The Relationship Between Endometriosis, Back Pain & Pelvic Pain.

Did you know back and pelvic pain can be a sign of endometriosis? Possibly not.

Many women show signs of endometriosis long before they are diagnosed and one of the signs can be lower back and pelvic pain.

The easiest way to understand endometriosis is to start by thinking of the cells in the uterus that bleed with your normal menstrual cycle. In endometriosis, cells like these can be found in areas outside the uterus. Most commonly they are found in the pelvic cavity – near the ovaries, bowel, and other pelvic structures but they can be found outside the pelvic cavity. When your body releases the hormones that tell your body to have a period, all of these cells are impacted. Over time the cumulative effect of this is that adhesions can be seen around the pelvic organs (bladder, bowel, uterus) and these adhesions can create tension and tightness and can also impact fertility.

This can result not only in increased tightness and tension in the tissues in the pelvis but also increased inflammation and irritation which can send some muscles, like your pelvic floor, into spasm. Because the pelvic floor muscles attach onto the hips and pelvic bones, spasm or altered muscle tone in the pelvic floor can change the alignment of the pelvis and hips which can have a significant impact on the lower back and how much load it is subjected to. This, in turn, would also impact your core stability and ability to stabilise your hips, pelvis and lower back throughout movement.

Adhesions can impact the nerve and blood vessel pathways and this can also effect how well the muscles function and contribute to pain.

Signs of endometriosis can include:

  • heavy or long periods
  • bad period pain
  • fertility issues
  • painful/uncomfortable intercourse/pelvic exams
  • chronic anaemia
  • back and pelvic pain

These are just a few of the signs of endometriosis. It’s important to understand that there can be a huge variation in women’s experiences with endometriosis. Some may have been dealing with significant pain and discomfort for some time while others may have had no symptoms at all and only discovered they had endometriosis when they started trying to have a family.

If you have any of the signs of endometriosis we would encourage you to discuss them with your doctor.

Women’s health physios can be an extremely important part of the management of endometriosis as we can help treat muscle spasm and tissue tightness in the pelvic floor and retraining surrounding areas.

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