PMS & Back Pain


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name of the symptoms that begin before a woman's monthly menstruation cycle. Certain symptoms, such as cramping, bloating, depression, anxiety and lower back pain can start up to 14 days prior to a woman’s period. These symptoms typically stop after the period starts. There is no one cause of PMS, but it is linked to the change in a woman’s hormonal levels. An average of 40 to 80 percent of women experience PMS, with 5 percent suffering from severe impairment during PMS.

Woman with PMS.
Woman with PMS. (Image: Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images)


Back pain is a common symptom during PMS, and can range from a tingle or ache to a severe debilitating pain. Water retention during PMS creates bloating, which puts pressure on the lower back and increases pain. Craving and binge eating is also a symptom of PMS that can contribute to weight gain and increase back pain. Many women find it helpful to talk to their doctors about which oral contraceptive is best to decrease PMS symptoms.

Back pain.
Back pain. (Image: Stefano Lunardi/iStock/Getty Images)


Prior to menstruation, the lower back and abdomen begin to contract and tighten, which can cause pain or discomfort. The area around the spine may appear to have a physical knot or bump that causes pain when sitting up straight.

Lower back pain.
Lower back pain. (Image: Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images)


Women who suffer from lower back pain during PMS are encouraged to exercise three to five times per week to increase physical tone in the lower back. Eating less salt and taking a diuretic may also help with bloating, which will alleviate some of the pain in the lower back during PMS. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may help to reduce pain in the lower back. A combination of stretching and yoga is very beneficial in relieving lower back pain.

Exercise is encouraged.
Exercise is encouraged. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)


Symptoms experienced during PMS such as back pain may become worse with too much caffeine and smoking. PMS is not caused by stress, but a stressful environment may increase discomfort during PMS. Calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B are important dietary supplements that help decrease back pain during PMS. An insufficient supply of these vitamins may lead to constipation, which increases bloating and back pain. Home remedies such as an ice/hot pack can help relieve back pain.

Caffeine may irritate symptoms.
Caffeine may irritate symptoms. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)


It is common for women in their childbearing years to suffer from thyroid disease. It is also common for women in the same age group to suffer from lower back pains and weight gain during PMS. Because the symptoms of thyroid disease and PMS are so similar, your doctor may prefer to do a thyroid test, because there is no test or method to diagnose PMS. The cause of back pain may not be directly related to PMS and should be discussed with your doctor to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Checking thyroid.
Checking thyroid. (Image: IuriiSokolov/iStock/Getty Images)

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