Are you one among those women who are striving with low back pain? Do you often feel pain?
Every woman may have encountered this situation sometime in their lifetime.
But is it strong enough to affect your daily routine? What may be the reason for it? All your queries are answered here.
What is lower back pain?
Low back pain is one of the common pain disorders.
It is characterized by persistent dull or sharp stabbing or aching pain in the low back region.
It may also be associated with a burning sensation, stiffness, numbness or tingling sensation with the pain shooting or radiating down the buttocks and the legs.
Low back ache is often precipitated by moving, lifting, or twisting the waist and other gynaecological issues.
Pain in the lower back restricts daily activities, reduces work capacity and quality of everyday living, and turns daily life into misery.
The highest incidence of low backache occurs among the 45 to 64-year age group, especially in women.
Research has shown that the lower estrogen levels that follow menopause can lead to lumbar disc degeneration and increased lower back pain in women compared to men of a similar age.
Causes of lower back pain in women?
Females are prone to low back aches during their reproductive life and post-menopause.
During the reproductive period, women may suffer from period cramps that can radiate to the upper and lower back.
This may even get worse with associated endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids etc.
In and around menopause, many hormonal changes occur, affecting women mentally and physically.
There will be osteoporotic bone changes, which may lead to degeneration in the spinal discs, resulting in lower backache.
Common gynaecological issues that can precipitate low back ache include
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD)
Other structural causes
- Muscle strain
- Herniated disc
- Disc degeneration
- Spinal fracture
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Dysmenorrhoea is referred to as painful menstruation. Women often suffer from this condition during their periods.
It can be manageable but may become severe if associated with endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease etc.
Pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen, lower back, hips, and legs.
It usually lasts for 1 to 3 days. The pain can either be dull achy, or crampy.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
It is an infectious condition affecting the reproductive system.
It is often associated with many symptoms, including low back ache, which is sharp and stabbing in nature.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a condition many women suffer before their periods.
It is often accompanied by many symptoms, including lower back pain, headache, bloating, and emotional and behavioural symptoms.
PMS usually starts a few days before your period.
Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is a severe form of PMS. It is very rare compared to PMS.
It occurs in women with a family history of psychological issues.
Endometriosis is when the endometrium (uterine tissue) grows outside the uterus.
Pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis.
Other symptoms include painful menstrual cramps, pain during or after sexual intercourse etc.
It can also cause fertility issues.
Back pain is common during pregnancy.
As your centre of gravity shifts, you gain weight, and the hormones relax your ligaments in preparation for birth.
Back pain occurs between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy for most women, but it can start much earlier.
You’re more vulnerable to developing back pain during pregnancy if you already have lower back issues.
Postpartum back pain
Back pain that follows a c – section is very common.
It occurs due to the spinal anaesthesia given before the surgery.
It can also occur due to childbirth-related bodily trauma, as it directly involves low back and pelvis.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy also play a significant role in precipitating backache.
What are the early symptoms of lower back pain in women?
Symptoms depend upon the underlying disease. In gynaecological issues, other disease-specific symptoms may be associated. If it is a structural cause, the following symptoms may be present.
- Dull aching pain
- Pain on prolonged sitting
- Pain that worsens with lifting
- Pain that occurs on getting up and improves on moving around.
Later symptoms of lower back pain in women?
Later symptoms occur if the pain is ignored and the disease progresses to further stages.
It often varies in gynaecological issues, and spine-related pathologies following are the later symptoms.
- Pain travelling down to the legs and feet
- Burning sensation
- Tingling sensation
Based on the duration of pain, Low back ache is categorized into 3 stages
- Acute (pain lasting for less than 6 weeks)
- Sub-acute (low backache lasting for 6 – 12 weeks)
- Chronic (pain lasting for 12 weeks or more)
When to see a doctor?
Consult your doctor immediately if:
- Pain worsens or spreads to your hips, thighs, legs, or feet.
- Pain starts to interrupt your daily activities more than usual.
- you’re unable to stand or walk
- Low backache is accompanied by fever, severe abdominal pain, loss of bladder control
- Pain is accompanied by numbness, tingling sensation in the legs
- you have other symptoms of endometriosis
- Pain during pregnancy along with vaginal bleeding, fever, or pain while urinating
- back pain that follows a fall or accident
- No significant improvement in the pain after a week of home care.
Most back pain will relieve within a few days to a few weeks.
You should consult your doctor if the pain lasts longer than 3 months.
Complications if the pain is avoided
If the pain is due to gynaecological disorders, it can worsen the condition and lead to infertility.
If it is due to neuromuscular disorders, it can lead to permanent disabilities.
Untreated vertebral injuries can lead to spinal stenosis (narrowing the spinal canal), radiculopathy (severe nerve pain), and nerve damage.
Ayurvedic treatment protocol
The main aim of Ayurvedic treatment is to bring the vitiated ‘dosha’ back to the state of equilibrium and thereby establish the state of health.
The treatment protocol for any Vata-vitiated disease is snehana (oil application) and swedana (fomentation).
Treatment procedures like Abhyanga, Ayurvedic Kizhi treatments including Patra Potala swedam(elakizhi), choorna pinda swedam (podi kizhi), swastika shali pinda swedam (njavarakizhi) etc., done according to the condition of the patient can bring the vitiated doshas to koshta from where it can be cleared by virechana (purgation) or vasthi (enema).
For back pain related to gynaecological disorders, uttavarvasthi and other treatment procedures indicated for that particular disease can be performed, which can automatically cure low backache.
Internal medicines are also integral to pacifying the remaining doshas if any.
Treatments like Katee Tharpanam, Pradesika Pichu, and Lepanam can also be performed accordingly.
Yoga and Yogasana
Yoga renders mental and physical stability. It helps decrease pain perception by healing the emotional aspect of pain.
Practising Pranayama (Anulom viloma or alternate nostril breathing) can help balance Vata.
Among the Yoga Asanas, start with these simple postures
- To keep the spine aligned, practice Veerasana.
Caution: Before trying any of these postures, consult a yoga teacher or ayurvedic physician to determine the best postures for your condition.
Tips to prevent lower back pain in Females
- Stay active
- Stretching exercises
- Regular massage
- Good sleeping posture
- Firm mattress
- Manage everyday stress
- Good lumbar spine support
- Heating pads
- Hot shower
What other common diseases or symptoms in women are mistaken for back pain?
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infections
- Autoimmune disorders
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Gynaecological disorders