Women And Back Pain: Prevention And Relief

Back pain typically occurs due to injuries to the muscles and other structures of the spine. It can be agonizing and make everyday activities difficult including walking, sitting and bending. The root cause of back pain in women varies based on a variety of factors, but generally are similar quite similar between men and women.

The causes of back pain for women are plentiful and can include the following:

Herniated Disc

Regular physical activity and improperly lifting heavy objects can cause one or more of the discs in the spine to herniate, or slip out of place. This is common for women who carry around heavy loads such as children with improper technique.

When a herniated disc is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve, a distinctive set of symptoms occur. Sciatica symptoms include sharp pains that shoot from the lower back, down to the hips, the buttocks and the back of the leg. Some sciatica sufferers have complained of numbness and tingling, a burning pain and weakness the legs. Some women with a compressed sciatic nerve have reported symptoms of loss of control of the bowels and bladder.

Women living with back pain due to a slipped disc typically suffer from symptoms localized on one side of the body, but the symptoms generally dissipate over time. 

Muscle Imbalances

Women with breasts that are too large in relation to their body size are also more likely to complain of back pain because the weight of the chest pulls the body forward in an unnatural position, causing the spine out of alignment. This problem can also lead to poor posture, which contributes to back pain.

The good news is that this problem can be alleviated for many women through exercise. Exercises and stretches like yoga and Pilates only work when the movements are accurate and can contribute to an improved posture. Additionally, using more supportive bras can help reduce the pull of the breasts on the back muscles and spine.


Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. This lining can grow in a variety of places surrounding the reproductive organs, including on the ovaries. In some instances the lining grows on the bladder or the bowels. If left untreated the tissue can become a ‘growth’ or a tumor. Most of the time these growths are benign—not cancerous—but they can cause severe back pain in women, heavier than normal menstrual cycles and in extreme cases, infertility. It should be noted however, that the severity of the pain women with endometriosis experience has no relation of the severity of the condition.


Women who are pregnant find that back pain is one symptom they must deal with until after childbirth. Weight gain is the predominant symptom of pregnancy due to the growing human inside a woman’s body. Some women report gaining as much as 23 kilos (50 pounds) throughout a pregnancy and this weight gain can place the spine and back muscles under tremendous pressure.

Physicians recommend pregnant women who are experiencing back pain, maintain a schedule of light physical activity to relieve the pain and strengthen the back muscles. Low impact activities such as yoga or swimming can be highly effective for women suffering from back pain due to pregnancy.

Pregnant women will find that the only cure for back pain is childbirth. However pain relief can be found in the form of massage therapy and improved nutrition.

High Heels & Bad Back Pain

It is a common joke among women that “beauty is pain” and in that spirit one has to wonder if unnaturally high shoes contribute to back pain in women. High heels and stilettos place the legs, feet and lower back into an unnatural position that distorts the spine and gait.

Even though there are universal causes of back pain across genders, factors like unusually high heels can contribute to or aggravate existing back pain. Although men are unlikely to walk around in heels, uncomfortable shoes that alter the gait or posture can cause back pain.

Learn more about how to treat back pain and get a free copy of our book, The 7 Day Back Pain Cure.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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