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7 reasons women experience more back pain then men

Why are there a number of back pain issues to - which women are more susceptible?

There are also some factors which mean women or people with a uterus may be more susceptible to back pain becoming a chronic condition.

Some conditions are exclusive to women or persons with a uterus. And a great many problems typically begin to appear post-menopause. Read on to find out which ones and why.

In this article we will be discussing some of the most common causes of back pain in women, the reasons why they occur and some of the tools women can use to manage and prevent chronic back pain.

If you have been listening to the series I have been doing on back pain you will be familiar with the idea that multiple factors affect our experience of pain. This includes our biology and genetics, social conditions, exercise and information processing in the brain.

And for women, there are a number of other things to consider which are hormones, puberty, reproductive status and menstrual cycle which also affect pain threshold and perception.

Conditions which primarily affect women and why:

Piriformis syndrome

This is a painful condition caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve near the piriformis muscle. The nerve and the muscle travel through the same opening side by side in the pelvis, their proximity to one another being why the issue might arise. It is also rare but not unheard of that the nerve might actually travel through the muscle.


This condition is more common in women but the answer is not really clear as to why.

Typically we hear people complain of "sciatica" — which is usually described as a, sharp, severe, radiating pain from the lower back or buttock down the back of the leg and into the thigh, calf, and foot.


  • pain or numbness radiating from the sacrum to the bum and down the back of the leg.

  • pain improves with movement- and gets worse with prolonged sitting.

  • sciatica-type pain when the hip is moved and rotated outward against resistance.

If you suspect you might have piriformis syndrome visit a musculoskeletal expert to get is properly assessed and then begin to rehabilitate.

Sacroiliac joint disfunction

50-80% of women experience back pain during pregnancy and dysfunction of the SI joint is a common cause of that pain.

The sacroiliac joint is where the sacrum, the large, triangular bone at the bottom of the spine, meets the ilium, the largest elephant ear shaped bones, the uppermost part of the hipbone. This joint is held together by strong ligaments that allow just a small amount of movement.

Women are 8-10 times more likely to experience sacroiliac joint disfunction then men, due to anatomical factors as well as body chemistry.


Women have one fewer sacral segments than men to lock into the pelvis and stabilise it. This gives more space enabling persons with a uterus to birth children.

Women have wider hips than men, which increases torque across the SI joint when walking or running. This, too, is related to having children.

The sacroiliac joint surfaces are shallower than men’s, which also diminishes the stability of the joint.

Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy and lactation can all make ligaments more flexible this is so guessed it, people with a uterus can bear children. This can leave the SI joint very mobile, and when joints are overly mobile it causes surrounding muscles to tighten up in order to compensate which can cause pain and inflammation.


  • A sharp, stabbing pain that radiates from your hips and pelvis up to the lower back and down to the thighs.

  • Sometimes it may feel numb or tingly, or as if your legs are about to buckle.

Spinal osteoarthritis