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 your menstrual cycle, it’s important to understand why it happens and how to cope with and manage the pain.
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.
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.