New York Spine Institute Spine Services

Dysmenorrhea: What It Is and How to Treat It

Teresa C Bianchi

Dysmenorrhea: What It Is and How to Treat It

By: Teresa Bianchi, D.O.

Dr. Bianchi is a board-certified physician at New York Spine Institute’s pain management division. She specializes in interventional pain management, offering an array of treatment options while using the latest techniques with state-of-the-art technology.

A woman’s body experiences various changes every month as it goes through each stage of the menstrual cycle. If you feel back pain during your period, you could be dealing with dysmenorrhea. 

What Is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea is a medical term used to describe pain associated with your period. During your menses, your body releases a chemical called prostaglandin, which makes your uterus contract. When the uterus contracts strongly, it can cut off the oxygen supply to your muscle tissue, resulting in cramping and pain. 

Due to the prostaglandin release, you may feel discomfort and period pain in your lower abdomen, down your legs and in the lower back. Other symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, weakness, and nausea or vomiting. 

What Causes Dysmenorrhea?

There are two main types of dysmenorrhea — primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea refers to cramps and pain that are recurrent. Typically, you’d start experiencing pain a few days before your period starts or once you start bleeding. The pain is due to the natural release of prostaglandin and not any underlying diseases. 

Meanwhile, secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by a reproductive disorder. Here, the pain will typically start much earlier in the cycle. Also, unlike with primary dysmenorrhea, there usually aren’t any accompanying symptoms like fatigue or vomiting. There are several reproductive disorders that can cause this, including fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

How Do You Treat Dysmenorrhea? 

There are several different methods of treating lower back pain either before or during your period. One of the best ways to minimize dysmenorrhea’s effects is by consistently staying active. Here are a few other treatments that can ease your symptoms: 

  • Avoid drinking or eating foods that contain caffeine. 
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. 
  • Apply a heating pad to your lower back.
  • Gently massage your lower back.
  • Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen when your bleeding starts, as these can help minimize the effects of prostaglandins. 

Discover How Our Specialists Can Help

At the New York Spine Institute, we are proud to serve as one of the largest multispecialty spine and orthopedic centers in the tri-state area. We specialize in using a tailored approach so that each patient receives the compassionate, comprehensive care they deserve. 

If you’ve been dealing with lower back pain, visit our office to benefit from diagnostic tools and treatment options that can help relieve your symptoms. We have specialized divisions ranging from pain management to physical therapy, and you can trust that we’ll do what it takes to meet your specific needs.

Schedule an appointment today!