Women's Sports Health Program
Back Pain

Back pain is a very general term used to describe pain occurring on the back side of your body, which may include the upper back (thoracic spine), the lower back (lumbar spine), or a combination of the two.

It may also include varying patterns of leg pain. An episode of back pain is usually short term and most people make an excellent recovery in 1-2 months. There are many reasons back pain can occur in women, some contributing factors may be specific to women.

Contributing Factors


  • Mobility limitations
  • Flexibility limitations
  • Repetitive movement patterns
  • Weakness in varying locations
  • Acute/New injury
  • Overuse/Chronic injury
  • Lack of movement or activity


  • Specific to female patients: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)/menstrual cycle/hormonal changes, pregnancy, endometriosis
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection, kidney stone
  • Digestive tract influences: diverticulitis, pancreatitis, stomach ulcer


  • Stress
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of movement
  • Impact of ongoing or chronic pain on motivation or negative feelings about your pai


Pain may be in the middle along the spine, on one side in a small or large area, or on both sides in a small or large area. Pain may be present in the low back and radiate into one or both legs or it may only be present in the leg. You may also experience the sensation of numbness or tingling in the back or leg(s) rather than pain.

When to see a health professional

  • When pain is present consistently or is interfering with your daily activities, including wellness and sport activities
  • If pain is recreated by practice or game environments
  • If pain or symptoms are reproduced with prolonged positioning or specific movements
  • If there was a known injury
  • Any illness symptoms- fever, chills, unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Pain that is constant, severe, and/or progressing
  • Pain that does not change with position changes
  • Pain that does not change with over-the-counter or prescribed treatments
  • Any changes to sensation, bowel/bladder control, and/or weakness in the legs


Typically the best prevention for back pain is to maintain an active lifestyle. Being mindful to the volume/amount of activity is also important, especially with participation in sports. Appropriate recovery, adequate nutrition, and enough sleep are necessary for your body to perform at its best. Well-rounded strengthening programs form a balance within the body to improve movement patterns and improve physical performance. A warm-up should be performed prior to athletic or sport activity to reduce injury risk, and appropriate mobility work should be included after an activity, which may include stretching.

After an injury, it is important to return to activity appropriately. This should be guided by a healthcare professional to reduce the risk of re-injury or a transition to a chronic, ongoing problem. 

Sports Health Hotline

  • Have a sports injury? Want to enhance your training? Have questions? Contact one of our Sports Health Navigators.

    They are certified and licensed athletic trainers with the experience and knowledge to answer questions, give helpful advice, recommend treatments and programs, and set up appointments with one of our sports health specialists - fast.

  • Click to
    Contact us