Women are familiar with abdominal cramps, Pre Menstrual Syndrome, and headaches that accompany their menstrual cycle. However not as many are aware of backache to throbbing back pain sometimes before and/or after a monthly cycle. Many women go to over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen. In a study, the regular use of NSAIDs found that it can lead to:
- Stomach problems
- Bleeding ulcers
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
Why Back Pain Presents During Menstrual Cycle
When the uterus is in a contracting state, the nerves around the pelvis feel the sensations. The uterus only contracts for a few seconds, but repeatedly for hours. Sometimes, the uterus compresses blood vessels in the region. This can limit or completely block the blood vessels supplying the muscles around the pelvis. This is a major contributor to back pain during a period. This is known as referred pain, which means the body feels the pain in one area, in this case, the lower back. But the pain is caused by another area of the body, the uterus. This can cause cramping and low back pain before, during, and after a period. If cramps and back pain become debilitating or worsen over time, it could indicate:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- If fever is present along with back pain seek professional help as soon as possible.
Here are a few ways that can help bring relief from back pain during the monthly cycle.
Heat generates increased blood circulation, specifically where it is applied. Therefore any blood vessels that are blocked by the uterus will have improved circulation to the muscles surrounding the uterus, allowing them to relax. This could be the use of:
- Heating pads
- Hot water bottle
- Warm bath or shower
If at work, many pharmacy stores and regular stores sell heat patches that are applied with adhesive tape. These can be used on the lower abdomen or lower back, providing soothing heat.
Most doctors refer to exercise throughout the month, just not during the period. As staying in shape will maintain the body’s proper circulation and keep the muscles strong. However, some women can perform light exercises like yoga or swimming. This helps decrease back pain even on the first or second day of a menstrual cycle which for many women is the heaviest and most painful.
Meditation can help gain control and insight from feelings about life situations. It takes practice, but once an individual gets the hang of it they are amazed at how much pain can be reduced with a 15-minute meditation session.
Taking omega 3’s and magnesium supplements can help with the pain. Omega 3s reduce blood clotting and improve circulation. They are natural anti-inflammatories that decrease prostaglandin, which is associated with backaches and cramps. Magnesium supplements, especially those that contain vitamin B6, can help relieve back pain before and after a period. Magnesium can also be found in:
The uterus, like every organ in the body, sends and receives nerve signals, from the brain to the uterus. The menstrual cycle has a close relationship with the spine because of its location. Regular chiropractic adjustments can maintain proper communication between the brain and uterus. Chiropractic realigns the entire spine back to its proper position. This relieves the pressure on the nerves of the reproductive organs. Seeing a chiropractor is the right step towards stopping the pain and healing the body naturally.
Weight and Strength Training For Women
Key points to remember include:
- Women can gain as much muscle as men
- Protein helps with body composition but there should be a balance of carbohydrates and dietary fat.
- Positive body composition changes can be seen with higher load volume and less explosive tempo that is combined with shorter rest periods when weight or strength training.
- When lifting weights or resistance training, it could be difficult to gain muscle mass if on birth control, near the perimenopausal stage, or officially on menopause.
One of the benefits of weight and strength training is that it can help an individual feel better about themselves. Weight training is associated with significant improvements in:
- Body image
- Quality of life
- Physical activity behaviors
- Overall satisfaction
- Well being
The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG*
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico
Brynhildsen, J O et al. “Does the menstrual cycle and use of oral contraceptives influence the risk of low back pain? A prospective study among female soccer players.” Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports vol. 7,6 (1997): 348-53. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.1997.tb00165.x
Forozeshfard, Mohammad et al. “Short term effects of Kinesio taping on pain and functional disability in young females with menstrual low back pain: A randomized control trial study.” Journal of back and musculoskeletal rehabilitation vol. 29,4 (2016): 709-715. doi:10.3233/BMR-160673
Seguin, Rebecca A et al. “Strength Training Improves Body Image and Physical Activity Behaviors Among Midlife and Older Rural Women.” Journal of extension vol. 51,4 (2013): 4FEA2.