Pain during your period is very common, although how much you get and where you feel it varies. Usually, period pain is felt as muscle cramps in your tummy, but this pain can spread to your back and thighs, too.
One way to deal with period pain is by taking simple painkillers. But these aren’t suitable for everyone, and you may also want to try natural remedies for period-related back pain.
You can ask your doctor about options for treating your period pain. But here are 5 things you can try at home to help ease back pain during your period.
For a quick way to relieve back pain from your period, try applying a hot water bottle or a heat patch to your back. Place them over your clothing or a towel, rather than directly onto your skin, to avoid burning yourself. Other safety tips include:
- use warm, rather than boiling, water when applying heat to your body
- remove the heat after about 10 to 15 minutes
- don’t fall asleep while using heat treatment
Using heat can help to reduce pain, ease stiffness, increase circulation and relax your muscles. Taking a warm shower or bath is another way to get the benefits.
2. Relaxation and exercise
It may sound obvious, but don’t underestimate the power of relaxation. Activities such as yoga or Pilates, or taking a walk or a warm bath, can help you relax and take your mind off the pain.
Keeping active may also reduce pain (just don’t overdo it, as this can make back pain worse). Try doing some gentle exercise during your period, such as walking, cycling or swimming. Exercising shouldn’t make the pain worse, so if it does, speak to your doctor.
3. Changes to your diet
It’s thought that inflammation can be a cause of back pain during your period – and one way to help reduce inflammation is to make changes to what you eat. Caffeine, salty and fatty foods can make period symptoms worse, so avoid these. Try to drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables, which may help lower inflammation and so ease that lower back pain.
Massage is another option for natural pain relief, and it’s easy to do at home. Try lightly massaging your back and tummy in circular motions to help reduce the pain – or even better, ask a partner to do this for you.
5. Acupuncture and acupressure
Acupuncture and acupressure are therapies that are used to help reduce pain by applying pressure to certain areas of the body, either with needles or massage.Some studies have found that they help to reduce period pain – although more research is needed before we can be sure that they’re effective.
A final drug-free option for period-related back pain is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). This involves a small machine that sends mild electrical signals to your skin in the area where you have pain. If you’d like to try a TENS machine, ask your pharmacist for advice.
If you have a lot of pain during your period, it's getting worse or stops you doing daily activities, speak to your doctor.
- it’s quite common to get back pain during your period
- painkillers aren’t the only option for easing the pain
- safely applying heat can soothe your back
- relaxation and exercise can help to distract you from the pain
- eating a healthy diet during your period may help to reduce pain