You will be very surprised to know that there are a set of unique conditions that are more common in women than men. Why? Because their anatomy and childbirth make them prone to developing back pain and back pain-related problems.
These are common in the post-menopausal period (after 50 years). A recent study reported that back pain in women are likely to develop into a chronic condition than men.
So, let us look at the 5 Main causes of Back Pain in Women:
This is also known as ‘Tail-Bone pain’. Usually there is a history of a fall directly on to the bottom of your spine from a fall. As the coccyx bone (tail bone) bears your weight while sitting, injury to this bone can cause pain while sitting.
The most special feature of this pain is the worsening of the pain while you get up from the sitting position. This is due to the muscle and ligament attachments to this tail bone that pulls the tail bone when you getting up from the sitting position.
2) Sacroiliac joint Dysfunction:
This is the area where your spine meets your hip bone (pelvis). There is a joint called the ‘sacro-illiac joint’ on either side of the spine that connects to the pelvis. In women, these joints are much smaller than men and therefore, the stress across these joints are concentrated in a very small area. The small of your back called the ‘sacrum’ is so different in women than in men. It is wider in women, tilted backward, uneven and less curved.
This presents with a dull ache over your buttock on the affected side, sharp pain down the thigh, in addition to low back pain. It gets worse when you are sitting, lying on the affected side or while you trying to climb the stairs.
3) Piriformis Syndrome:
This is a large muscle in the shape of a fan, deep inside your pelvis and comes out under your buttock to connect to the hip. It helps in rotating your hip while walking. This muscle goes into a spasm due to injury, excessive sports or gym work that can cause a tear in the muscle. Women are more affected due to the pregnancy and hormone related changes in pregnancy.
Injury and spasm of the piriformis can cause irritation or compression of your sciatic nerve. This can cause pain shooting down your leg. Other symptoms that you may experience are pain when you get out of bed, pain in the hip and buttock area that becomes worse by hip movements. You may not be able to sit for longer periods of time.
4) Osteoarthritis of the Spine:
This term actually means that the small joints called ‘facet joints’ that link both the bones of your spine are inflamed due to the wear and tear of the linings of the joints. This cartilage lining provides the cushion for the joints to slide and let you perform the smooth and gliding movements with your spine. In this condition, there is breakdown of the fibrous cartilage lining of these joints. This condition is also known as ‘facet joint arthritis’ of the spine. They all mean the same thing.
You will find that your back stiffens with pain in the morning as you get up from bed. There is pain on one side of your back and there is usually a very tender spot when you press around this painful area. This pain worsens while arching backwards and you will find some relief when you bend forwards.
5) Degenerative Spondylolisthesis:
Here the bone of your spine slips over the one below it. This condition is common in women after menopause or after 50 years. During this period, your body will not be able to produce the hormone called Oestrogen. Oestrogen is a chemical in your body that is necessary to maintain pregnancy and other aspects of womanhood. A decrease in the level of this hormone causes loosening of the ligaments that hold your spine together. It also increases the rate of wear and tear in your soft cushions (discs) between your spine. This leads to ‘disc degeneration’. A combination of disc degeneration, loosening of your spine and arthritis causes what is called ‘degenerative spondylolisthesis’.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis causes lower back pain that travels down your legs. There will be pain while walking and the distance that you can walk before you get the pain in your legs becomes shorter. This is called ‘claudication’. The pain gets better when you bend forwards.
These are the 5 most common back pain conditions that affect women and at Spine Surgeon London we have all the expertise to manage and treat your pain effectively.