Causes and treatment of lower back pain during period

lower back pain during period
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Overview

Experiencing lower back pain during menstruation is common for many women. While it’s typically not indicative of a serious medical issue, it can still be incredibly uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. Understanding the causes behind this discomfort is essential for effective management and relief. Studies have shown that approximately 84% of women report experiencing pain during their menstrual cycles—a condition known as dysmenorrhea. Among these individuals, about 16% also report experiencing lower back pain alongside their menstrual cramps. It’s important to note that while lower back pain is a prevalent symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it can also be indicative of underlying conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). By gaining insight into the mechanisms driving this pain and learning about effective management strategies, individuals can better navigate the challenges associated with lower back pain during their periods. 

Why do I get lower back pain during my period?

Experiencing lower back pain alongside menstrual discomfort can be both frustrating and concerning for many individuals. It is important to understand the underlying causes for effective management and relief. Let’s explore the factors contributing to lower back pain during menstruation and the treatment options:

  1. Primary Dysmenorrhea
  • Primary dysmenorrhea refers to period-related pain not resulting from a specific medical condition.
  • Prostaglandins are the primary culprits behind period cramps, as they prompt uterine contractions to expel the uterine lining.
  • These contractions, akin to milder versions of childbirth contractions, can cause pain that radiates to the lower back for some individuals.

Treatment

Suffering from worst period cramps that doesnt go away? Get high-strength prescription painkillers now!

  1. Secondary Dysmenorrhea
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea involves period-related back pain stemming from underlying medical conditions or injuries.
  • Conditions like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and certain back conditions or injuries can exacerbate lower back pain during menstruation.

Treatment

  • Treatment for secondary dysmenorrhea focuses on addressing the underlying condition or injury contributing to the pain.
  • For endometriosis, treatment options may include hormonal therapies, pain management medications, or surgical interventions to remove abnormal tissue.
  • Uterine fibroids may require monitoring and, in severe cases, surgical removal to alleviate symptoms such as intense back pain during periods.
  • Adenomyosis may be managed with hormone therapy, pain medications, or, in severe cases, surgical options like hysterectomy.
  • Back conditions or injuries may necessitate a tailored approach, including physical therapy, and pain management strategies, or surgical interventions, depending on the severity of the condition.

How do you relieve lower back pain from the period?

Relieving lower back pain during menstruation can significantly improve your comfort and well-being. Here are some effective strategies to alleviate this discomfort:

  1. Medications: Consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen a few days before menstruation starts to manage pain preemptively.
  1. Regular exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, as studies suggest it can reduce the severity of menstrual cramps and lower back pain. Incorporating walking, swimming, or yoga exercises into your routine may help alleviate discomfort.
  1. Healthy diet and supplements: Maintain a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients and consider taking vitamin B and magnesium supplements, which are believed to help alleviate menstrual pain.
  1. Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate muscle tension and increase discomfort.
  1. Heat therapy: Apply heat to the lower back area or warm baths to relax tense muscles and alleviate pain.
  1. Dietary adjustments: Limit or avoid caffeine and chocolate, as they can exacerbate menstrual symptoms for some individuals. Additionally, reducing alcohol intake and avoiding smoking may help alleviate discomfort.
  1. Birth control: For some women, birth control pills can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce the severity of menstrual pain, including lower back pain.

It’s important to note that if lower back pain persists beyond the menstrual cycle or is accompanied by leg pain or weakness, it’s essential to seek medical attention. This could be indicative of a more serious underlying issue beyond typical prostaglandin-related pain during menstruation.

Not sure whether its just period cramps or anything serious? Get treatment and diagnosis for lower back pain!

What is the best medicine for lower back pain during periods?

NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil) are commonly used to alleviate period cramps and lower back pain by reducing inflammation caused by prostaglandins. These medications can help ease discomfort and improve overall comfort during menstruation. However, if these techniques do not provide sufficient relief or if the pain is severe, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider. They can offer guidance and may prescribe stronger pain medication if necessary.

Additionally, hormonal birth control pills may be recommended to help reduce the intensity of period cramps and alleviate symptoms of conditions like endometriosis. Identifying and addressing the underlying cause of the pain is key, especially in cases of secondary dysmenorrhea, as treating the root cause can significantly reduce or eliminate lower back pain during menstruation.

When should I be worried about lower back pain?

Following are the conditions when you should be concerned about lower back pain and consult a healthcare professional immediately: 

  • If lower back pain persists for four weeks or longer, it may be a red flag indicating an underlying problem that requires medical attention. 
  • If the pain intensifies over time rather than subsiding or remains constant, it could indicate a more serious issue that requires immediate consultation with a doctor without delay. 
  • If you experience additional symptoms accompanying lower back pain, such as fever, significant weight loss or gain, loss of function or weakness in the extremities, bladder problems, or other symptoms. 

Remember, it’s always better to practice caution and seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your lower back pain during menstruation or if worrisome symptoms accompany it.

Consult a doctor

If home care techniques fail to alleviate lower back pain during menstruation or if the pain is accompanied by concerning symptoms such as bleeding between periods, pain during sex, or impaired functionality, it’s important to seek medical advice. Additionally, if over-the-counter medications prove ineffective or if the pain worsens over time, consulting a healthcare provider is advisable. 

Pain relief medications not making a different in pain? Get hormonal birth controls upon consultation!

FAQs about lower back pain period

How can I sleep with back pain on my period?

Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging when experiencing back pain during menstruation. Studies suggest that sleeping on your side can help alleviate back pain by reducing pressure on the abdomen and providing better support for the spine. Placing a pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side can further enhance comfort and alleviate pressure on the lower back.

Is it normal to have kidney pain during the period?

While it’s not typical to experience kidney pain, specifically during menstruation, some individuals with certain conditions may experience discomfort in the kidney area during their periods. Endometrial cysts can accumulate in the kidneys over time, potentially causing pain as they invade the renal capsule. Additionally, blood clots may block the ureter, leading to renal colic—a type of kidney pain that can occur during menstruation.

Does heat help period back pain?

Heat can help relax the muscles contributing to cramping, so applying heat to your abdomen or back can help relieve your pain.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Kent, Peter M., and Jennifer L. Keating. “The epidemiology of low back pain in primary care.” Chiropractic & osteopathy 13.1 (2005): 1-7.
  • Wang, Shu-Ming, et al. “Low back pain during pregnancy: prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes.” Obstetrics & Gynecology 104.1 (2004): 65-70.
  • De Vet, Henrica CW, et al. “Episodes of low back pain: a proposal for uniform definitions to be used in research.” Spine 27.21 (2002): 2409-2416.
  • Smith, Derek R., et al. “Menstrual disorders and their influence on low back pain among Japanese nurses.” Industrial health 47.3 (2009): 301-312.

Get started today

Talk to online doctors now and get medical advice, online prescriptions, and referrals within minutes. On-demand healthcare services at your fingertips.

talk to online doctor 24/7 free

See a doctor now