Severe lower back pain during period

Lower back pain is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome, which affects the majority of women during their periods. It isn’t usually serious, however, if you have an underlying condition, such as dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, fibroids or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, you may develop severe lower back pain during your periods. 

Causes of severe back pain during your period

Severe lower back pain during your periods is often caused by problems with your reproductive system. Common causes include:

PMS (premenstrual syndrome)

Symptoms of PMS usually occur for a week leading up to your periods and stop once your period starts. Common symptoms include: 

PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder)

PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) refers to severe PMS symptoms that affect your ability to perform your usual activities. Common PMDD symptoms include:


Dysmenorrhea causes very painful period cramps as your womb contracts more than normal. Other common symptoms include:

  • Headaches or lightheadedness
  • Lower back pain that may spread down your legs and up your back
  • Nausea, diarrhoea and/or vomiting


Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue similar to the lining of your womb (endometrium) starts to grow elsewhere and attaches to other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes. This can cause scarring and affect your organs. Common symptoms include:

  • Longer and/or heavier periods
  • Pain during and after sex
  • Severe, chronic (long-term) pelvic pain outside of your periods
  • Severe period pain with lower back pain — back pain caused by endometriosis may feel different than back pain caused by dysmenorrhea, PMS or PMDD

Treatment for severe back pain

Severe lower back pain during your period can be treated by taking over-the-counter painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs a few days before your period starts. If this isn’t enough to relieve your pain, see your GP.

Abdominal cramps can worsen your lower back pain. You can ease your cramps by applying a heat pack, taking a warm shower or bath, having a massage, exercising or trying relaxation techniques (eg breathing exercises).

Ways to prevent severe back pain during your period

Period pain and lower back pain during your period can be made worse by certain lifestyle habits. To reduce and/or better manage your pain, you can therefore try following a healthy diet, staying hydrated, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and foods high in salt, and quitting smoking

Vitamin B and magnesium supplements can also help relieve pain during your periods. However, you should speak to your GP before taking any supplements. 

Severe lower back pain during period FAQs

How painful is dysmenorrhea?

Pain from dysmenorrhea varies in intensity. For some women, the pain is mild and lasts only one to two days. For others the pain persists for the duration of their period and is so severe that they can’t perform their usual daily activities. 

When should you go to the hospital for severe period cramps?

If your period pain is so severe that you are doubled over in pain, fainting or vomiting, call NHS 111. They will talk to you about your symptoms and may suggest you go to hospital. 

Why is my period pain unbearable?

Severe period pain can be caused by a variety of underlying health conditions, such as endometriosis, fibroids or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (a severe form of PMS). 

Do periods get more painful with age?

Some women develop more painful and/or heavier periods after age 40. If your period pain is affecting your quality of life or you are concerned, see your GP. 

We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

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Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.