What Are The Common Reasons For Back Pain In Women?

reasons for back pain

Back pain is something that almost all women experience. In some cases, it’s mild and goes away with rest. Sometimes back pain persists or is recurring. But many women don’t know what are the common reasons for back pain?

Some women ignore back pain and consider it part of life. They believe that back pain is just the result of a hectic lifestyle or the long-term effect of normal changes in their bodies. 

However, back pain could be due to a disorder that should be treated. Let’s look at the signs of disorders whose symptoms include back pain.

What are some signs and symptoms that accompany back pain?

Radiating pain 

Pain in the back that radiates down to the leg indicates the involvement of the nerves. Radiating pain may be due to a compression of nerves in the lumbar region, called sciatica. 

Radiating pain should not be ignored and must be managed carefully. Increased pressure on the nerves may also cause numbness and paralysis in the legs. 

Immobility or restriction of movements

If back pain is acute and severe and has started abruptly after a fall or injury, it needs immediate medical attention to rule out a fracture of the bones in the back, pelvis, or hips. 

If a person experiences a considerable loss of range of motion or the slightest movement causes severe pain, they must consult a physician to rule out a fracture or any other serious condition. 

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Gradual or slowly progressive immobility that occurs with back pain is a sign of degenerative changes in the lumbar vertebra. It may occur in people with lumbar spondylosis. 

Muscle stiffness

Back pain accompanied by muscle pain or stiffness can be due to bad posture. It may also occur due to the overuse of muscles and joints like working out. Bad posture can put a strain on the back muscles causing pain and stiffness. 

Good posture and resting after physical activity could provide relief from symptoms in mild cases. 

Let’s learn more about the reasons for back pain.

What are the common reasons for back pain?

1. Muscle strain

People may develop acute or chronic back pain after straining their back muscles. Lifting heavy objects or sudden awkward movement can be responsible for these symptoms.  

2. Bulging of intervertebral disks

Intervertebral discs are the cushion-like structures present between the vertebral bones of the spine. The soft material inside these disks may bulge or even rupture and press on the nerve arising from the spinal cord. 

This may result in sharp shooting pain in the back that radiates to the leg. If not managed properly, a bulging disc can lead to sciatica and paralysis in the legs. [1]

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3. Arthritis

Osteoarthritis or inflammation of the bones in the lumbar spine or pelvis can cause pain in the lower back. In some cases, osteoarthritis in the vertebrae results in swelling which can narrow the space around the spinal cord. This condition is called spinal stenosis.

4. Lumbar spondylosis

Age-related wear and tear of the joints in the back can increase the risk of a condition called lumbar spondylosis. It is more common in women over 50. It can also affect younger women who sit in front of a computer for several hours at a stretch. 

Improper posture while sitting or standing can contribute to the development of lumbar spondylosis resulting in back pain that becomes worse over a period of time. [2]

5. Skeletal deformities

Skeletal deformities caused by an abnormal curvature of the vertebral column can cause pain. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine and can reasons for back pain, especially in middle-aged women. 

Kyphosis that causes abnormal outward curvature of the upper back and lordosis that causes inward curvature of the spine can also be responsible for chronic back pain. [3

6. Osteoporosis

Women over the age of 45 may develop osteoporosis as a result of bone loss. The hormonal changes in the body during menopause can result in the loss of calcium from the bones making them weaker and spongy. 

Osteoporosis makes the bones porous. The spinal vertebrae may fall on each other resulting in compression fractures. This may cause mild to moderate back pain that becomes worse gradually. [4]

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7. Endometriosis

Endometriosis can also reasons for back pain in women. Endometriosis is a condition caused by the growth of uterine tissue on other organs of the body. 

The common symptoms of endometriosis include painful menstrual cycles and irregular menses. The back pain caused due to endometriosis is usually worse during menstrual periods. [5]

8. Pregnancy

Back pain is common in women during pregnancy. It occurs due to the pressure exerted on the muscles and joints of the back due to the growing fetus. In most cases, back pain resolves after childbirth. [6]

9. Polycystic ovarian syndrome

The polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition caused due to the formation of multiple cysts in the ovaries. Back pain is one of the common symptoms of this condition. It can also cause irregular menses, amenorrhoea, and infertility. [7] [8]

Some other rare reasons for back pain in women include: 

  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal osteoporosis fractures
  • Coccydynia 

Conclusion

Back pain can occur due to inflammation in, or damage to, the muscles, bones and joints in the back as well as some conditions specific to women. People should contact a physician if the back pain persists or becomes severe. It is important to detect the underlying disorder responsible for back pain to derive long-term relief.

References:   

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697338/
  3. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/kyphosis-roundback-of-the-spine/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4824363/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24531988/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3306025/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5562990/
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906

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