“Period Back”: Kick the Ibuprofen and Learn Strategies on How to Solve Menstrual Low Back Pain

“I have to call in sick today because my lower back is killing me and I have unbearable cramps.”

Does that sound familiar?

Has your period also held you back from work, exercise, social events, or even getting out of the house? If so, you’re not alone.

There are many women who also struggle with lower back pain during their periods, it’s even coined “period back”.

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If you’re seeking alternative methods to manage “period back” continue reading:

So what causes period back?

Period back, is a result of a hormone called “prostaglandins”. Right before the first day of menstruation, the endometrial cells that form the lining of the uterus produce large amounts of this hormone. The endometrial cells breakdown during menstruation and as a result prostaglandins are released. Prostaglandin’s role is to constrict blood vessels and contract. Our uterus has a plethora of nerves that travel all around the body, therefore the pain can travel from the front of our stomach to our lower back and cause "period back". 

If you have endometriosis, I would highly suggest following Anne Evans Cody. She shares her experience and expertise on this condition. 

We can better learn to manage prostaglandin via lifestyle changes and potential supplements (Vitamin B complex and an increase in Magnesium).

Also, learning to better manage stress, can largely contribute to a reduction in period back.

In my opinion, stress can fall into the following three categories:

 Bag breathing is an excellent drill to improve your fuel (oxygen) supply and help manage pain and inflammation.

Bag breathing is an excellent drill to improve your fuel (oxygen) supply and help manage pain and inflammation.

  1. Lifestyle: How are you recovering after long days at work, after workouts, in between your to-do list? Ignoring your recovery can lead to an increase in menstrual back pain. Why? Well, think of our body as a bucket. If the bucket overflows with stress (ex.lack of sleep, negative self talk) our body will be less resilient causing us to be more susceptible to symptoms like period back, cramps, cravings, and fatigue.

  2. Fueling: We can better manage symptoms by how well we’re “fueling” our bodies. Fuel= from food and oxygen.  (I’ll share a more specific blog on what my suggestions would be surrounding what to eat according to what phase of your cycle you’re in). Keep in mind that food can be healing. We can nourish our body with foods that reduce inflammation and thus reduce symptoms. Also note, that adequate fuel supply is also vital for improved well being and pain reduction.

    1. A great exercise for this is bag breathing. If you’re interested in learning more about how to bag breathe, there is a free course on www.courses.averagetoelite.com that discusses the protocol for bag breathing. It’s an incredible tool to utilize everyday and especially during periods. 

    2. We can go a few days without food, a few days without water, yet we can not go on without breathing. Breathing is a critical component in easing menstrual cramping and symptoms. The better our fuel supply (a balance of O2 and CO2) and more effective we breathe (deeper longer exhalations, less shorter/elevation breathing) the better we’ll be able to minimize symptoms.

  3. Movement: It’s important to be mindful of movement. Not necessarily exercise, but movement. How we intentionally move our body can have a profound effect on our symptoms. I attached below a few of my favorite drills to help ease back tension and improve movement.

(Coach Analisa Naldi, coaching me through crocodile breathing and supine belly breathing)

Let’s be honest, periods are inconvenient. They can also make us feel like we’re entirely different people (mood swings, ravenous, fatigue etc). However, they are also indicators that internally our hormones are doing their monthly job.

I’d encourage you to explore these drills the next time you’re on your period. Hopefully they help alleviate some of your period back pains.

Next up, I’ll discuss some nutritional suggestions to also help ease symptoms.

References:

http://www.pcrm.org/health/health-topics/using-foods-against-menstrual-pain

https://www.instyle.com/news/period-back-pain-health