Dr. Mandi Murtaugh Physical Therapy + Yoga

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One Way to Ease Menstrual Cramps

I don’t know about you, but my periods have never been fun. I remember as a teenager being late to school because I was throwing up, my cramps were so bad. Once I was at camp and didn’t bring ibuprofen; the camp nurse would only give me one Tylenol every 6 hours. Needless to say, that did not cut it. I remember spending 3 miserable days with my head on the table in the Craft Shack, just wishing time would move faster.

It’s become more manageable over time, with the help of naturopaths and acupuncture and becoming more embodied. At times I have practiced gratitude for my bleeding, for the incredible way my body cleans itself out each month, and it actually made it pleasant (thanks to Tami Lynn Kent’s Wild Feminine for that inspiration). Then as I entered the world of TTC (trying to conceive) and subfertility, that became a little harder to do. It’s like insult to injury to be bleeding AND have cramps, when I am working so hard to just be pregnant.

But I digress! This post is NOT just a complaint against Aunt Flow. I do think she’s lovely, even when she feels like an unwanted guest. I want to share something that has helped me over the years to manage the discomfort during my moon-time: malasana.

I can’t tell you the exact mechanism of relief, but I can tell you it’s an excellent posture for relaxation of the pelvic floor, especially if you focus on releasing tension. Imagine your sitbones moving apart. Or your tailbone moving backward, even “wagging.” This is the first thing I recommend for my patients with pelvic or tailbone pain, too. And of course, it’s an excellent position for laboring (though not so hot for actual delivery since it’s correlated with an increased risk of tearing!).

The basic movement is simply a squat: heels down, butt down. I use my elbows with hands in prayer to push my knees apart and give more stability. Other options include having a block or bolster under your bum, having something under your heels if you have short calves, leaning against a wall, or leaning back while holding on to something stable like a doorway or sturdy table leg. Then just hang out. The more supported you are, the more you can relax your pelvic floor. Then, ahhh.

What tricks have you found to manage menstrual cramps? I’m always looking for more tips!