Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Low Back Pain -- etiology; Musculoskeletal System -- injuries; Gonadal Steroid Hormones


The increased participation by females in athletics over the past decade, both competitively and leisurely, has brought attention to the number and severity of acquired injuries. Females tend to suffer a greater number of injuries than their male counterparts, and low back pain is also more prevalent in this population. Research is just beginning to focus on female athletes as their own separate entity. The female reproductive hormones have been targeted as a possible cause of many injuries secondary to the chemical and physical changes that occur with their fluctuations.

The purpose of this literature review is to identify the effects of the female steroid hormones on low back pain and injuries that occur in the female athlete. This is accomplished by reviewing the physiology of the female hormonal cycles, the involvement of the hormones with low back pain in the athletic population, and relating the presence or absence of endogenous hormones to injury rate.

The findings conclude that significant research is still required in this area of study before further conclusions may be drawn. This review will benefit therapists in the post-injury and preventative treatment of athletes as programs are designed for female patients with athletic injuries.