If stomach cramps, bloating, headaches, spots and general malaise aren’t enough to contend with during that time of the month, how does a side of back pain sound?
Many women report an annoying twinge in the centre of the lower back during their period, and for some, that can escalate to something pretty debilitating. Pain generally starts a few days prior to menstruation and, thankfully, eases up just after.
But why does it happen in the first place? You might have guessed already, but it’s thought (yep, they’re not 100 per cent sure) to be caused by hormone changes. The prostaglandins are the hormones that make your uterus contract and shed its lining, and as a side effect they can also cause pain to radiate into the lower back muscles. It’s what’s known as ‘referred pain’ because it’s felt in a part of the body other than the actual source.
If you suffer from endometriosis, it’s likely to be even worse. Some of the things you can do to relieve the discomfort are the usual suspects, so if you’re treating period pain, that should help with the back pain, too.
- Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, a couple days before your period starts.
- Exercise regularly. Exercises for the lower back will strengthen the back, stomach, and leg muscles that support your spine and relieve the pain.
- Use a heat pack or take a warm bath. Heat can ease up the tightness in the lower back and help stop those muscle spasms that cause the pain.
- Drink lots of water. Yes, the good old magic of H2O. Water keeps the spinal discs full of fluid so they can properly cushion the spine during movement.
- Chocolate may also help, but that’s purely anecdotal.
If your low back pain lingers past the end of your period, or you develop pain in your legs as well, see your doctor, as other factors may be at play.