Why do I have back pain on my period?

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Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@EmmaThornton
Ask Emma


04 January 2019

Your body is dehydrated

During menstruation we can easily become dehydrated because we lose fluid in our blood. Since your kidneys are located in your lower back, kidney pain caused by dehydration can often be confused with pain in the muscles of your back.

Top tip: 

Drink more water during your period to make sure you don’t become dehydrated and speak to your doctor if your periods are particularly heavy.

Your spine is under pressure

Most people are unaware of the general geography of their organs, and you may be surprised to discover that the womb sits near the spine. In preparation for pregnancy, each time you have a period your womb becomes engorged, and this can push against the dense network of nerves surrounding your spine. This can result in back pain, neck pain and headaches.

Top tip:

Don’t scrunch up in response to pain! Although it might be a natural reaction to curl up on the couch feeling sorry for yourself, this could make things worse if your spine is causing you trouble. Sit up straight and have a good stretch to relieve the pressure on your spine.

Your cramps are spreading to your back

During your period, the wall of your womb begins to contract more vigorously than it does during the rest of the month in order to shed its lining. This means that the blood vessels are compressed and the oxygen supply to your womb is temporarily cut off. Without oxygen, your womb will release pain-inducing chemicals which you feel as period cramps.1

On top of all that, women who have back pain during their period are sometimes said to experience ‘referred pain’, as these uterine contractions radiate through the web of nerves in the pelvic region and reach the back muscles.2 Phew!

Top tip:

Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet. Magnesium is important for sending messages from muscles to the brain, so low magnesium could be behind constant cramps and spasms. Balance Mineral Drink is a great source of magnesium and other important minerals! 

Prepare for your period!

You can take steps to avoid painful periods by preparing yourself throughout the month. For example, alcohol will drain your magnesium levels. Of course we would always recommend you avoid overdoing it when it comes to alcohol. However, if you know you have a busy, alcohol-heavy month ahead then you should make sure to top up your magnesium levels to avoid painful cramping when your period comes. As a bonus, maintaining healthy magnesium levels will help you to avoid sugar cravings and mood swings, and so will help you to have a happier period overall!

Similarly, you should make sure to drink plenty of water every day, no matter what time of the month it is. Not only will this help to keep your kidneys pain-free, but it is also beneficial when it comes to constipation and diarrhoea, two common period-related complaints. It’s important to always drink plenty of water to keep your bowels moving regularly, and to replenish any water lost through an upset stomach.

Finally, you should support your liver. If you suffer from heavy periods, this could be a sign that your liver isn’t breaking down oestrogen efficiently and as a result your womb lining can become thicker. Women who are oestrogen dominant tend to suffer from more painful periods as a thicker lining is more difficult to shed. Milk Thistle Complex can be used to support and protect the liver.

 

 

Make sure you seek advice from your doctor if you experience severe pain, irregular periods, or if you think your period has become heavier than usual. 

1https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/period-pain/

2https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/period-lower-back-pain-menstruation_us_56d9ad7ee4b0000de4044533

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Here's what I recommend

As the A.Vogel  Women’s Health advisor, I recommend Agnus castus to help relieve premenstrual symptoms such as painful periods.

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Did you know?

Did you know the average age of starting your periods has changed? A 100 years ago, 16 was the average age for a girl to get her first period in the UK but now this has dropped to just 12! Incredible!

15 interesting facts about your period

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