A Gal's Guide to Treating Back Pain & Other Common Period Symptoms
A woman’s menstrual period is a normal part of life, but it does come with a host of inconvenient and uncomfortable symptoms. Among the most common discomforts of a period are abdominal cramps, bloating, and lower back ache. Thankfully, the typical period issues can be treated with easy-to-use, at-home therapies.
Do-it-yourself remedies help to soothe a variety of inconveniences, while women of all ages can benefit from now-available technology such as laser light therapy belts for backaches. Learn more below about what to expect and how you can care for yourself. By the time you have your next period, you will have a reliable and useful plan for relieving your symptoms.
Reasons for Period-Related Lower Back Pain
While some women may not have much back discomfort during their period, many others experience severe lower back pain during the different stages of their menstrual cycle. There are a few common reasons for these symptoms. They include:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): The symptoms of PMS occur between the time you ovulate and the time you get your period. If you suspect you have PMS, pay attention to see if you get lower back pain in the 1-2 weeks before your menstruation begins. Some discomfort may be caused by hormonal changes, while tension and stiffness could also be a result of period-related inflammation.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): While it has many things in common with PMS, a condition like premenstrual dysphoric disorder requires a doctor’s diagnosis. PMDD is characterized by severe PMS symptoms such as mood swings and depression. Along with discomfort and tension in your lower back, you may also experience pelvic pressure. Talk to your doctor if you experience these issues, along with gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, or fainting.
- Dysmenorrhea: Back pain may also be the result of a condition called dysmenorrhea, which is characterized by severe period cramps, gastrointestinal problems, and pain in the lumbar area. The discomfort may feel like a stabbing or piercing pain, or muscle spasms. While the sensations can be difficult to deal with, they are usually not medically serious or life-threatening. Talk to your doctor if they interfere with your daily life.
- Endometriosis: Lower back pain during your period may be a sign of a potentially serious disorder in women known as endometriosis. Since its symptoms can affect your overall health, it is important to understand them. Make an appointment with your primary care physician or gynecologist if you have back pain before or during your period, along with heavy menstruation. If you have endometriosis, you may also have chronic pelvic pain and back pain that continues after your period stops.
Other Causes of Period-Related Back Pain
If you do not have any of the conditions above, you may have another reason for your period-related back pain. Once you rule out the most common issues for your symptoms, you can move on to the lesser known causes. Some alternative reasons for lumbar discomfort during your menstrual cycle may include:
- Referred pain: When you feel pain in a part of the body other than its actual source, you are experiencing what is known as “referred pain.” It can happen in different places, including your back and abdominal areas. When your period is about to begin, your uterus contracts to help shed uterine lining. Some women may notice aching in their lumbar region or even notice period-related leg pain and discomfort in the upper thighs.
- Missed period: Some symptoms that occur before your period starts could actually be a sign of pregnancy. While lower back pain in late pregnancy is most common, it is also possible to develop back pain symptoms in early pregnancy. If your period is late and your lower back hurts, watch for other signs of being pregnant such as mood swings, fatigue, or constipation. You could also have nausea or headaches. Take a pregnancy test or visit your doctor if you are unsure about your status. Some back treatments are inappropriate for pregnant women, so it is essential to know if you are expecting before beginning a new therapy.
- Menopause: It is common to experience back pain associated with menopause. Both menopausal and pre-menopausal women have reported discomfort and spasms in their lower back. Relaxing your lumbar muscles can help you to de-stress your mind and body.
- Unrelated cause: It is true that women may also experience back pain during their period that is due to an unrelated cause or another health condition. Some possible reasons may include weight gain, muscle weakness, and spinal conditions in women like piriformis syndrome or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Talk to your doctor if you have questions. If your symptoms are uncomfortable but not affecting your daily lifestyle, you can try an at-home treatment or therapy to ease your discomfort and help you relax.
Treating Your Lower Back Pain
There are different ways to care for period-related back pain. The treatments you choose will depend on what kind of symptoms you are having. You should also consider potential medication interactions, side effects, and your lifestyle preferences. Some of the most popular treatments for lower back pain among women include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers: Some primary care physicians and gynecologists recommend nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. These medicines may interact with prescriptions or other OTC drugs, so talk to a physician if you have questions about any medication interactions. Once you find the safest drug for your needs, take them as directed until your back pain and abdominal comfort subsides. Do not use them for more than a few days at a time. This could be a sign of a more serious health problem, so tell your doctor if you are not finding relief.
- Birth control: It is possible to treat symptoms like back pain and cramps with hormonal birth control. You will need a prescription from your gynecologist or primary care physician, so make an appointment if you are interested in this option. Before you receive a script, you will discuss your current method of birth control and any other medicines you are taking.
- Heat therapy: Heat can help to relax muscles in the pelvic area, as well as the lower back. Use a heating pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a cloth. Apply the heat for 10-20 minutes at a time, then take a break. The pauses in your treatment will ensure you are responding well to the therapy and that you are not burning your skin. You can repeat this activity several times per day.
- Alternative treatments: Some other possible solutions include topical pain relief creams and short-term bed rest. Acupuncture and TENS devices are also used to care for period-related pain and tension. Research each option to find what is best for you.
- Laser therapy: If you are interested in a treatment that does not require the use of medication, consider laser therapy. One of the most popular ways to take advantage of this technology for back pain is known as photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), formerly often referred to as low-level laser therapy. Medical-grade laser diodes safely penetrate the skin to modulate pain, aching, inflammation, and swelling in the lower back, with no known side effects. Wear your device for just 30 minutes per day to receive benefits.
When to Talk to a Doctor
Now you know more about your options for relieving your period-related back pain. While it is convenient to care for your symptoms at home, you should know when to make an appointment with a doctor. Talk to your primary care physician or a gynecologist if:
- Pain does not go away: When lower back pain lingers beyond your normal menstrual cycle, it may not be related to your period. Keep a journal of when you experience symptoms, as well as how severe they feel. You should also note if you are having any other sensations, such as fatigue or nausea. Review your symptom diary with your doctor. This can help your care team make a faster and more accurate diagnosis.
- Pain or weakness occurs in the legs: A little discomfort in your upper legs or thighs are normal, but do not ignore severe pain or recurring weakness in your limbs. These unsettling symptoms can be a sign of a spinal problem such as lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Unfortunately, it could also be a serious health condition known as cauda equina syndrome (CES). Patients with this syndrome are often admitted to the hospital, since CES can lead to incontinence and long-term paralysis.
- Pain gets worse: Pain and cramping that get worse over time could be another sign of endometriosis. It is also possible that you have uterine fibroids, a uterine infection, or inflammatory disease. A physical exam can help your doctor determine why your pain is increasing.
It is also essential to have a conversation with a primary care provider or specialist if your at-home remedies are not working. Talking with a professional about your experiences can help you determine if you have considered the right therapies and treatments for your symptoms.. Every woman has some period discomfort, but that does not mean you have to suffer for weeks on end. A commitment to your health and self-care will have you feeling better, whether you are having symptoms during your period or as a result of PMS.
Using Laser Therapy for Your Period Symptoms
More women than ever are choosing treatments for back pain that do not require the use of prescription drugs, addicting opiates, or invasive procedures. They also want therapies that do not have any known side effects. If this sounds like you, laser therapy provided by photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) is an excellent choice.
Start by getting to know our Curavi™ laser light therapy belts. Each device is non-pharmaceutical and uses only pure laser light, with no LEDs. Not only is the treatment safe, it’s also comfortable and convenient. Wear the soft yet durable belt of your choice for only 30-minutes per day. While you can rest and relax while wearing it, you will also be delighted to know that you do not have to worry about turning it off. Every laser therapy belt comes with an auto-timed shutoff feature to ensure you get the exact amount of therapy you need.
Find the device that is ideal for your symptoms and lifestyle:
- CuraviUltra™: Both economical and convenient, the CuraviUltra belt provides great coverage, with up to 420 mW total output of pure laser light. Breathable Laserflex™ technology adjusts to your unique body shape.
- CuraviPlus™: The excellent coverage of this device offers up to 800 mW of total laser output. This makes the CuraviPlus not only powerful but also affordable. An included universal AC adapter makes it great for travel. A portable, lightweight case lets you take your laser therapy belt anywhere in the world.
- CuraviPro™: As a premier device, the CuraviPro offers professional-grade coverage. With this innovative laser light therapy belt, you will receive up to 1000 mW of healing laser light. Every Curavi laser therapy belt also comes with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery, providing hands-free mobility and an easy-to-attach system that allows you to move about freely during your treatment sessions.
Now that you have more information about Curavi’s laser therapy belts, you may want to browse the individual product pages to find the right one for your needs. Once you pick your laser therapy belt, you will be on your way to reduced lower back pain and inflammation. The relief you experience in your lower back can help you feel better throughout your menstrual cycle and any time you have back pain.