Menstrual pain or menstrual cramps is a common phenomenon in girls and women of reproductive age. This pain is medically termed as dysmenorrhea and develops due to high levels of the hormone prostaglandins. This hormone is responsible for triggering the contraction of the muscles of the intestinal and uterine walls. Menstrual pain is usually experienced in the pelvic region, lower abdomen, upper legs, and lower back and peaks during the first day of menstruation. Several exercises can help in getting relief from this pain:
- Aerobic exercises: Aerobic exercises are a great way to reduce menstrual pain, especially in the first few days. Certain exercises like running, dancing, and spinning can be beneficial because they not only increase blood circulation in the body but also make one feel better as they stimulate the secretion of endorphin, the hormone that helps to enhance the mood.
- Yoga: Yoga is an ancient form of exercise, and its beneficial impact on the body and mind are well-known. Yoga reduces menstrual pain by increasing oxygenation in the muscles, and it also alleviates the feelings of depression and anxiety, which often accompany the pain. Certain yoga postures are recommended for relieving pain and easing menstrual discomfort as they stretch the spine, thigh, and groin. The postures alleviate discomfort during menstruation, improve digestion, improve one’s posture, and strengthen the knees, calves, and hamstrings. While considering all this, the postures of yoga must be learned and performed only under a trained yoga practitioner.
- Stretching: Stretching is another great way to reduce menstrual pain and cramps. It is beneficial in reducing back pain, and it also acts as a stress reliever.
- Small workouts: In case one is not able to perform high-intensity exercises or yoga, even small workouts like walking can reduce the pain caused by menstruation. Small workouts can enhance the blood flow and cause the pain to subside.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a great way to get relief from the pain and discomfort associated with menstruation. It is a natural way to treat the body and has no unwanted side effects if done under proper supervision. Acupuncture reduces pain by promoting blood circulation, inhibiting inflammation, and maintaining a proper hormonal balance in the body. At the psychological level, it reduces anxiety and enhances the mood by stimulating the release of endorphins.
- Relax the body: One can get relief from the pain caused by menstruation by gently massaging parts of the lower abdomen as this reduces muscle tension. A hot water bag can also be placed on the pelvic region to get relief from the pain.
Women of reproductive age can get relief from pain during menstruation that causes great discomfort, both at the physical and psychological levels and adversely affects daily life. Several exercises and workout regimens like yoga and acupuncture can alleviate menstrual pain, but one must consult an expert practitioner before starting them to avoid any injury and side effects.