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Tips to Reduce Lower Back Pain During Menstruation

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.

Tips to Reduce Painful Cramping and Low Back Pain:
  • Some women benefit from starting over the counter acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, a couple days prior to menstruation.
  • Exercise regularly. Studies show that women who exercise on a regular basis have less painful menstrual cramps and low back pain.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and take nutritional supplements with vitamin B and magnesium
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Apply heat or take warm baths.
  • Avoid caffeine and chocolate.
  • Avoid alcohol intake and smoking.
  • 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.