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What To Do About Cramping & Lower Back Pain?

For women of child-bearing age the combination of menstrual cramps and lower back pain is no surprise. Most women chalk it up to a typical part of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and simply find a way to cope with it until the pain dissipates. Although lower back pain can be accompanied by a woman’s menstrual cycle, not all women will suffer cramps and lower back pain. In fact if you have had your period for a few years and have not yet experienced lower back pain, chances are good you won’t.

Menstrual back pain, like menstrual cramping, depends on the woman. The same way that some women experience extreme and debilitating cramps, some will also experience that same level of lower back pain while some will have cramps and no back pain at all. The pain may be mild, bearable or out of control but there is no way to predict how each woman’s body will react. Interestingly enough, many women experience no lower back pain related to menstrual cramping once they have given birth.

How Long Will The Pain Last?

Menstrual cramping often begins before the onset of the cycle and continues several days afterward. Although every woman is different, back pain associated with cramping usually lasts no more than three days.

If however, you experience acute back pain during your menstrual cycle due to other reproductive disorders, cramping and related back pain may persist throughout the menstrual cycle. 

Symptoms

Although menstrual cramping and lower back often go hand in hand, there are more specific symptoms. For many women these symptoms present themselves before cramping or back pain starts, alerting them that those symptoms are imminent.

Many women experience severe abdominal pain, dull aches in the abdominal region, pressure on the abdomen and radiating pain from the lower back all the way down to the thighs. These symptoms generally occur as a precursor to the cramps and following back pain.

Some women have reported experiencing nausea or upset stomach before the onset of cramps and the related back pain, while others have reported experiencing loose stools. Take note of these symptoms so you can begin treating the back pain right away.

Why Menstrual Cramps Cause Back Pain

Menstrual cramps are most often caused due to a contraction of the uterine muscles, which occurs throughout a woman’s period. Unfortunately during the premenstrual period and the early days of the cycle, the uterus contracts stronger than what is typical, causing cramping. When the uterine muscles contract, too much pressure is put on the blood vessels and that deprives the uterus of oxygen.

The strength of the contractions often dictate just how strong the cramps are, and therefore how much back pain one must suffer.

Because the uterus and the back are in such close proximity to one another, that pain and your reaction to the pain of menstrual cramps can cause tension in the lower back. Prolonged periods of tension and tight muscles can put a strain on lower back muscles.

Treatment

As painful as menstrual cramps and related back pain can be, the treatment is quite simple. With over the counter medications to treat pain you can lessen the discomfort you feel due to the cramps as well as the back pain. In fact there are many over the counter medications that treat symptoms related to a woman’s period including cramps and back pain. These medications attack the symptoms to relieve pain and muscle cramping, but often they contain a sleep agent as rest is an important part of the treatment process.

Other common treatments for menstrual cramps include the application of heat using heating pads or hot water bottles. Stretching has also proven effective for treating lower back pain as well as menstrual cramps.

Cramping & Lower Back Pain In Pregnancy

Although it is unlikely for pregnant women to have periods, it is quite common for them to experience cramping and related lower back pain. Often cramping and back pain is a sign that labor is not far off, as uterine contractions are a common source of labor pain. If you’re pregnant and experiencing these symptoms get to the hospital and contact your ob/gyn right away. 

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