Back Pain Conditions That Mainly Affect Women – Latest Research Included

Full Disclosure

There are numerous back problems and conditions that women are more prone to develop. In addition, women's back pain is more likely to develop into chronic over time.

Certain conditions are more prevalent (and may be specific) among women. Back pain is typically found in post-menopausal women (above 50 years old). Learn more about the most common reasons for back discomfort for women and the causes that they happen.

1. Piriformis syndrome

The pain is caused by spasms of your piriformis muscles, an enormous muscle found deep within the buttocks, is known as piriformis syndrome. Women are more susceptible to this condition because of hormones and pregnancy-related changes to the pelvis.

Piriformis syndrome can lead to discomfort or compression of the sciatic nerve, similar to sciatica pain. Piriformis syndrome may cause:

  • Pain in the hip and buttock area that gets worse due to hip movement
  • It's painful after you get up
  • Inability to remain seated for an extended period of
  • A throbbing pain radiating from your thigh, back, or leg

The symptoms generally improve when you lie down on your back.

2. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Injuries to the Sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects your pelvis with your spine, are known as sacroiliac dysfunction or sacroiliitis. SI joint issues are among the most common causes of lower back pain.

Women usually have a lower surface area of the SI joint than men, which results in more stress on the joint. The sacrum can also be wider and more uneven, less curving, and more tilted to the back in females, which could create problems for this SI joint.

These and other anatomical differences could increase the chance of SI joint misalignment, particularly in younger women.

SI joint dysfunction may also create sciatica-like signs. Common symptoms include:

  • Lower back discomfort
  • An aching or dull pain just above the buttocks may sometimes become sharp and painful.
  • A sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain in your thigh usually does not reach the knee.

SI joint pain usually increases as you lie down, sit on the affected side or climb stairs.

3. Osteoarthritis of the spine

Wear and tear (osteoarthritis) in the facet joint (joints that connect the vertebrae) is common among females. The risk increases when you get older or weight.

The condition causes a breakage in the cartilage fibrous within the joint of your face. Without the cushioning provided by the cartilage, the bones can meet, causing discomfort. Osteoarthritis in lower back pain can result in:

  • The pain you feel in your lower or upper back, buttocks, groin, and the thighs
  • Pain and stiffness in the back in the early morning
  • A few flares of severe pain

The pain can be located on the opposite part of your lower back and may increase when pressure is applied externally or if you move your spine inwards.

4. Degenerative spondylolisthesis

If a vertebra in your spine sags over one beneath it because of degeneration, this is known as degenerative spondylolisthesis. The condition is more frequent for women post-menopausal because of the lower levels of estrogen.

If estrogen levels are low, the vertebral disc degenerates more, and the ligaments that keep the vertebrae together loosen, making the spine unstable. Also, there is a greater likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in the spinal region in this age group, which increases the risk of vertebral slippage.

Degenerative spondylolisthesis may result in:

  • Lower back pain and radiating leg pain
  • Neurogenic claudication (pain during walking) occurs when the spinal cord is compressed

It is expected to experience pain relief when you lean to the side.

5. Coccydynia (tailbone painfulness)

Pain at the tail end of the spine (coccyx) is usually caused by trauma. The condition is more frequent for women due to different shapes and tilt of the pelvis as well as after a birth injury.

The coccyx supports weight bearing while sitting. A coccyx injury could cause pain.

  • Sitting down
  • Leaning partially backward when sitting
  • Letting your feet rest on the hard surface
  • Moving up from a seated position

Coccydynia pain disappears when you stand up. To alleviate the pain of the tailbone, it is possible to lean forward while sitting or lean on only one buttock at a time.

6. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a gynecological condition which is only affecting females. The disorder causes the tissues of the uterus outside of the womb. The most common symptoms are:

  • A painful menstrual cycle accompanied by intense abdominal and pelvic pain.
  • Genital pain
  • Back pain in the lower back, particularly during menstrual cycles.

The back and pelvic pain can become chronic with menstrual bleeding.

7. Fractures of the spine due to osteoporosis

The density of your bones decreases in a way that they become fragile and prone to breaking, and it is known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is when there's more loss of bone compared to the newly formed bone. Postmenopausal women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis compared to men. This is likely due to the lack of estrogen hormone, the loss of bone at a younger age, or the loss of bone at a greater rate.

Osteoporosis can lead to bone discomfort, but more frequently, it can cause compression fractures to your spine, which can cause acute back pain.1 The compression fractures in your spine can result in:

  • Acute localized back pain is typically felt in the mid-back or the region between your mid and lower back.
  • The pain could spread to the front of you and could be misinterpreted as lung or heart issues.

Based on the severity of the condition, it could become an emergency medical situation.

Women may also suffer back pain without a cause. The typical changes that women experience in their life cycle, such as childbirth, pregnancy hormone imbalances, and weight growth (especially around abdominal fat), could trigger a chain of events that can cause back discomfort.

If you suffer from back pain that cannot be treated with self-care, creates nerve manifestations (numbness or weakness), or has an impact on your work routine, you should seek out a physician. A doctor can assist you in determining and addressing the root of the back discomfort. A qualified medical professional will also suggest necessary lifestyle adjustments, such as eating an anti-inflammatory diet and exercising to avoid recurring issues.

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