Virginia Spine Institute

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Menstruation can consist of abdominal pain, bloating, and headaches for most women. In addition to the typical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, some women also suffer from low back pain. This low back pain can range from a subtle annoyance to debilitating pain during those days of the month. The pain experienced is typically located along the center portion of the low back. Back pain for most women will begin a few days prior to a menstrual cycle and usually subside after. The good news is that low back pain during menstruation is usually not serious and will subside for the most part.

If this type of pain interferes with activities of daily living during you menstrual cycle, it’s important to understand why it happens and how to cope with and manage the pain.

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 causes dysmenorrheal or painful menstruation.  Heavy contractions can lead to low back pain, as the pain can radiate from the lower abdomen into the low back.

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.

8 Tips to Reduce Painful Cramping and Low Back Pain:

  1. Some women benefit from starting over the counter acetaminophen or 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.
  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.

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, share your tips with us on how you cope with painful menses.


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  1. naomi says:

    i’m 14 and i experience severe lower back cramps during my cycle. for many women, symptoms are much worse during the adolescent years. when i have my period, the cramping and gas are so painful, that i cant think straight and many of my senses weaken, for example, my hearing weakens and my ears ring, i cant focus my eyes properly or it takes much more effort to focus them as normal, and my hands and fingers get pins and needles out of nowhere. it is extremely frustrating and painful. but somehow… i make it through the damn thing!
    here are some tips:
    1: listen to calm music with lyrics. lie down on your stomach with your head on a pillow and your butt in the air (yes you make look like an idiot, but it reeaaly does help with the gas) sing along to the song out loud, but still quietly. try to get your mind off of the pain as much as you can and if possible,FALL ASLEEP.
    2: when you have back cramps, DO NOT apply a heating pad to your back. the reason it doesn’t work as well is because the pain isn’t in your back muscles, its in your uterus as it swells and presses against the content of your back. put the heating pad on your stomach.
    3: don’t be afraid to sleep all day. when you’re asleep, you don’t feel ANYTHING. get yourself a couple hours of heaven.
    4: drink water, eat fruit.
    5: TREAT YOURSELF LIKE AN AMAZON WOMAN WARRIOR THAT JUST GOT BACK FROM BATTLE AND IS WOUNDED. pamper yourself with a “i can make it through anything” attitude.

    i hope this helped at least some people!

    • Mariah says:

      Thank you SO much. I’ll try all of ur tips. I’m 12 and I experience horrid menstrual back pain as well.
      Ur great! thanks :)

  2. Amara says:

    very well said! I’m glad that i found your site. Every monthly period i always have Dysmenorrhea causing the pain in the back. And thank you for sharing your site.

  3. Ada says:

    Usually take NSAIDS and they help a lot

    • Niomi says:

      I’m 15 and get really painful back pains that visit me before and during My period. Im so glad I found this website to help me understand and cope with it! thanks!

  4. mckenzie says:

    I suffer from back pain from the very 1st time I started, I’m now 24 and I’ve come to realise that exercise b4 my period starts helps A LOT. Junk food as tempting as it is, does NOT help. Water and fruit and a hot bath and SLEEP. Nurofen and an ice pack even crunching on ice helps me. I do have times when its painful to walk and move too much but a nice slow gentle walk helps as well. I really hope I helped

  5. Bklyn girl says:

    I have had issues with my menstrual cycle for a year since I received pain mngmt injections for my back. My period was absent for a while but has finally returned. I always suffer from my period , swelling, gas, cramps, legs and back pains etc. I am experiencing an odd painful feeling in my low back now and don’t know how to deal with it. I even took pain medication that doesn’t help even

  6. Aj says:

    very useful tips,I used to have severe periods that I became I only have to endure the pain that came with each periods.there are 2 easy ways to reduce those pains which I find very effective for me;
    1.heat a rock and cover it in cloth then put it on your stomach. ginger related foods;not only will it help keep you warm and reduce menstrual cramps,it will also help you lose some weights :)

  7. teal says:

    I found that a nice hot shower with the water directly on the pain makes me feel better. And painkillers. I sometimes feel like I’m weak cos I need to take the pain pills and women have been dealing with this for thousands of years. But my hubby also said that women have been using methods for pain relief from their periods for thousands of years too, so I sorta feel better about it.
    Different things work for different ppl , but really, warmth is awesome for the cramps.

  8. Dawn says:

    I beg to differ, I get ENORMOUS relief using a heating pad

  9. Sheryl says:

    Are you serious? No chocolate? Have you ever had a period?

  10. Shweta says:

    Thanks a ton Naomi…It feels so better after reading ur post and also feels so better to know m not the only one with this awful thing…

  11. Lily says:

    Vitamin B is really helpful for my low back pain. Magnesium works for my tense mind and abdominal pain. I take them once a day about one week ahead my period.

  12. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the post. I had been experiencing chronic lower back pain for almost five years already. The pain is so much that I can’t even walk. It also affects my respiration causing me to hyperventilate. I noticed that sometimes it comes just as my monthly period does. I’m 18 I started taking nutritional supplements (a separate tablet of vitamins with antioxidants and minerals) six months ago and noticed that my menstrual cramps and lumbar pain lessened and then disappeared. I have stopped taking my supplements and when my period came all the pain returned.

    As for me who doesn’t get to do much physical exercise I would definitely recommend taking quality nutritional supplements. It helps by providing the necessary nutrients and minerals needed to regulate normal body processes.

    Avoid the regular use of drugs for pain relief as much as possible because the body tends adapt to the drug and may cause you to rely on them. Further more these drugs put a heavy strain on the kidneys which may lead to complications like kidney failure.

  13. Danny says:

    The monthly struggle, I feel like: FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS THE STRUGGLE!!! My sister, 20, and I, 21, go through this almost every momth. And when we tell people we can’t go somewhere or do something during that torturous time they don’t seem to understand. Just because they get a little tingle take some ibuprofen and its fixed for them, they think I’m just over exaggerating! I’m talking about taking a combo of pain pills, sometimes over the recommend dosages and still those do nothing for me. Oh and to top it off name all the symptoms of menstruation and I have them all headsche, pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, loss of focus, shaky limbs, you name it, I probably got it. Yup pray for me, the struggle is real

  14. Bonita says:

    Rightly sd We are warriors of Mother Nature I will try you hot water treatment

  15. McKinna says:

    I’m now 14, I got my period when I was 11, I suffered horrible cramps so my mom put me on birth control. The cramps are still bad and my back always hurts a week before my period, and sometimes when I get off it. It’s so bad sometimes I end up crying. Right now I’m cramping and my back is killing me. I’m going to try the fruit and exercise things and see if they help any.

  16. Cori says:

    I’m 41 & never ever had a normal period!! However in past few yrs my periods have gotten much worse & in past yr I’ve developed debilitating back pain with my period. To the extent that I cannot walk sit or lay down without being in serious pain. With that said, I’m used to living in chronic pain as I have Fibromyalgia & issues with my spine but this monthly back pain is BEYOND anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. Is there anything I can do? Nothing seems to help ie: heat pad, ice, pain patches, stretching, pain rubs, massages etc plz help me

  17. Blessing says:

    I usually have pains in my abdomen and low back but with a warm bath and drink , I get d relieve I want.

  18. Chloe says:

    I have a prescription for painkillers that i take during my period. it doesn’t always get rid of cramps completely but it helps a hell of a lot. also taking medication as soon as you have your period is useful if you are going to take it as it can prevent some of the pain later on. I also find that any tea with rosehip as one of the first few ingredient helps. Rosehip tea is can be used in general for any muscle related pain and you don’t have to worry about taking too much like with painkillers. This is how i stay functioning during my period.

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