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Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterised by mood swings, swollen abdomen, headaches, back pain, food cravings, fatigue, irritability or depression in the days before a woman’s monthly period. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild to incapacitating and may last from a couple of days to two weeks.
It has been estimated that three out of every four menstruating women experience some form of PMS, and it is more likely to trouble women from their late 20s to early 40s. Between 10-20% of all women experience symptoms that are severe or even disabling.
There are several contributing factors that may have an effect on the level of discomfort experienced, these include:
Nutritional – Having a balanced and healthy diet is important at all times. Some women can experience cravings during the time of their period which may be due to deficiencies somewhere in the diet exacerbated further by menstruation. Low iron levels are commonly found in women with heavy periods and can also contribute to feelings of lethargy and irritability.
Hormonal – Symptoms have often been thought to be related to abnormal levels of oestrogens and progesterone. These are the two main hormones involved in the cyclical control of the reproductive cycle. Treatment aimed at restoring these levels to normal is often shown to have limited effect.
Biomechanical – In many cases dysfunction within the lower part of the spine can contribute to symptoms. It may interfere with the nerve signal supplying the reproductive organs or lead to muscular tightness and spasm often more acutely felt around the time of your period.
This dysfunction may occur for several reasons; it may be due to trauma to the area, poor posture or as a compensation for problems elsewhere in the body.
Conventional Treatment of PMS
Although Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Massage care cannot fix the way your body responds to the hormonal changes that precede menstruation, several studies have shown that it can help decrease many of the symptoms of PMS without the potential side effects of prescription drugs. Since the nerves that exit the lower back are responsible for regulating all of the tissues in the lower abdomen, any pressure or irritation that can be alleviated through treatment can be helpful. We can help correct your body’s areas of biomechanical dysfunction and also give nutritional advice.
However there may also be medical reasons behind severe PMS, as primary health care professionals our practitioners are trained to recognise when referral and co –management may be needed. At Back Pain Centre Sunderland our Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists provide a safe and natural form of treatment and many women find great relief. PMS can be very frustrating for both the sufferer and their family. Why not come down to the clinic to see what we can do to make that time of the month a bit easier.
The information provided is for general guidance only and must not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.