Period cramps cramp our style. Period. Menstrual cramps can bring pain to your lower abdomen, your lower back, and even your legs. You might also experience constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or headaches. If you’re like me, this pain can be debilitating, forcing you to stop your whole day because your body physically won’t let you do anything but cry. And we all know this is not an exaggeration. We aren’t weak; we just got dealt a hand full of queens, which is pretty good in poker, just not the best. Thankfully there are ways to help ease pain and cramping during your period. One of the best ways to relieve pain is exercise. Today I’ll teach you the exercise/stretching routine I use to roll away my period pain using the Chirp Wheel.
First, let’s learn a little bit about why women experience pain and muscle cramping during their periods and how myofascial release with the Chirp Wheel can help.
What causes period cramps and muscle and joint pain during your cycle?
Long story short, too many hormones and sometimes not enough hormones can cause cramps and aching throughout your body. One example of this is prostaglandins.Prostaglandins, which are what contact your uterus to give you your period, can enter into your bloodstream and cause lower back pain and aching in your legs. It can even cause headaches. Another possible cause of cramping is if your body doesn’t have enough magnesium. Whatever the cause, massage and exercise can help ease the pain.
How can foam rolling with the Chirp Wheel help?
Why does the Chirp Wheel help ease pain caused by your period? Massaging your muscles with the wheel will increase blood flow through those muscles, promoting healing and increasing oxygen to your sore muscles to drive out muscle waste that is the source of your pain. And, even the light exercise you are doing by rolling on the wheel will increase endorphins in your body, giving you energy and helping you feel better.
How to use the wheel to reduce pain from menstrual cramps
Use a yoga mat or a soft surface to roll on. It’s best to use the Deep Tissue 6” Chirp Wheel+ for these exercises. At any time during the routine if you feel a muscle knot, stop over that spot and apply a gentle pressure or roll over that spot. Take your time. If one exercise feels great for relieving your pain, feel free to spend more time there. You can also experiment with the wheel for yourself by rolling over your sore muscles that are affected by your period, such as your calves. Every exercise in this routine might not be right for your period pain. Pick your favorite ones and do those! Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
1. Start by rolling out. Use any size wheel to begin your routine and roll out the muscles on your back. Doing this first will help loosen and warm up your muscles so you can get a deeper massage as you continue your routine.
2. Lumbar relief. Instead of directly rolling on your lower back, roll on your muscles on your sides. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, leaning back on your hands for support. Lift your midsection up and place the wheel under your side. Using your feet and hands as anchors to apply the right amount of pressure, roll over your side gently. You’ll start to feel some relief if you experience period pain in your lower back.
3. Sacrum release. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your midsection up as you place the wheel under your sacrum (tailbone). Placing the wheel below your lower back at your tailbone will feel the best. Let your knees fall in and let your arms rest on the ground and relax. There is no need to move in this position, just let your body sink into the ground.
4. Glutes release. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, leaning back on your hands for support. Lift your midsection up and place the wheel under your left butt cheek. Roll back and forth. Do this on both sides.
5. Side glutes release. Start on your right side with your right hand supporting your upper body. Keep your right leg straight and step your left leg over your right leg for support. With your left hand, place the wheel under your hip. Rolling back and forth will help release tension in your glutes. Do this on both sides. You can even lift your right leg off the ground for a deeper stretch.
6. Piriformis release. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, leaning back on your hands for support. Lift your midsection up and place the wheel under your left butt cheek. Bend your right leg and place your foot on the left knee. This will reach deeper into your piriformis muscle. Roll back and forth. Do this on both sides.
7. Hip flexor release. Start on your hands and knees. Place the wheel below your left hip. Rest down on the wheel by bending your right leg and bring it forward so your shin is still parallel to your body. Curl your left toes under and roll back and forth. You can use your hands or forearms for support. You can also try a stationary position and bend your left leg so there is a bit more pressure on your muscles. Do this on both sides.
8. Hamstring release. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, leaning back on your hands for support. Lift your midsection up and straighten your left leg as you place the wheel under your left thigh. Roll back and forth from your butt to your knee (avoid rolling directly under your knee; stop just above your knee joint). Do this on both sides.
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Menstrual cramps. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/symptoms-causes/syc-20374938
Medline Plus. (2020). Period pain. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/periodpain.html
Thornton, E. (2020). Periods and aching joints and muscles. Retrieved from https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/periods/symptoms/aching-muscles/