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Periods ain’t fun for your back? You are not alone.

How common is it to experience back pain during your period?


According to a study within the age group 18-25, 84% of young females experienced pain during their periods (dysmenorrhoea), 16% of which also experienced lower back pain (1).


Common symptoms of dysmenorrhea include:


· Cramping/pain in the lower abdomen

· Low back pain

· Pain radiating down the legs

· Nausea

· Bloating

· Diarrhoea

· Fatigue

· Weakness

· Headaches


Even though menstrual lower back pain can be distressing, it does not commonly involve a serious medical problem. However, in some cases underlying conditions such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids need to be ruled out by a GP or gynaecologist.


What causes low back pain during menstruation?


While premenstrual symptoms (moodiness, bloating, breast tenderness) commonly occur several days before your period, the low back pain usually begins on the first day of bleeding. Immediately before a period, the endometrial cells in the uterus manufacture many prostaglandins, chemicals which play a key role in uterine contractions and the shedding of the uterine lining. An excess of prostaglandins causes heavy contractions which radiate from the lower abdomen into the low back, causing back pain. As the uterine lining sheds during menstruation, the body releases fewer prostaglandins and the pain subsides.

From a Chinese medicine point of view, localized ‘cold’ and ‘stagnation’ are common causes of menstrual back pain.


What you can do to reduce your menstrual back pain?


· Hit the gym regularly! Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly may experience less menstrual pain and low back pain. (2)

· Apply a heat bag to your lower back and abdomen.

· Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol during that time of the month.


Talk to us to find out if acupuncture and remedial massage can assist you in the treatment of your back pain. Appointments for our Brisbane clinic can be made online or contact Ken for any enquiries.





References


Kural, M., Noor, N., Pandit, D. Joshi, T., & Patil, A. (2015). Menstrual characteristics and prevalence of dysmenorrhea in college going girls. Journal of Family Medicine & Primary Care, 4(3), 426–431. https://www.doi.org/10.4103/2249-4863.161345


Armour, M., Ee, C. C., Naidoo, D., Ayati, Z., Chalmers, K. J., Steel, K. A., … Delshad, E. (2019). Exercise for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://www.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd004142.pub4

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