While most women are familiar with the abdominal cramps, PMS, and headaches that go along with their monthly cycle, not nearly as many are aware that the painful back ache you suffer (sometimes before and/or after your monthly cycle)is not only a symptom of PMS, but that this problem can be almost entirely eliminated.
One study out of the UK found that 88 percent of women stated that frequently missed at least one day of work each moth due to the pain from their monthly cycle.
There is no denying that most women will go directly to over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, these can come with a heavy price. In one study, the regular use of NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen) found that it can often lead to stomach problems, including bleeding ulcers, fluid retention, high blood pressure, and kidney and heart problems.
While nearly all women understand that their cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus, not nearly as many know that, when your uterus is contracting, the nerves around the entire pelvic region can feel this. Sometimes, the uterus presses on blood vessels in the area, limiting or even cutting off completely, the blood vessels to the muscles in this area. This is one major reason why you have back pain during your period.
Of course, the uterus only contracts for a few seconds. Repeatedly. For hours on end. If you are nodding your head right now, then you understand the problem. This phenomenon is called “referred pain”, which means you are feeling the pain in one area (the lower back) but the pain is being caused by another area (the uterus). This can cause cramping and lower back pain after your period, during your period, even before your period.
Don’t be afraid to tell your gynecologist about this. They hear it every day, so it’s not as if you are telling them something new. If your cramps and back pain, however, are so debilitating or if they seem to have become much worse over a period of time, it could mean that you are suffering from fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection, or endometriosis.
There are several methods you can use to try to stop, or at the very least limit, back pain during your monthly cycle. What works well for one woman may not work for another, but try some of the following:
Tip #1- Apply Heat. This can mean heating pads, a hot water bottle, or warm baths or showers. Since heat brings increased circulation, any blood vessels that are being abused by your uterus should have improved blood flow, and muscles surrounding the uterus should relax. You can’t always pop into a hot bath at work, but many drug stores sell small heat patches with adhesive tape that holds the patch in place. These can be used on the lower abdomen or the lower back, providing you with heat for hours.
Tip #2-Try Exercise. Don’t frown at this one. Yes, you’ve probably heard this before and wondered how you were going to exercise when you can’t even stand up straight, but most doctors are referring to exercise throughout the month, not just when you are on your period. Some women find that doing very light exercise, such as yoga or swimming, helps to decrease back pain even if they are on their first or second day of their cycle ( which is for many women, the heaviest and most painful days)
Tip #3-Meditation. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Meditation is a type of control over your feelings about certain situations. You will note that you are on your period, but the pain isn’t part of the equation. It takes some practice, but you would be amazed how much you can reduce your pain with a simple 15- minute meditation session. One study found that, even after just 30 days, meditation greatly reduced the PMS symptoms compared to the control group.
Tip #4-Try Supplements. Try consuming omega 3 and magnesium supplements every day of the month. Omega 3s are known to reduce blood clotting and improving circulation. These are natural anti-inflammatories that also decrease prostaglandin production, which are related to back aches and cramps. Magnesium supplements, especially those with vitamin B6, can also ease back pain, both before and after your period. One study found that women who took 250 mgs of magnesium supplements, along with 40mgs of vitamin B6, had fewer symptoms, including back pain. If you prefer to eat your magnesium, choose more beans, beets, shrimp, and salmon.
Tip #5- Regular Chiropractic Care. Your uterus, like every organ in your body, must send and receive a proper supply of nerve signals, from the brain, to the uterus, and back again. Your monthly cycle as a very close relationship with the spine, due to its location. Regular chiropractic care can ensure that that is effective communication between the brain and your uterus (as well as all other organs). One study found that regular chiropractic care, for one woman who suffered from uterine adenomyosis, helped to ease her pain considerably over a four month time frame, while another study found that, in addition to a healthier diet, chiropractic care was effective for the management of cramps and low back pain.
If you are seeking help with PMS or back pain during your menstrual cycle, contact the experts here at Better Health Alaska. We have 4 clinics to serve you and can often set up an appointment the same day that you call. If you would rather make an appointment online, you can do that by clicking here.
At Better Health Alaska and Physical Rehab, we don’t want to see anyone living their life in pain. Take the first step on the road towards the pain free life that you deserve and call today for your appointment.
If you’re a woman and you’ve been experiencing heavy periods, consider making regular chiropractic care a habit– it can help those who suffer from menstrual problems. Reproductive organs depend on healthy nerve signals coming from a person’s lower spinal column. If there’s a blockage in there, somewhere, a woman can experience pain, cramps, and heavy bleeding. A chiropractor like Dr. Barker at New City Chiropractic can put the lower spine back into its proper alignment, relieving the pressure on the nerves going to a woman’s reproductive organs. This, in turn, helps take away menstrual pain and the often-associated lower back pain, too, during the “time of the month.” Regular chiropractic care has worked wonders for many women.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.