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Can Periods Cause Lower Back Pain

How Long Period Pain Lasts

Why Do I Get Back Pain during My Period?

Period pain usually starts when your bleeding begins, although some women have pain several days before the start of their period.

The pain usually lasts 48 to 72 hours, although it can last longer. It’s usually at its worst when your bleeding is heaviest.

Young girls often have period pain when they begin getting periods. Read more about starting periods.

Period pain that does not have an underlying cause tends to improve as a woman gets older. Many women also notice an improvement after they’ve had children.

Causes Of Pelvic Pain And Lower Back Pain

There are many causes of pelvic pain and lower back pain in women, some of which are

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are often accompanied by pelvic pain, painful urination, vaginal discharge, and bleeding in between periods.

This infection is very common, most especially in people who are sexually active.

Sometimes it may be the woman who has the infection, and other times it may be the man that infects the woman.

Treatment may include antibiotics, injections, and abstinence from sexual activity while receiving treatment.

To prevent spread, it is critical to inform sexual partners to get tested and begin necessary treatment.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

This is a deadly infection that can damage the surrounding tissues of the womb, which is more likely to increase a womans risk of infertility.

It arises because of complications from sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia when harmful vaginal bacteria travels down to the cervix and womb and then multiply.

Symptoms include abnormal discharge and bleeding. Physicians usually recommend early treatment to avoid scarring and complications.

Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain is one of the most prevalent symptoms of PMS in women. Most women experience pain during the first 1-3 days of each menstrual cycle.

Pain may start as a slight cramping sensation, similar to a muscle spasm that occurs just before period days.

Ovulation

Urinary Tract Infection

Musculoskeletal Conditions That Can Cause Sudden Pain In Lower Back

The commonest cause of sudden lower back pain is injury or damage to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back and other joint related conditions. These include

  • Injury to bones, joints, spinal vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, soft tissues and blood vessels in the lower back region. Sport injuries, falls, direct blows, accidents, etc. can cause damage to these structures leading to sudden lower back pain.
  • Protrusion or herniation of intervertebral disc, annular tears and bulging of discs. These discs are protective cushions in between the spinal vertebrae, which if protrude from these original position, cause severe and sudden pain in lower back. This commonly occurs when the person is bending or lifting heavy objects or may occur with gradual wear and tear.
  • Tensed muscles in the lower back can cause sudden sharp pain with a feeling of weakness in the muscles and inability to move or lift objects.
  • Joint conditions and aging related problems like lumbar spondylosis, various types of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis affecting lower back.

Being overweight and an inactive lifestyle can contribute to lower back pain. Poor posture, sitting for long hours, awkward movements, excessive use of lower back muscles causing overuse injuries or inappropriate ways of lifting weights, etc.

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Lower Back Hurts When Walking Or Standing

Your lower back provides support and stability to your body when youre in an upright position. Each vertebra is separated by a jelly-filled disc that serves as a cushion. These discs can become inflamed when standing for long periods of time. They can also experience wear and tear with age. Standing or walking for extended periods of time may aggravate this inflammation, resulting in pain.

Vaginal Atrophy And Urinary Problems

Lower Back Pain During Your Period: Causes, Diagnosis, and ...

Low levels of oestrogen in the perimenopause and menopause can cause the walls of your vagina to become thinner, drier, itchy and sore . This is known as vaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis. It can also mean your vagina expands less easily, which can make sex uncomfortable or painful.

Low oestrogen levels can also make the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries pee out of your body thinner. This can lead to you needing to pee more often and a higher chance of urinary tract infections , which can cause pelvic pain and discomfort, as well as burning or stinging when peeing.

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How Common Is Period Pain

The medical term for period pain is dysmenorrhoea and it’s a condition that many women are familiar with.

The research on just how many women have painful periods varies but, in a 2012 study from Italy, 84% of young women experienced period pain.

In an Australian study of female high school students, it affected 93%.

Your Health Questions Answered

  • Answered by: Dr Roger HendersonAnswered: 25/10/2021

    Endometriosis can cause pain in the fallopian tubes at any age, including after the menopause. However, its more common before and up to the menopause, and often settles down postmenopause. If you have abdominal discomfort after the menopause, see your doctor.

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Period Pain Caused By Contraceptive Devices

An intrauterine device is a type of contraception made from copper and plastic that fits inside the womb. It can also sometimes cause period pain, particularly during the first few months after it’s inserted.

You may notice a change in your normal pattern of pain if your period pain is linked to a medical condition or a contraceptive IUD. For example, the pain may be more severe or it may last much longer than normal.

You may also have:

See a GP if you have any of these symptoms as well as period pain.

What Can Cause A Sudden Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain is commonly experienced by many people. Sudden lower back pain can be an acute condition, which begins suddenly and may last for varying time periods. Sudden lower back pain is often a result of sudden damage to the joints and supporting structures of the back or may sometimes be related to inner organs. It is important to understand what can cause a sudden pain in lower back to be able to manage it appropriately.

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You Have Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten causes serious damage to the small intestine.

Many health care practitioners dont realize that the symptoms of celiac disease can vary, so many people go undiagnosed. In fact, less than half of people with celiac disease have the classic symptoms of GI pain and diarrhea.

Skin rashes, neurological symptoms, fatigue, painful sex and menstrual pain can all be clues that you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Remember, anything that causes inflammation in the gut will cause inflammation in the rest of your body!

What Causes Severe Lower Back Pain Before Period

While its true you may have a mild back pain before period some women may continue to get a severe low back pain before and during periods.

Usually, this occurs in women with endometriosis, when the uterine endometrial tissues are displaced to other parts of the body. Other signs of endometriosis are cramps between periods, difficulty in conceiving, heavy vaginal bleeding during menstruation, lower abdominal pain during sexually active and pain after intercourse.

Another reason you will get severe back pain before period is perimenopause, which occurs in women more than the age of 40.

During this period, you may also get irregular periods, hot flashes, dry vagina and pain during intercourse.

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Other Potential Causes Of Lower Back Pain When Walking

Lower back pain when walking is not limited to these causes. Here are some other potential causes of lower back pain when walking:

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome

The compression of nerve roots, commonly resulting from a herniated disc in the lumbar area.15

  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Can be caused by the drying out of a disc, daily physical activity and sports, or injury.16

  • Compression Fractures

When part of a bone in the spine, a.k.a. a vertebrae, collapses.17See Your Doctor for Lower Back Pain When Walking

You dont want to gamble with your back health. Call your doctor to advise you on any type of treatment. Heres what your doctor might recommend:

  • NSAIDs
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture

While youll always want to call your doctor for advice, especially if your pain is severe, there are also several things you can do at home that might help you manage lower back pain.

  • Change up your exercise routine
  • Apply heating pads and ice packs
  • Buy a more supportive mattress
  • Pay attention to your posture
  • Lose weight
  • Focus on relaxing and natural stress relief18

Could Stress Be The Cause

Menstrual Cramps

If you are not pregnant, it could be worth considering stress and how it can disrupt your menstrual cycle. Stress has a powerful effect on the body that is often underappreciated and poorly understood. When we consider stress in relation to the menstrual cycle, there is a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario to contend with: the menstrual cycle itself can cause increased stress, but can also be disrupted by it.

Hormones released by the ovaries can affect how we react to stressful life events. A good example is the surge of estradiol that occurs just before ovulation. Increased levels have been found to make you feel substantially less distressed following a stressful task.1

However, this also works the other way around as stress can not only delay periods, but in some cases can stop periods happening altogether. A small part of the brain called the hypothalamus acts as a link between our brains and hormones. Attached to this is a gland called the pituitary, which is essentially the regulation centre for all hormones in the body, including those that control stress, reproduction, and metabolism. It is this interaction between the brain and hormone systems that can lead to disruption of periods.

But why does this happen? We dont know for certain, but can theorise that it could simply be a part of a womans survival instinct if a woman is stressed her body identifies that it is probably not the best time to conceive.

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Severe Bleeding And Pain Could Be Fibroids

Fibroids are benign growths in the uterus or on the wall of the uterus. Many fibroids are asymptomatic, but if they grow too large, they can cause a number of concerning symptoms.

Fibroids can cause the following unpleasant symptoms:

  • Excessive bleeding each month during the menstrual cycle
  • Passing of large clots
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

Back Conditions And Injuries

For some people with back problems, symptoms get worse before or during their periods. This may be because the prostaglandins that accumulate in the uterus release inflammatory chemicals that can make back pain worse.

Though treatment depends on the persons overall health and the specific back condition, some people find that exercise or physical therapy help. People with more serious conditions, such as severely herniated disks, may need surgery.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help ease the pain by reducing the inflammation that prostaglandins cause. This makes NSAIDs an ideal treatment for period cramps. A common example of a NSAID is ibuprofen .

The following may also help:

  • applying warmth to the painful area, with a heating pad or hot water bottle, for example
  • doing stretches or exercising
  • practicing relaxation and mindfulness techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing
  • taking certain supplements, such as those that contain magnesium, vitamin B-1 , or both
  • trying alternative treatments, such as acupuncture
  • having a massage

If these techniques do not relieve the pain, and especially if the pain is severe, contact a doctor. They may prescribe stronger pain medication.

Hormonal birth control pills may also help reduce the intensity of period cramps and ease some symptoms of endometriosis.

A doctor will want to identify the cause of the pain. When dysmenorrhea is secondary, treating the underlying condition can reduce or even eliminate the pain.

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Treating Lower Back Pain: How Much Bed Rest Is Too Much

Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit a health care provider. The good news is that the pain often goes away on its own, and people usually recover in a week or two. Many people want to stay in bed when their back hurts. For many years, getting bed rest was the normal advice. But current studies recommend no bed rest at all and stress that staying in bed longer than 48 hours not only wont help but it may, in fact, actually delay your recovery. Heres why:

Staying in bed wont help you get better faster.If youre in terrible pain, lying down for a day to help ease the distress may seem like a good idea, but moderating your activities and staying active in a limited way is a more effective way to control your symptoms. Research suggests that if you can find comfortable positions and keep moving, you may not need bed rest at all.Research shows that:

  • Lying down longer than a day or two day isnt helpful for relieving back pain.
  • People can recover more quickly without any bed rest.
  • The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.

Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.

When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:

  • Heat or ice
  • Ultrasound
  • Manipulation

Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Causes Of Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

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Some of the causes of secondary dysmenorrhoea include:

  • endometriosis the cells lining the uterus can move to other areas of the pelvis, but behave differently, causing severe pain during periods
  • fibroids benign tumours made of muscle and tissue can grow inside the uterus and are thought to be affected by the sex hormones. In the majority of women, fibroids are asymptomatic
  • adenomyosis the presence of endometrial cells growing in the muscle layers of the uterus. Adenomyosis is difficult to treat.

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What Causes Menstrual Pain

Pain during menstruation is thought to be caused by prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Together, these compounds are known as eicosanoids.

Prostaglandinsare a group of hormone-like fats that are made by our cells at sites of tissue damage or infection in the body. Their job is to direct the healing process by coordinating blood vessel constriction and blood clotting. In this process, prostaglandins cause the pain, fever, redness and swelling that we experience with illness and injury.

Prostaglandins also play a role in the female reproductive system by controlling ovulation, initiating labor and regulating menstrual flow. In other words, prostaglandins cause the uterus to contract.

Two specific prostaglandins have been linked to menstrual pain: PGE2 and PGF2-alpha.

Now, normally, prostaglandins are very short-lived. Once their job is done, the body breaks them down quickly.

But problems arise when inflammatory prostaglandins are produced in excess. Certain dietary andlifestyle factors will cause persistent tissue damage and load us with omega-6 fats, resulting in round the clock production of inflammatory prostaglandins.

Below is an illustration of the process. As you can see, anything that promotes high levels of arachidonic acid, the precursor to prostaglandins, can lead to pain and inflammation.

Similar to prostaglandins,leukotrienes are inflammatory molecules that are released by our white blood cells.

Why Do We Get Back Pain During Periods

Now that you already know how to reduce back pain during periods, you must also know the factors that might be responsible for this condition, and some of the most common ones Are :

1. Your body is dehydrated- During menstruation we lose a lot of fluid content from our body and make us feel thirsty and sometimes weak. This may give rise to some muscle cramps. Additionally, kidneys are located in the lower back portion and may trigger pain due to dehydration and that pain might be confused with pain in the muscles of your back. So while you are on your period, you must make sure to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration. However, if you still experience severe conditions with heavy blood flow, you may consult with your doctor.

2. Your spine is under pressure- Most people are unaware of their internal organs & position so you might not be aware that your uterus generally sits near the spine. While you go through your menstruation, your uterus becomes engorged and pushes itself against the dense network of nerves surrounding your spine. Now, this may result in back pain, neck pain and even headaches. To alleviate the condition, you must make sure that you do not hurt your spine during this time and try sitting or sleeping straight. The stretched-out body will help to relieve the pressure on your spine.

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How Is Dysmenorrhea Diagnosed

To diagnose dysmenorrhea, your health care provider will evaluate your medical history and do a complete physical and pelvic exam. Other tests may include:

  • Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

  • Laparoscopy. This minor procedure uses a laparoscope. This is a thin tube with a lens and a light. It is inserted into an incision in the abdominal wall. Using the laparoscope to see into the pelvic and abdomen area, the doctor can often detect abnormal growths.

  • Hysteroscopy. This is the visual exam of the canal of the cervix and the inside of the uterus. It uses a viewing instrument inserted through the vagina.

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