Back Pain That Mainly Affect Women

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Back pain is one of the most common conditions all over the whole world. 80% of people have a very high chance of getting this their entire lives. Women are not an exemption from this. According to statistics, millions of women all over the whole world are susceptible to and are affected by this condition. Some of the most common causes of back pain in women are pregnancy, stress, menstrual cramps, poor posture, aging, obesity, arthritis, injuries from accidents, overuse of muscles which causes temporary tearing and stretching, poor sleeping positions, and aging.

There are several conditions that women are more prone to developing such as back pain and other related conditions. Some are very common and or exclusive to just women that are typically observed during their menopausal days (50 years old and above) which are more likely to get chronic and severe over time. Back pain affects the daily activities of every person. Worst cases of this condition hinder people from doing their everyday routine and work and even would cause them sleepless nights.

Factors that Cause Back Pain in Women

Several factors cause back pain and this has different varieties of treatments and remedies. Treating and addressing the discomfort is very important before it’s too late. Here are the common back pain conditions in women, and why they occur:

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  1. Piriformis Syndrome– this pain and discomfort originate from the spam in women’s large muscles in their buttocks part, the piriformis. This condition affects the women more because of pregnancy-related changes in their pelvis, and any other hormonal changes in their bodies, usually during menstruation. This syndrome usually causes irritation and compression of the sciatic nerve which causes pain that is oftentimes experienced by women through the following: inability to sit for long periods, pain in the buttocks when getting out of bed, pain in the back of the thigh, and legs, and chronic pain in the buttocks part that gets triggered when moving the hips. 
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2. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction– this is the pain from the sacroiliac (SI) joint connection to the spine and the pelvis. SI carries the weight of your upper body whenever you stand, walk, or run and later shifts the load to your legs. Since women have smaller SI joint surfaces compared to men, women are more susceptible to this since the chance of stress across the joint is higher. Relatedly, women’s sacrum is wider, more uneven, less curved, and more tilted backward which is another factor that causes SI joint problems. These factors can cause SI joint misalignment in women, especially in younger ones. Common symptoms of this are the following: lower back pain, a dull, achy pain that is located over the buttocks which may worsen and would cause sharp pain, and sharp, stab-like pain in the thigh. SI joint problems are the most common cause of back pain to people and this may get triggered when a person sits, walks, and climbs up the stairs. 

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3. Spinal osteoarthritis– osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage of the joints and discs in the lower back and neck which produces pressure in the nerves in the spinal column that can cause weakness and pain. The risk of having this condition gets high with increased weight or age. Osteoarthritis in the spine can cause pain and back stiffness in the morning, pain in the upper back, spine, thigh, and buttocks, and flares of severe pain that happens occasionally. This pain may be felt on the side of the back which could increase when pressure is applied externally, and can be eased when bending the spine forward.

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4. Degenerative spondylolisthesis- this condition happens when the vertebra in the spine is weakened and slips over the one below it due to degeneration. This usually happens because of aging, commonly in post-menopausal women—when the estrogen levels are low. When this happens, the bones, joints, and spine become less aligned to the spinal column because of the loosening of the spinal disc and the ligaments that hold the vertebrae together. Degenerative spondylolisthesis is typically experienced when a person bends forward which can cause the following: neurogenic claudication or the pain you experience when walking because of the compression in the spinal cord, and low back pain which goes through the legs.

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5. Coccydynia (tailbone pain)– Coccydynia is typically associated with tenderness and pain of the tailbone between the buttocks—as it is called. This occurs due to the traumas you have experienced in your body and usually worsens when sitting on a hard, uncomfortable surface, standing up from sitting, and partly leaning back while sitting. The coccyx supports your weight while you sit and this injury might cause severe pain which could affect how a person moves daily.

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6. Endometriosis- This is a gynecological condition that exclusively affects women involving the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis, causing the tissues of the uterus to grow inside the womb. This causes pelvic pain and irregular menstruation and is common in women ages 18-35. Symptoms typically include pain during menstruation that involves lower abdominal and severe pelvic pain, pain in the genital region, and low back pain, especially during menstruation.

Photo from: OrthoInfo – AAOS

Spinal osteoporosis fractures– osteoporosis spine fractures are usually a result of bone density loss, making it more porous, brittle, and susceptible to fracture. According to a study, women 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, especially during their menopausal and post-menopausal periods. This, like Degenerative spondylolisthesis, may be due to the deficiency of estrogen levels in the woman’s body, loss of bone at a younger age, and loss of bone at a rapid pace than normal. Osteoporosis can cause severe back pain due to compression fractures in the spine. This can also cause pain that may spread in front of the body which is typically confused with heart and lung problems, and acute pain in the mid-back. This condition is serious and may become a medical emergency depending on its severity.

Many more factors can trigger women’s back pain, especially hormonal changes. If your back pain has been bothering you for a long time and affects your daily life, consult your doctor immediately. A trained medical professional can give you advice and treatments that could make your conditions better like lifestyle modification–e.g. Anti-inflammatory diet, and exercises for prevention.

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