For many women, lower back pain is a common complaint both before and during Shark Week. This usually clears up after a menstrual period – but for some of us, lower back pain can continue even after your period ends. What’s up with that? Let’s take a look at what your body could be trying to tell you with lower back pain after periods.
Lower back pain after periods: What’s the menstrual cycle link?
Around your menstrual period, you’re more likely than usual to struggle with aches and pain in your lower back. Part of this is due to the release of the reproductive hormone progesterone in the second half of your menstrual cycle. This has the effect of loosening up smooth muscle all throughout your body.
As your period approaches, production of another hormone called relaxin also steps up, loosening up pelvic joints and ligaments. At the same time, the increased blood flow through your uterus puts additional strain on the surrounding muscles. Put all this together and it’s a recipe for lower back pain before and in the early stages of your period.
What causes lower back pain after periods?
Menstrual back pain usually clears up on its own once your period ends, but not always. If your hormone balance is out of whack, your pelvic joints and ligaments sometimes are still loosened up from the hormonal effects of progesterone and relaxin even after your period ends. This makes it possible to have lower back pain after periods.
Is lower back pain after periods a sign of disease?
Pain is often your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, so don’t ignore it. Although lower back pain is sometimes innocuous, it’s also associated with a number of gynecological diseases – including endometriosis and fibroids.
Women with these conditions often suffer from lower back pain all throughout their menstrual cycle. Left untreated, some of the gynecological diseases can even result in infertility. If you have symptoms like increased menstrual bleeding or abdominal pain besides lower back pain after periods, don’t hesitate to speak to a doctor about it.
Remedies for lower back pain after periods
If your post-period back pain isn’t down to an underlying health condition, there are two main steps you can take to get some relief: improving blood flow and supporting your pelvis.
Promote good circulation
Ever wondered why heat packs and hot water bottles make you feel better? The warmth helps open up the blood vessels, supporting blood flow through the muscles of lower back. If you know you’re prone to post-period back pain, try to get in the habit of keeping your body warm in the latter half of your period with habits like warm showers.
Support your pelvis
It takes a while for your pelvis to settle back into its usual position after your period ends, so try and avoid excessive strain on your lower back while it’s still settling back down.
As your period is winding down, take care that you’re sitting in a back-friendly posture, and take regular breaks to walk around and do some stretches if you spend most of your time sitting down at work. As your posture improves, you may be surprised how much your back pain improves.
Fight lower back pain after periods with healthy lifestyle habits
Lower back pain before and during your menstrual period can be a real pain, and it can feel especially unfair if yours sticks around after your periods ends. With the right adjustments, you may be able to support your body’s healing process – but if it’s too much, don’t hesitate to see a doctor about your discomfort.
Conditions like endometriosis can sometimes be to blame for lower back pain after periods. Severe pain at any point of your cycle isn’t something you need to put up with.