It’s estimated that more than 50% of women experience some degree of pain with their menstrual cycle. Period pain can be as simple as a mild ache for a few hours in the lower abdomen, or as crippling as agonising spasms combined with back and glute pain. The latter usually requires the use of over the counter drugs like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Napraxen - more commonly referred to as, Tylenol, Advil and Midol.
If your pain stays local to the abdomen, then it is most likely coming from the inner muscles of the womb which cramp to ultimately cause the bleed. The muscles may just be fatigued from working a little too hard. This is particularly common if you are deficient in some important nutrients like magnesium, potassium or iron. Leafy greens, nuts and chia seeds are a great source of all of these! However, if your pain affects your lower back, buttocks or hips, you may also have pelvic floor tightness or weakness (these two things can sometimes go together). This is particularly common in women that have recently given birth, but can effect just about every one.
Conventional pharmaceutical treatment for menstrual pain is either the use of drugs for pain relief or hormonal birth control. Although these measures may seem effective, they function to mask the symptoms at hand and not to address the root cause(s) such as:
Excessive muscular or fascial tension of the structures surrounding and associated with the female reproductive system
Uterine growths such as fibroids, ovarian cysts
Scarring of the uterine wall
Endometriosis - a condition where cells of the uterine lining migrate and grow outside of the ovaries, uterus and cervix
Lifestyle and dietary habits - stress, inactivity and poor diet
So, with all that in mind, how can Osteopathy help make your period less of a nightmare?
This gentle, non-invasive manual treatment helps relieve excessive tension that can contribute to menstrual dysfunction. Treatment is directed mainly at the head and neck, lower back, sacrum, pelvic floor muscles, diaphragm, digestive system and the liver. When these structures move freely and without restriction, the propensity for pain to exist is diminished. In the longer term, this translates to a reduced reliance on medications, which can have damaging effects to organs with long-term use.
We always recommend supporting treatments with some lifestyle and dietary changes, mainly:
Clean up our diet; minimise or eliminate processed foods and refined carbs
Like Mama always said “Eat your veggies”
Supplementing with Magnesium - it acts as a muscle relaxant
Red Raspberry Leaf tea (daily) - promote relaxation of the uterine walls
Supporting treatments such as Acupuncture, Naturopathy or Traditional Chinese Medicine may also be beneficial in some cases. If you’re struggling with painful periods, you’re not alone. Book online 24/7 or give us a call and see how our various treatments can help.