Back pain is a symptom of a variety of medical conditions, illnesses and injuries. Men, women and children have acute or chronic back pain, but there are some conditions that women are more prone to experience than men. For example, more women than men deal with chronic lower back pain. Following are some of the common causes of back pain in women.
What Causes Back Pain in Ladies?
Back pain is due to any of a number of conditions. Sometimes the pain is due to a problem in the spine or supporting muscles, ligaments and tendons. However, back pain can also be due a problem in another part of the body, and people experience what is called referred pain.
Pain can occur in any area of the back too. It may be localized pain, like lower back pain or neck pain, or it may be widespread back pain. The general categories of causes for back pain in females include:
- Back sprain or strain,
- Spinal injury to vertebrae or spinal nerves,
- Diseases like osteoporosis and disc disease,
- Medical condition like a bladder or kidney infection,
- Hormone fluctuations.
Girls with lower back problems are usually experiencing pain from a sports injury or an accident. In these cases, lower back pain is due to a pulled muscle or strained ligament. Carrying heavy backpacks is another cause of back pain in young people. Girls reaching puberty and menstruating may also experience back pain due to hormone changes. Being overweight or obese is yet another cause of back pain in children.
Back Pain Conditions That Mainly Affect Women
The general categories mentioned include a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions that are more commonly experienced by women. Some causes can happen at any age, while others are frequently seen in older people. In fact, old lady back pain refers to pain experienced due to the aging process that leads to joint degeneration in the spine.
Following are some specific conditions that females commonly experience that cause back pain:
- Fibromyalgia – a condition with muscle pain and stiffness that can cause widespread back pain.
- Pregnancy – hormonal changes (discussed in a later section) and pressure placed on the lower back area by a growing baby, including the tailbone, are top causes of lower back pain in women.
- Degenerative spondylolisthesis – a lower back vertebrae slips forward over the one beneath it, irritating spinal nerve roots.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction – SI joint serves as a cushion between the upper body and pelvis, and dysfunction could be caused by pregnancy, walking pattern, osteoarthritis, injury, etc.
- Osteoarthritis in the spine – a degenerative joint disease that leads to a breakdown of the cartilage in facet joints; can lead to a compression fracture anywhere in the spine due to thinning bones.
- Medical disorders – There are a number of disorders that cause referred back pain in women, i.e. kidney or bladder infections, ovarian disorders, uterine fibroids, pelvic infections, etc.
There are other back pain causes affecting women, but men are just as likely to develop many of them. For example, a woman or a man can injure her back playing sports or lifting heavy weights in the gym or at work. Men and women develop cancer or experience herniated discs.
What Causes Upper Back Pain in Females?
The upper back or thoracic spine is the area that starts at the base of the neck and extends to the bottom of the ribcage. Upper back pain in women is usually due to:
- Poor posture, like slouching or pushing the head forward while sitting or standing, causing misalignment of the spine.
- Muscle overuse or strain, usually due to repetitive motions or lifting items or children incorrectly.
- Injury to discs, muscles and/or ligaments.
- Myofascial pain.
Many instances of back pain are not serious. Minor strains and sprains will usually heal on their own. In a number of cases, correcting posture or getting more exercise to strengthen back tissues can prevent further instances of back pain.
Can Female Problems Cause Lower Back Pain?
Female sex hormones play an important role in a variety of degenerative diseases of the muscles and bones and in pain sensitivity. Following are some of the common causes of hormonal back pain.
Hormone fluctuations increase pain sensitivity and affect the muscles. Women experience referred pain from the lower abdomen to the lower back during their menstrual cycle.
During pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called relaxin that relaxes joints and ligaments in the pelvic area to allow the fetus to grow. The hormone changes can cause supporting ligaments in the spine to loosen too, causing sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Spinal disc degeneration accelerates due to declining estrogen levels post menopause.
When Pain Does Not Go Away
Chronic back pain is difficult to live with because it makes even the simplest tasks or movements difficult. For women, it is low back pain that often drives them to see a physician for evaluation.
Persistent pain should not be ignored because it may be due to something more serious than a sprain or strain, like sciatica, a ruptured disc or infection. Sharp pain that comes on suddenly should not be ignored either. It is always better to see a physician when home remedies do not help relieve pain or acute or chronic pain interferes with life activities.