Stretch exercises to help support your cycle-related back pain
Movement is a natural pain reliever. No seriously. Here are five exercises that will help your back during your menstrual discomfort.
Aside from natural menstrual products, yoga is well known for being a form of natural period pain relief. One of our favorite stretches for period cramps is the Supine Twist. This yoga pose is great for releasing tension in the lower back during your menstrual discomfort.
There are a few options for this depending on your body’s natural flexibility (don’t try and push yourself past your body’s limits in this exercise – you don’t have to be the bendiest body in the room, no matter what those yoga instructor IG accounts say…).
Start the exercise by lying on your back and hug your knees towards your chest, hammocking them with your hands. You can take some yoga practice movements from side-to-side to start.
Release your arms and bring them out into a T-shape, palms facing up. Lower both knees down to one side and bring your gaze to the opposite side (so if your knees lower to the right, gaze towards your left hand).
Release the right leg down and keep the left knee towards your chest. Remove your left hand and extend it out to the left, palm facing up; then use your right hand to guide your left knee towards the right hand side.
If the yoga pose feels right in your body, cross your right knee over the left and extend your arms into a T-shape, palms facing up. Lower the knees to the left hand side (you can use your palm to gently push down on your right hip, if there’s space to).
If your knees don’t touch the floor, you can use a pillow or something similarly soft to raise the floor to meet them. Stay for as long as feels good for your lower back pain and repeat on the other side.
For this restorative pose, lie down and bring the soles of your feet up towards your butt, resting them flat on the floor so your knees are pointing up to the ceiling.
Extend your arms down by your sides, palms on the floor.
Slowly lift your hips up to the ceiling and place either a yoga block or a few stacked pillows underneath your hips. The sweet spot is right in the middle, lower down than the bottom of your spine but not quite your butt.
If you’re using a yoga block, you can place it on any side depending on how high you’d like to rest.
In this yoga practice, stay for as long as feels good – remember when you come out of the restorative pose to gently remove the support and lower down slowly.
Bring the knees towards the chest and roll from side to side to release.
Supported Reclined Butterfly
Sit up and bring the soles of your feet together. Your knees might be able to touch the floor, but if they don’t, feel free to grab a pillow or blanket and place underneath each knee to raise the floor to meet them.
Using either a soft, cylindrical bolster or a blanket rolled up, place on the floor behind your butt and gently lower down so it’s running up your spine.
Rest your hands on the floor either side of your body, or rest one hand on your heart and the other on your belly.
Try to release any tension that you might be holding in your glutes – it will make more space for your lower back.
Not as weird as the name suggests, we promise.
Lie down on the floor and simply extend your arms and legs up to the ceiling, both as straight as feels comfortable.
This applies a gentle pressure on your spine.
Stay for as long as feels comfortable and feel free to rotate your wrists and ankles while you’re there.
One of the best stretches for period cramps is lying down. Seriously. Give yourself permission to simply lie down, arms and legs slightly wide, taking up as much space as you need. This pose can help with period anxiety and period fatigue.
Sure, you could do this on a bed, but a mat on the floor is ideal as the harder surface is more supportive for your back.
Stay for as long as feels necessary - we recommend soft lighting and a deep mood playlist.
Your hormones can be complex and unpredictable. That’s why we’re here, on The Regular, to do what’s long overdue - to demystify what’s going on with our reproductive systems, our hormones and our whole cycle.
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