Although you might never look forward to that time of the month, regular menstrual cramps can make your period a drag, or even a debilitating pain in the back, literally. These following strategies can help bring relief.
1. Turn Up The Heat.
Take a hot bath, or place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower belly, just below your belly button. Those stick-on heat packs that you can find at Chemists shelves can work, too, if you don’t have time to sit at home. Heat opens vessels and improves blood flow, so pain dissipates.
2. Limit The Caffeine.
Women who have a lot of menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms should limit caffeine. That means no coffee or tea (unless it’s decaf) and no caffeinated sodas, energy drinks, or chocolate. Caffeine can constrict blood vessels, which can cause cramps.
3. Go Herbal.
Red raspberry leaf tea might reduce cramps. It may decrease bleeding, which can mean less cramping. Have a cup in the morning with breakfast or before you go to bed in the evening.
4. Indulge In Aromatherapy Massage.
Massages with lavender oil might be able to significantly reduce pain. Acupressure of the ear provided relief from cramps in teens. Massage also helps you relax, the more tense you are, the more you can cramp.
5. Over-The-Counter Pain Relief
Ibuprofen is your best friend, and is much more effective than naproxen sodium. Carry it with you at all times! When you know you’re due for your period, take some ibuprofen at night before bed, so that you don’t wake up in agony. If you’re looking for relief in the middle of intense cramp pain, it’s generally okay to take three pills instead of the recommended two, but definitely check with your doctor first.
6. Talk With Your Doctor.
If over-the-counter tablets don’t help, there are prescription-strength versions that your doctor can prescribe. If your pain is really debilitating, your doctor may recommend oral contraceptives for cramp relief. Oral contraceptives also work to relieve cramp pain.
7. Get Moving.
Regular aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up and makes you break out in a sweat is recommended. The better shape you’re in and the more physically active you are, the less likely you are to suffer from chronic aches and pains, including menstrual cramps. Exercise also releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins. They don’t take away your pain, but they can make it so you don’t care you have the pain.
8. Bend And Stretch With Yoga.
Yoga help with relief from cramps. Poses that target the pelvis and lumbar region, where period pain is the worst, may be the most helpful. Experiment with different yoga poses for pain relief, and talk with a yoga instructor about what might work best for you.
9. Hot Baths
Immersing yourself in hot water helps relieve all muscular tension, including menstrual cramping. It can also just help relax you mentally, which is important, too. Sometimes, intense or chronic pain stresses us out, which in turn makes us more tense, which worsens the physical pain, etc. It’s a vicious cycle! A hot bath helps you chill out, especially if you’re just waiting for your ibuprofen to kick in.