The typical causes of back pain in women

I’ve touched on this a few times now, so thought I’d put all of my ramblings together in one place.

Putting aside any specific injury, unexplained back pain is typically blamed on general wear and tear of the discs, bones, joints and ligaments of the spine and / or a “weak” core. And it presents quite differently in men and women, with “over 95% of women with back pain also having pelvic health issues.”*

With that in mind, it’s important to look globally (i.e. at your whole body) rather than just locally (i.e. at your lower back) when trying to find a solution. The factors most commonly at play are…

  • tension in the pelvic floor (i.e. an overactive or hypertonic pelvic floor)
  • scar tissue from a c-section delivery or from tears during a vaginal delivery
  • leaking / continence issues
  • constipation or other bowel issues (which diet has a significant impact on)
  • dysfunctional breathing & (lack of) mid back mobility
  • a “stuck” coccyx (your tailbone) and sacrum (the bit of your spine above it) that don’t move as they should
  • stress and inflammation in the body (and poor sleep is very much considered a stressor to the body)
  • plus more obvious factors like a sedentary lifestyle

Interestingly, there seems to be a time delay in the activation of the deep/transverse abs in women with persistent lower back pain and less movement of the diaphragm when breathing. But, with intervention & re-training, both of these core issues can be addressed.**

So if you’re suffering with back pain and the cause isn’t obvious it would be well worth exploring the above, ideally with the support of a women’s health physiotherapist. And I’m obviously here to support you from an ongoing movement perspective.

* Lyons, Michelle (2021)

** Hudani, Munira (2021), Diastasis Rectus Abdominis & The Postpartum Core

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