the pain in your PMS period and the first few days of menstruation, here are some of our recommendations:
Hot baths and heating pads on your back relax the muscles, and can be really simple (and cozy!) way to ease back pain. The somedays Flax Heat Pad, with a chamomile infused option, is a great way to ease some pain.
custom flaxseed heat
Ethically made in-house, this heat pad holds heat 3X longer than a rice pack. Shaped and weighted to fit comfortably over your pelvis while delivering a heavenly aroma of warm flaxseed and chamomile. note: all covers come blank as default… read more
2. Use the right menstrual products for you
Depending on your flow, the kind of period products you choose can impact your pain. For example, using tampons too large for your flow can create too much physical expansion, adding pressure to your pelvis and back. Experiment with different kinds of products, such as pads, menstrual cups, tampons, or free-bleeding and notice any changes.
3. Increase circulation
For some this could mean a run, or some light yoga and stretching. For others, this could look like relying on products that increase bodily circulation, such as somedays Magic Mud, in which the combo of magnetic bentonite clay and ginger root increases bodily circulation, bringing blood and oxygen to the inflamed area, reducing pain significantly.
A concentrated, invigorating bath blend of ginger root and magnetic clay to ease pain and promote deep muscle relaxation. Mix it into a paste for a direct and intense effect or simply add to a warm bath for overall relief. Bundle and save with… read more
Regardless of your severity and intensity of period related back pain, you deserve to take the time to feel relief, whether that’s a 2 hour bath, or a heat pad squished between your back and the chair at work. Because you and your body are always worth it.