Dr Neil Gardner, Gleaner Writer
Many persons are aware that chiropractic care is excellent for the treatment of many musculoskeletal problems like headaches, neck or back pains. They are often surprised to find out just how many other benign conditions tend to respond to chiropractic care, of which, premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain) are but two such conditions.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is defined as a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms women may experience usually seven to 14 days before menstruation. The symptoms may include fatigue, headache, water retention (bloating), breast tenderness, irritability, depression, tension, anxiety, and mood swings.
Dysmenorrhea, defined as pain during menses that interferes with daily activities, and PMS affect many women. The pain ranges from mild to severe abdominal and/or low back pain. Some women have symptoms so debilitating that they have to withdraw completely from all forms of social activities and have to stay home from work or school. Symptoms may last anywhere from a few hours to days.
Dysmenorrhea may be classified as either primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea results from strong contractions of the uterus during menses and may be due to excess weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle and stress. Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by other disorders of the female reproductive system such as endometriosis, fibromas and pelvic inflammatory disease. Every woman of child-bearing age must have regular consultations with her gynaecologist.
Many of my female patients with low back pain tend also to experience painful flare-ups and severe abdominal cramping during their menses, but why?
The uterus is a muscle and all muscles require a nerve supply for proper function. Many persons who have suffered a fall or a car accident, may experience bone misalignment, resulting in nerve interference. Nerves that exit the low back control organs for digestion and reproduction, which includes the uterus. Interference of these nerves may be at the heart of the menstrual difficulties that many women suffer from.
What to do
If a woman suffers from either of these two conditions, it is imperative that the function of the spine and nerves is assessed and determine whether there exists any interference to the nerves in the low back. If it can be demonstrated that such a problem exists, then it is possible that a chiropractor may be able to help.
Just to be clear, a chiropractor does not set out to cure or relieve any particular ailment. What he/she aims to do is to ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system via the spinal column. Having said that, many researchers have now concluded: chiropractic care may be an effective and safe non-invasive, non-surgical and non-drug therapeutic intervention for the treatment of women with PMS or menstrual pain.
Neil Gardner, DC, DACNB, Diplomate, American Chiropractic Neurology Board, is a chiropractic neurologist, Gardner Chiropractic & Neurology Ltd. Website: www.gcnjamaica.com. Phone: 876-978-1050-1 or: 876-622-9241 or: 214-432-5464 (From the USA).