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Back pain before period – Causes, Treatment

Updated on August 19, 2014

In most women, menstruation can occur along with a host of adverse symptoms such as bloating, pain in the abdomen, headache, etc. Some women may also experience back pain before period. Such pain may be mild or it can be very distressing. Back pain before period is usually concentrated along the mid-section of the lower back. Such pain is not a serious issue; it typically continues for a few days into the menstrual cycle and then subsides. However, if the back pain affects the daily life and causes debilitating symptoms, then affected women need to seek medical attention.

Causes of back pain before period

Back pain before and during menstruation often affects just the muscles and is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. The muscles in the lower back are mainly affected by prostaglandin hormones which get released during periods to facilitate the contraction of uterus and allow it to get rid of the uterine lining.

Elevated levels of prostaglandins can result in painful or dysmenorrheal menstruation. Intense contractions can result in pain in lower back because of the migration of pain in abdomen to the lower back.

Some of the common causes of back pain before period along with the associated symptoms are listed below:

  • Painful menstruation
    • Some women may elicit painful menstruation without any known cause. It is a normal aspect of their monthly cycle. Such pain affects a lot of women, and is often the main cause of girls skipping school days or women taking time off from work. When the pain is mild, it is considered as normal. However, the occurrence of chronic or severe pain is anomalous and requires medical attention.
    • Perennially or excessively painful periods are referred to as dysmenorrhea, which can be further classified into 2 types, i.e., primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. The former occurs when a period initially commences, while the later occurs after a period has been regular. Secondary dysmenorrhea is usually associated with endometriosis, fibroids, sexually transmitted diseases, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome, back pain before period, and stress.

    • PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome
      • PMS or premenstrual syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that arise before the commencement of a menstrual cycle. Nearly 75% of women experience PMS symptoms during their lifetime. The intensity and level of the symptoms tend to vary from one woman to another, but typically peak around the thirties.
      • Besides back pain before period, premenstrual syndrome can cause a variety of symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, crying bouts, poor concentration, insomnia, fatigue, headache, bloating, weight gain, lower back and abdominal cramping, and breast tenderness. Doctors are not aware of the exact cause of PMS. However, it can be triggered by bad eating habits, stress, depression, and neurological changes.

      • Endometriosis
        • Endometriosis is a disorder of the reproductive system characterized by the growth of the endometrial tissue outside the uterus. It occurs after the passage of endometrial cells into the body and their subsequent abnormal attachment to different regions like the uterus, bladder, bowels, ovaries, or abdomen. It will then develop tissue in those regions. The cause of such anomalous behavior is not known. It is however believed that during periods, blood with endometrial cells tend to tailback into the fallopian tubes, which can later spill into different parts of the body.
        • During menstruation the endometrial tissue experiences swelling and bleeding, like it does inside the uterus. Such bleeding of thisexternally attached tissue can cause the surrounding areas to become irritated leading to inflammation and pain. Endometriosis can result in varied symptoms such as pain in the pelvis or lower back, painful menstrual cycles, pelvic cramping, lower abdominal pain, pain during or after intercourse, and back pain before period.

Treatment of back pain before period

Mild cases of back pain before period can be alleviated as well as prevented by following the below listed self-care measures:

  • Consume healthy balanced meals along with magnesium and vitamin B nutritional supplements.
  • Regularly exercise. Different studies have indicated a direct relationship between regular exercising and decrease in back pain before period as well as less painful menstrual cramps.
  • Avoid or limit intake of alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Take warm baths or use hot compresses.
  • Some women can take oral contraceptives to alleviate back pain before period.
  • Intake of OTC anti-inflammatories or acetaminophen, a few days before period is also helpful for some women.

Severe or persistent cases of back pain before period which continues during menstruation have to be checked by a doctor. It is possible for such pain to be caused by serious underlying conditions.

  • STDs are treated with antibiotics and other medications.
  • Antidepressants and pain killers may be prescribed for dealing with stress and excessive pain.
  • Uterine fibroids or severe endometriosis may require surgical intervention, if usual treatment options do not yield results.
  • Doctors may perform a hysterectomy in very rare and severe cases of back pain before period which does not get resolved even after extensive treatment.


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