Back pain in women can be both similar or different to that experienced by men. Many conditions affect both sexes equally and produce the exact same symptomology. However, there are some back pain conditions that are unique to women. It is important that women understand how back ache can be related to their gender, as well as their individual situations in life.
Female back pain, as a separate entity from general symptoms, must be considered to be caused or contributed to by a gender-specific factor. This limits the possibilities to the menstrual cycle, childbirth and hormonal concerns. It is crucial to remember that women can be stricken with all the usual suspects which are known to source dorsopathy. In these cases, there may be some gender-specific therapies which statistically work better for women. It is always advised to talk to your doctor about how being a woman may play a role in the causation and/or treatment of your pain.
This resource section provides full coverage of all the back pain issues that specifically affect females.
Women are less likely to develop work-related herniated discs, degenerative disc disease or muscular injuries than men. This is primarily due to the difference in traditional gender roles in the workplace. Men generally have taken the majority of manual labor jobs in society. However, the workplace is changing fast and the growth rate for women in labor jobs is increasing every year. Women need to be aware that repetitive motion jobs may put their backs under tremendous pressure. It is crucial to understand the risks of any vocation, in order to minimize the potential negative consequences.
It seems a given that medical professionals can expect to see far more physical back injuries in women as more and more female workers fill career positions once held almost exclusively by males. This has already become very apparent over the past 2 decades as the number of women in the armed forces has increased exponentially and the rate of military back pain in women has also risen.
Neck pain in women is slightly more common than it is in men for various possible reasons. Neck pain is known to often be caused by emotional stress, as is back pain. TMS research shows more men to have psychological symptoms in the lower back, while women are more likely to suffer them in the neck. There is no known reason why this occurs.
Women's back pain factors are often a combination of physical, psychological and societal contributors.
Breast cancer back pain can be a direct result of the disease or a side effect of the treatments. It is not uncommon for cancer to be linked to a chronic pain condition due to anatomical, systemic or emotional reasons.
Osteoporosis is far more common in women than in men. Females are also generally at risk for developing low bone density earlier in life and live longer. Women do not traditionally partake in skeletal loading resistance training to the same extent as males. Women’s bones are naturally thinner and lighter. Osteoporosis might be genetically transferred more easily in women than in men. All these reasons make osteoporosis a real problem for the ladies.
Pregnancy back pain is a normal part of giving birth. The stress caused by physical changes in the proud mom-to-be can cause her body some real pain, particularly in the third trimester. Luckily, most cases of pregnancy-related back ache end with the birth of the precious child, although some might develop into ongoing problematic concerns.
Large breast back pain can be a lifelong affliction for some women. The constant stress that heavy breasts put on the spine can cause postural and skeletal changes, as well as serious pain. Symptoms might express themselves in the neck, shoulders, upper back, middle back or lower back, depending on build, height, posture and other factors.
Back pain relief bras can help to support weighty breasts, reducing the symptoms of breast-related back pain for some women. Other women might require breast reduction surgery to achieve substantial and lasting resolution of their agony. However, this is an operation with many considerable downsides, so careful consideration is advised.
Fibromyalgia is far more common in young women than in men. This is one of the reasons why many doctors speculate that this is a hormonally-based illness. Regardless of the true cause, fibromyalgia can make life hell for the millions affected with this mysterious disease. Back pain in women is just one of the many tortures of this horrific disorder.
The menstrual cycle can cause minor muscular back pain. It is common for women to experience lower back pain during their period. It is also common for these symptoms to possibly change monthly. Dealing with back pain during their period can be a real problem for a huge number of women.
Arthritis in the spine affects women and men. However, due to their naturally lighter skeletal frames, women often suffer worse effects than men. This is especially true when the patient has both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis together.
Ok, so I am not a woman. I do have quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to a woman’s health requirements. I have always believed that a woman has the abilities to stand up for herself in the martial arts and perform as well, if not better, than any man. In order for me to be an effective teacher, I also had to become a student of that which I was unfamiliar with.
In my case, I had to learn all about the physical strengths and weaknesses of a woman’s anatomy compared to my own. I took this job very seriously and it paid off. Many of my female students have commented that my understanding of techniques from a female point of view was refreshing and enlightening. In the past, they had instructors who did not take their abilities seriously. I can honestly say that some of my best students are women.
Women do have special needs. In the case of back pain, they are much more of a target for some varieties, yet are spared others. It is important for a woman to understand the requirements of her body and to do everything to keep herself fit and healthy. It is becoming an increasingly gender mixed world in the workplace. When it comes to back pain in women, there are still some gender-specific concerns that must be addressed.
I recently had the privilege of attending a complementary medicine conference in which research was mentioned that proved how women responded about 31% better to many forms of alternative back pain treatment, such as acupuncture, yoga, massage, reiki and other modalities. There was no reason provided for this drastic improvement over the results seen in men, but it was speculated that women are more in tune with their mindbody connections than many men and therefore seem to respond better to these less formal and traditional medical methods of care. Regardless of the explanation, women are advised to learn more about alternative treatment, since they may benefit greatly from even the most conservative types of therapy.
Read my interview with Dr. Christina Lasich, a specialist who focuses on back pain in women here.
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