10 Common Causes of Back Pain in Women
by AZ Pain Doctors, on Jul 14, 2022 10:38:00 AM
The truth is that women are more likely to experience some form of chronic pain than men. For many women, this pain is centralized or sharpest in the back.
When you're experiencing chronic back pain, finding answers can be the first step toward gaining relief. What is causing this back pain and what are some of the ways that you can treat it?
Today, we're going to take a closer look at what can cause back pain in women. Gone are the days that you have to try to manage your pain without knowing what to target.
Read on as we discuss ten common causes of back pain in women.
1. Menopause and Hormonal Changes
Did you know that lower back pain is one of the symptoms of menopause and other major hormonal changes? Many women start to notice a more common occurrence of lower back pain during perimenopause when estrogen first starts to drop. As other menopause symptoms increase, you may also experience a worsening or more frequent presence of lower back pain.
Other major hormonal changes can also lead to severe or long-term back pain. Pregnancy, for example, often causes back pain starting during the first trimester.
2. Severe Menstrual Cramping
We often think of uterine cramping as a normal part of the pre-menstrual cycle and menstruation. However, some women will experience worse cramping than others as the result of a condition called dysmenorrhea. When menstrual cramping becomes severe, it will often radiate to the lower back body, causing a dull ache that is difficult to soothe.
3. Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis muscle is located in the buttock and spasms of the piriformis muscle can cause pain that radiates from the buttock to the hips and lower back. Women are more likely to develop piriformis syndrome due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause. Oftentimes, if piriformis syndrome causes back pain, it means that the sciatic nerve has been compressed.
4. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
The sacroiliac joint connects your pelvis to the bottom of your spine. Women have a smaller sacroiliac joint, resulting in more stress that is felt or carried by the joint. When the sacroiliac joint becomes misaligned (often due to this stress), it can cause pain that feels like sciatic pain, radiating down the backs of the legs and up the lower back.
5. Spinal Osteoarthritis
Are you experiencing pain that radiates up and down the spine and causes stiffness, particularly in the morning? If so, the facet joints that connect your spine may be wearing down and losing cartilage. This results in spinal osteoarthritis, which can be become more severe with age, increased weight, or increased activity.
The coccyx is the very end of your spine, also known as your tailbone. Many women develop coccydynia, an injury to the tailbone, after experiencing trauma to that area; for example, falling on your tailbone can result in coccydynia. Coccydynia is temporary but does make regular activities such as sitting or standing up from a seated position painful.
Endometriosis is a condition that results from the endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus. Other symptoms include spotting between periods, unusual bleeding, swelling, and pain. Excess fluid caused by the misplaced tissue causes surrounding tissue to become inflamed, resulting in potential lower back pain.
Fibromyalgia is one of the leading causes of chronic pain and is more common in women than in men. It is believed that patients with fibromyalgia have over-active pain signals stemming from the brain and spine. Although the signals may be in response to non-painful sources, the pain, itself, is very real.
Note that fibromyalgia will not result in back pain, alone. Fibromyalgia patients experience widespread pain that occurs on both sides of the body as well as above and below the hips. If you believe that you have fibromyalgia but can't get a diagnosis, get a second opinion, as this is an underdiagnosed disorder.
9. Spinal Misalignments
We often think of spinal misalignments as being quite severe and obvious. For example, scoliosis is defined by a sharp curvature in the spine that tends to present itself in childhood. However, spinal misalignments can occur in many forms that are harder to detect.
Many people develop spinal misalignments as they age, as the result of poor posture, or from repetitive movements. Even a small spinal misalignment can cause back pain throughout the back. It can also cause neck pain and even pain in the extremities.
10. Anxiety or Depression
Believe it or not, one of the biggest causes of back pain is mental illness, something that women are more likely to develop or experience than men. Anxiety and depression, in particular, seem to share a link with chronic back pain. It is believed that this is because pain may share some biological mechanisms with mental illness.
Does that mean that seeking treatment for anxiety or depression will alleviate back pain? Over time, it may lessen back pain significantly. However, it is still recommended that you seek treatment for back pain that has become severe or unmanageable, even if you are also seeking additional treatment.
We're Here to Treat Back Pain in Women in AZ
Women tend to experience chronic pain at a higher rate than men. Yet, we often encounter women who wait longer to seek treatment when dealing with chronic pain. We're here to tell you that there is a reason for back pain in women and we can help.
AZ Pain Doctors understand how disruptive and debilitating chronic pain can be. We partner with our patients to understand the source of their back pain and find the best treatment for it. If you've been living with back pain, schedule an appointment and let us help you find the answer.