Menstrual Cramps: Dysmenorrhea Relief

Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) can really be a pain. Premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps can be an annoying discomfort but for some women the throbbing and cramping pains in the lower abdomen can be so intense that it interferes with everyday life.  In either extreme, PMS can be reduced by looking for the underlying “Issue with the Tissue”.

Now, I personally have never experienced menstrual cramping, nor will I ever.  But I do sympathize with the female gender.  Not only that, but us guys can be caught in the whirlwind of this monthly cycle (oh the wrath, right fellas).  This blog is an attempt to help both genders reduce and manage the monthly battle of menstrual cramps.

The uterus contracts monthly to expel its lining.  There are hormones that help to initiate contractions of the uterine muscles.  These contractions can begin to constrict the blood vessels of the pelvic floor and abdominal wall which will starve the tissue of oxygen and nutrients.  Starving the muscles of their metabolic needs will in turn create, or perpetuate Trigger Points.  I say perpetuate because chances are there are already plenty of TrPs in the entire torso region of both female and male due to poor posture, incorrect exercise, length sitting, and overuse from compensation.

If you are currently experiencing menstrual cramping, there are some gentle natural remedies to help you survive this month.  The goal is to educate the female reader on how to prevent the intense cramping for the upcoming cycles.  I will present both the “rehab” and “prehab” methods.

First, it is important to understand that Trigger Points are often responsible for experiencing symptoms of disease and itis’s, but it is not always the case.  Sometimes there is an underlying disease that could be responsible for activating Trigger Points.  It is more likely that the dysmenorrhea is Somatovisceral which means to experience pains and symptoms of the organs that are not actually there.  On the converse, Vicerosomatic is when disease of the organs creates pains and symptoms that are referred to other areas of the body, making it seem to be musculature in nature.  If you do not get relief from the methods of this blog, please seek medical attention to be thoroughly checked out.  

The Rehab for Menstrual Cramps:

If you are currently having menstrual cramps and are seeking a natural and holistic remedy to the pain, this section is for you.  Please try to use the Prehab section once you are done with this month’s cycle.

  1. Drink more water.  This will keep the blood plasma high to help blood flow easier.  
  2. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Tobacco.  These toxins will constrict blood vessels making the uterine contractions more intense.
  3. Exercise.  Studies have shown that exercise will help circulation, thus making PMS less painful.
  4. Put a warm cloth or heating pad on your Pubis area.  Warming the lower abdominal area will help to open the blood vessels that are being constricted due to the hormones involved and due to the active Trigger Points in the area.
  5. Do these gentle hatha yoga poses.  There are some body positions that naturally open the low back, pelvic floor, and abdominal wall.  Opening and lengthening these areas of the body will promote circulation which reduce the constriction of flow and deactivate TrPs, thus reducing the pains from dysmenorrhea.

Downward Facing DogDownward Dog - Menstrual Cramping Relief

Upward Facing DogUpward Facing Dog - Menstrual Cramping Relief

BridgeBridge - Menstrual Cramping Relief

Gentle Spinal TwistGentle Spinal Twist - Menstrual Cramping Relief

Knee-to-Head Forward BendKnee to Head Forward Bend - Menstrual Cramping Relief

PigeonPigeon - Menstrual Cramping Relief

Cat/Camel (cat/cow)Cat - Menstrual Cramping ReliefCow - Menstrual Cramping Relief

Child’s PoseChild's Pose - Menstrual Cramping Relief

Special thanks to Gillian Taylor for providing the beautiful yoga photos!  Check out more from Gillian on her website and on Instagram @gilliantayloryoga

The Prehab for Menstrual Cramps:

Prehab is slang for pre-habilitation.  We know the best medicine is preventive medicine, and this holds true for dysmenorrhea.  The P-Knot philosophy is to look for the cause (s) of a symptom (s) and use Self Myofascial Release (SMR) as a modality to assist in alleviating the symptom (s) by healing the cause (s).  

The pelvic floor, abdominal wall, and the entire trunk or torso consists of muscles and fascia that function to protect and facilitate the organs within.  These muscles are crucial to human movement, but we are sometimes blinded to the fact that they also promote a lot of visceral and physiological functions too. Both human movement and visceral processes are subject to inefficiencies due to poor postural tendencies.  Trigger Points will create a multitude of symptoms that seem to be strictly viscerally related.  This Somatovisceral phenomenon sends us running to medicine cabinet or worse it sends us off to the Doctor for diagnosis and treatment of the symptom.  In the case of menstrual cramps, it is quick and easy to first rule out the more likely cause, especially in the weeks before PMS strikes.

When SMR is performed, and Trigger Points are found, it does not necessarily mean that there is not a deeper underlying issue.  However, if you have done the TrP therapy and the upcoming menstrual cycle reveals a less intense episode of cramping, or perhaps there is no pain at all, then Trigger Points are the cause to your symptom.  If you are doing the due diligence to prevent or lessen the symptoms of menstrual cramping, and find that when  your cycle hits there is no change in the cramping pain, please be seen by your Doctor or Gynecologist.  Please note that it is much more likely that you will notice a positive result by doing your PMS prehab work, as TrPs are more often than not the cause of the symptoms.  

The Trunk or Torso section of your body is very congested with vitals.  Trigger Points will entrap blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic pathways which will manifest symptoms.  If these Trigger Points are constantly active and the vitals are not able to function properly, then disease can manifest over time.  Doing the prehab work will not only alleviate and lessen the symptoms of menstrual cramping, but it very well can prevent a future visceral issue.  SMR can be uncomfortable and even on the side of painful when performing, but one must decide to either pay now or pay later.

Below is a list of muscles to perform SMR during the weeks leading up to PMS.  Adding the Rehab routine afterwards will increase positive results, but it is not necessary.  Doing this Prehab section during the menstrual cramping is not advised, however more experienced users of the modality have reported no negative results.  My suggestion during the menstrual cramping is to stick to the Rehab portion, and add the Self Myofascial Release to the upper or lower parts of your body to improve general posture and circulation.

Grab your P-Knot or other Self Myofascial Release tool and get started.

  • Internal Abdominal Oblique:  Important for protecting and supporting the organs.  It is also provides the function of intra-abdominal breathing which is that deep breathing pressure utilized when we defecate, sneeze, cough, give birth, or any other “pushing” or “bracing”.
  • External Abdominal Oblique:  Important for moving the upper torso away from the midline.  It also protects and supports the organs, provides abdominal pressure, and is used in forced breathing.
  • Transversus Abdominis:  Important for forced expiration, urination, defecation, vomiting, coughing, sneezing, and giving birth.  This is the deepest of all the abdominal wall muscles and supports those muscles in their functions.
  • Rectus Abdominis:  Important for flexing the lower thoracic spine and lumbar spine.  
  • Pyramidalis:  Important for creating the tension in the linea alba (the fascia that splits your left and right rectus abdominis) to stabilize the torso during flexion.
  • Deep Pelvic Floor:  Important for protecting the pelvic organs.  This group of little muscles are the foundation for the continence and functioning of the bowels, bladder, sexual arousal, reproduction, and respiration.

Here is a video tutorial of the where you should P-Knot

Now that you have insight into managing your menstrual cramps it is up to you to take action.  Remember, pay now or pay later.  

Be Well, folks.  Thanks for reading.  Please leave comments with questions or feedback to help improve the blog!

Ps If any gentleman are reading this, encouraging the Prehab will benefit you as well, but it would be wiser to participate yourself.  These areas contribute to many cross gender symptoms but specifically to us males, TrPs can cause the symptoms of impotence, erectile dysfunction, and decreased libido.  

Happy P-Knotting!!

Again, thanks to Gillian Taylor for providing the beautiful yoga photos! Check out more from Gillian on her website and on Instagram @gilliantayloryoga

Ethan Plante
Ethan Plante

Ethan's primary role is educating P-Knotters. His favorite P-Knot Move is the Grab and Pull in the hamstrings from a deficit using a UniSphere.

One thought on “Menstrual Cramps: Dysmenorrhea Relief

  1. Jen says:

    These p-knot and yoga moves have really helped me, especially the video. I never made the connection that my cramps were also causing knots throughout my entire abdomen and pelvic floor (it seems obvious now!) and after adding these exercises a few days before, during and after cramps I am able to go about my day instead of being sick in bed! I still take some ibuprofen when cramps are especially bad, but I take much less on the days that I do the exercises. It can be hard at first to P-knot these areas if they are really tight and if you haven’t done it before (especially when you just want to stay curled up in a ball) but stick with it! If you make the “s” sound shown in the video it will help you “sink” into the P-knot faster. I remember trying something similar to this with a lacrosse ball before and it wasn’t large enough to make much impact, the P-knot is the perfect size and hardness for these menstrual cramp exercises. Thanks P-knot!

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