Dysmenorrhea means painful menstruation, and can include or be associated with menstrual cramps, bloating, back pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular periods, and more.
Since I began practicing in 1983, I have had the opportunity to treat many women with disabling low back pain, pelvic pain and cramping, that was associated with their menstrual periods. In the first years of my practice, I treated a 26 year-old woman who had suffered for 13 years with low back and pelvic pain that was so severe that she had to be in bed for 2-3 days each month. She actually had come to me for treatment of her neck pain that had been caused by a car accident. In less than a month she began to have periods with no pain. No pain. And with no medication; not even over-the-counter. That’s when she brought the helium balloons with hearts on them, to the office in thanks.
With this success, and many others, I foolishly assumed that word would spread and that women who suffered would question that their suffering was inevitable, and maybe do something about it. Like I said, “foolishly”. Today I have a better idea of the power of engrained cultural beliefs. It is rare that women seek treatment for dysmenorrhea. Instead, they live with it or try to cover the pain with drugs.