Common Causes of Lower Back or Pelvic Pain in Females
The causes of lower back pain or pelvic pain for females can be vast and varied. Pain can come on as a slow nagging pain or a sudden severe pain that can bring you to your knees.
No matter what, pain can limit quality of life and day-to-day activities. Fortunately, there are ways to address low back pain at home to decrease the symptoms and prevent future issues.
Generally speaking, a vast majority of low back pain is related to a musculoskeletal problem. That means that the muscles have had some sort of injury or condition that is causing the problem.
That can be muscle tightness or a sprain or strain. There can also be issues with the bones of the spine that can cause back pain.
This can be related to arthritis which can cause a loss of height between the bones causing pinched nerves. Or the bones could move out of alignment causing pain as well.
As you will read below, there are certain risk factors that make women more susceptible to these issues.
There are also non musculoskeletal reasons why women have back pain. There are specific reasons for people who are assigned female at birth including endometriosis, pregnancy or uterine fibroids.
If you suspect that this is a reason for your back pain, you should seek medical attention immediately.
There are also underlying conditions that can be a problem for both people assigned female and male at birth. This includes appendicitis, kidney infections, liver problems or urinary tract infections.
Usually these issues are accompanied by other medical problems like burning when urinating, fever, severe pain, etc.
If you have any suspicion that this is the cause of your back pain, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Risk Factors for Low Back or Pelvic Pain
For women, there are numerous risk factors that can increase the likelihood of low back pain throughout their life. In fact, approximately 80% of people in the United states will experience back pain at some point in their life.
One reason is that it is more common to have back pain as we age. Our muscles, bones and soft tissue structures do deteriorate overtime and increase the likelihood of low back pain.
Lack of exercise is another risk factor because again, as we age, we need to continue exercise to keep our muscles strong but oftentimes life gets in the way and that doesn't always happen.
Same thing with excess weight as it puts extra stress on the back and pelvic areas.
Other risk factors include smoking cigarettes, vaping and/or smokeless tobacco.
There are also job-related factors including improper lifting or poor ergonomic setup at a desk or workstation that could increase the likelihood of back pain.
Musculo - means of the muscle and skeletal means of the bone. Again, this is the most common cause of back pain for women.
There might be a muscle strain or ligament sprain.
This can be caused by sudden awkward movements like trying to move a couch or repetitive movements like picking up your 40 pound toddler for the 100th time that weekend.
These are very common issues and luckily can be treated at home.
Overtime, these repetitive issues can lead to arthritis. Arthritis is common in women and degenerative over the lifetime but luckily, can be slowed with exercise and activity.
Osteoporosis is also very common in women. This means that the bones are more brittle, especially as we age.
One way to combat osteoporosis is weight bearing activities like walking consistently prior to menopause. This is because as we pass menopause, a certain percentage of bone loss is inevitable yearly.
There are also more severe causes of musculoskeletal back pain. These can be related to bulging or ruptured discs.
It's hard to self-diagnose these types of conditions so seeing your physician is a great first start.
We often hear about sciatic pain which would fall under this category.
Some of these more severe musculoskeletal issues can be addressed with home remedies.
Your doctor might also refer you to physical therapy in conjunction with your home treatment to limit the severity of the symptoms and increase the speed of your recovery.
Sudden and Severe Onset of Pain
There might be a time when you must seek medical attention for sudden or severe back pain.
You should consider seeing your doctor for back pain that lasts longer than a few weeks because this would indicate it could be more than just musculoskeletal in nature.
If your back pain is really bad and doesn't improve with rest, that might be a sign of something not muscular in nature as well.
If your back pain starts to spread down one or both of your legs you might be experiencing sciatica pain. If that is the case, it may go away on its own but if it doesn't or becomes super severe, you should see your doctor.
Any pain that causes numbness or tingling in your legs as well as unexplained weakness should be addressed by your physician. You know your body best and if you think you should reach out to your doctor, then follow your intuition.
Sudden or severe pain related to issues for persons labeled female at birth should also be addressed by a medical provider immediately.
This would be low back pain accompanied with fever, vomiting, nausea, burning when pee, etc.
Why Do Women Have Lower Back Pain Before Their Period
As we discussed, back pain is very common but unfortunately for some women, it can be a monthly occurrence. There are certain hormones released during the menstrual cycle that cause the uterus to contract, but this can also cause back or pelvic pain.
Some women will feel the cramps more underneath their belly button while others may feel them in their low back or pelvis.
Keep reading below for tips on how to address this pain including using heat. You can also talk to your doctor about medications that might decrease cramping including insides or certain birth control methods.
If the pain stays throughout your entire menstrual cycle or is extremely severe, you should seek medical attention as there may be additional medical reasons why the pain is abnormal.
Lower Back Pain Treatment for Females – 10 Best Tips
Like was mentioned previously, the following tips and tricks for dealing with back pain should be used when the person feels confident that their pain is related to a musculoskeletal issue.
If for any reason you feel your pain is something more serious, please seek medical attention immediately.
Tip 1: Exercise
The best way to combat low back and pelvic pain is simply by moving. This can seem counterintuitive, but muscles and bones get their nutrition from movement.
This is not to say that you should set out to run a marathon if you've only been walking around the block, but doing movement that is on par with your current physical capabilities, consistently is the best way. Overtime, try to increase the frequency, intensity or duration of your exercise.
Tip 2: Rest
The next tip is rest. But wait didn't I just say that exercise was best? Yes that is true but we are also talking about issues where repetitive motion could be the cause of pain.
So maybe your back pain started after you painted your entire living room and in that case, rest is key. Take a few days off before you move on to painting the kitchen. Your back will thank you.
Tip 3: Heat Therapy
Heat is a great way to help low back pain or pelvic pain. There are various ways to provide heat to your sore muscles or joints.
You can do this by a hot shower or a heating pad. The general rule of thumb is heat for 20 to 30 minutes and then remove for at least 20 to 30 minutes before you reapply the heat. This is to be sure that there is no damage to your skin if the heat were to get too hot. It also allows the muscle to do a contract and relax pattern of healing.
Tip 4: Cold Therapy
For sudden injuries like strains or sprains, some people like ice applied to the injury site. You can buy a fancy ice pack for the back or you can use a bag of frozen vegetables.
Either way, make sure there is a layer of fabric between your skin and the source of cold. Same with heat, the general rule of thumb is 20 to 30 minutes and then remove the cold for at least 20 to 30 minutes before you reapply the cold.
Before you reapply, make sure that you have full sensation back in the skin that was in contact with the cold pack to prevent any skin issues.
Tip 5: Relaxation
Tip five is relaxation. A lot of pain is related to tight muscles so finding the best way for you to relax can immediately alleviate or decrease your pain. Maybe that's reading a book or listening to music. Simply letting your body truly relax can make a huge difference.
Tip 6: Standing Posture
Standing posture plays a big role in back pain. Take a look at this with your work setup. Maybe you stand on a factory line all day and are doing repetitive motion. Maybe you could ask your supervisor for a cushion standing pa or to alter your set up.
Standing with good upright posture including your shoulders rolled back and away from your ears and your pelvis in a neutral position can really improve your back pain.
Tip 7: Sitting Posture
Sitting posture is another big factor. Maybe you are someone that sits at a desk all day long.
Is your chair the correct one for your height and size? Is your desk set up in a good position or are you constantly having to twist? Taking a look at your sitting posture and work setup can make a huge difference in your back pain.
Tip 8: Driving Posture
Driving posture is also important. At the end of the day, if you sit in traffic for an hour, how is your posture?
Are you slumped over to one side? This can cause quite a bit of strain and stress on your back. Trying to sit upright with your shoulders rolled back and away from your ears can really help your low back pain.
In addition, driving with a good seat cushion can help provide some extra lower back support that you otherwise might not get while behind the wheel. In fact, studies say that even a simple car cushion can reduce lower back and leg pain by 80 percent.
These pillows are designed to help maintain better posture by preventing slouching and keeping the spine properly aligned during driving.
Tip 9: Lifting Posture
We have all heard the old adage “Lift with your knees!” a million times. But, that is really the truth.
If you are doing a lot of lifting for your work or have an activity that requires a lot of lifting like moving, be sure that you are protecting your back. Get very close to the item that you want to lift and squat down, bending at your knees. Do not only bend at your back or you are risking hurting it.
Tip 10: Diet
Diet is very important to back pain as well. Increased weight on your skeletal frame causes increased pressure on all of your joints. This can cause increased pressure on the bones in your back causing low back and pelvic pain.
Not only is obesity a risk factor for back pain, but certain people are affected differently by certain types of diets. If you are someone who is gluten sensitive, but eats a lot of gluten, you might have increased inflammation which could cause back pain.
Or if you are someone who is lactose intolerant but choose to eat it anyway, you might have inflammation as well. If you think that this pertains to you, you could speak to your physician about your diet or request a referral to a dietitian.
In summary, it is important to remember that back pain happens to over 80% of Americans at some point in their lifetime. It is common and fortunately, there are some easy ways to self treat your pain at home.
Try a combination of home treatments to see what works best for you. If you are not recovering or the pain is getting worse, don't hesitate to reach out to your health care provider for assistance. Living in pain is not fun and it should not happen to you.