Women affected by many chronic pain conditions of the musculoskeletal system in greater numbers than men are whcih is around 1:1.3. Sex hormones play an important role in the etiology and pathophysiology of a variety of musculoskeletal degenerative diseases. Postmenopausal women show accelerated disc degeneration due to relative estrogen deficiency.
Here are 8 Back Pain Conditions That Mainly Affect Women:
Coccydynia, or pain in the tailbone pain at the end of the spine is 4 times more common in women than in men. The area of pain often feels tender on touching and can be painful. It can be caused by accidents or fall, pregnancy-related injury, or poor posture. The pain can severely affect daily routine activities like sitting, driving and performing household chores.
Pregnancy causes the secretion of the relaxin hormone, which allows the muscles around the pelvis to relax. This allows the muscles to relax as the fetus grows during pregnancy. The radical shift in weight distribution and centre of gravity can increase pressure around the spine and cause back pain, and even sciatica. After childbirth, the secretion of relaxin stops, but the loss of adequate muscle support to the spine can make the body vulnerable to backache.
Postmenopause the demineralization of bones in women occurs at a faster pace. This causes a condition known as osteoporosis. The bones lose their structural integrity and become prone to fractures. The most common site among women is the compression fracture at the spine. This may often go unnoticed until loss of height becomes evident. However, pain due to pressure over surrounding structures can cause severe back pain.
Arthritis in the spine occurs as age-related changes cause the wearing of cartilage layers. The height of intervertebral discs reduces with their desiccation. Degenerative changes at the facet joints cause loss of cushioning at the joints. This causes pain, particularly after the age of 45.
Piriformis syndrome in women is common due to pregnancy-related changes and hormone level fluctuation. The piriformis muscle gets inflamed and causes compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve. This pain radiates to the leg and makes routine activities painful.
Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain throughout the body. This happens usually after medical treatment, surgery, an accident, or psychological stress. The symptoms begin gradually and may not have a specific triggering event. The pain is also accompanied by fatigue, tension headaches, TMJ disorder, depression, or anxiety.
Women are likely to develop degenerative spondylolisthesis after the age of 50. One of the vertebrae slips forward over the other. This may or may not be accompanied by a fracture of the pars interarticularis. The spondylolisthesis causes increased pressure over the structures around the area involved. This results in pain in severe pain in the back along with leg pain if an exiting nerve root is compressed.
The sacroiliac joints in women differ vastly from men. The small joint surface area causes an increased concentration of pressure on the sacroiliac joints. Changes in strength and flexibility of the musculature around these joints in pregnancy often lead to dysfunction. The joints get maligned, the soft tissue structures are under unequal stress. Pain is usually in the lower back and can extend to the hips as well as thighs.
Back pain in women can happen at any age, beginning from teenage. The cause of back pain varies with the changes a woman’s body undergoes through various stages of life.
Pregnancy, birth, weight gain, weight loss, changes in hormone levels, can cause a myriad of symptoms related to back pain. A thorough examination and treatment can help in getting relief from back pain.
There are certain modalities like UST, TENS, Mannual therapy, Osteopathy and chiropractic in our physiotherapy center which will help in reducing pain.
Dr. Bhashkar Singh