Easy Solutions for Naturally Relieving Cramps
So that time of the month has come around again. The headaches, the body aches, the weakness and nausea . . . no, I’m not talking about the flu. I’m talking about your period.
I have at least one good day where I am down for the count every month. All I can do the entire day is lay on the couch, curl up real tight with a blanket and watch TV, short of having to run to the bathroom every ten minutes or so.
My cramps are so bad, I can’t think, I can’t eat, and I definitely have no desire to get up and move around. But you know what, after years of dealing with this annoying time of the month, I had to do some research into some way to make this torture stop.
Of course you could use Midol, Pamprin, or some other water weight/cramp relieving medication on the market. I have even been known to dose up with Nyquil and go to sleep.
But for those of you trying to keep medications out of your system, trying to be healthier, or like me, trying to get pregnant and staying as far away from medications as I can, there are plenty of natural remedies to relieve the pains you are feeling every month.
If you can get yourself off of the couch, let’s look at some of the easy ways to make those cramps either go away, or at least ebb enough to be productive with your day.
You’ll be really surprised how much better you will feel.
What is normally your remedy for cramps?
Plenty of Sleep
To start off with, your body was preparing for a potential pregnancy that didn’t happen, and now it needs to shed all of that unwanted preparation for a fresh start the next month. That’s where the cramps and body aches are coming from.
The sheer blood loss itself can cause your head to ache and can make you weak and tired. And who’s going to be in a good mood when they are hurting all over, bleeding, and sleepy?
Your body is in a very vulnerable state during this time of the month. When you are sick, your body needs plenty of sleep to heal and recover. There’s nothing different about this situation.
Getting extra sleep will help your body to handle the shedding process that much easier, and relieve you of many of the aches and pains you would have experienced.
From simple sleep, they will likely not disappear altogether, but will at least give you a head start on getting through this period of time that much easier.
Let’s look at some more of your options that will also help.
Having green tea as part of your daily routine would be a healthy addition to any diet. Green tea has been proven to add valuable vitamins and minerals that aid in everything from fighting cancer to helping your heart.
Regardless of whether you are using it to help with your cramps and other PMS symptoms, you are helping your body to be that much healthier.
However, tea is a great way to not only soothe menstrual cramps, but also body aches, and headaches naturally.
The heat of the tea warms your body providing the heat needed to soothe the hurting parts. And the healthful contents of the tea provide the vitamins and minerals needed to soothe the muscles causing the cramps.
Glycine is an amino acid that relaxes the uterus and helps to ease the spasmodic contractions that cause pain. Hippurate is a natural anti-inflammatory. The combination of these two compounds helps to remedy the pre-menstrual discomfort that a significant number of women experience.
There's another advantage to sipping hot tea for menstrual cramps. It helps to ease the anxiety and pre-menstrual tension so common in the days before a period starts.
Hot tea is a source of a unique flavonoid called apigenin that helps to relax the mind and body as effectively as some prescription anti-anxiety medications. (Yahoo Shine)
Although, I would highly suggest a caffeine-free version, as caffeine has its own disadvantages.
Give yourself a leg up on menstrual cramps and the other symptoms that come alongside them. Don’t just drink hot tea, but add cinnamon and ginger to your hot drink and experience the properties of each of these herbs that specifically tackle the pains that you are feeling.
Both of these have been used for years to tackle cold and flu symptoms, but they also soothe the symptoms of cramping and anxiety. (Healthline)
I really like Apple Cinnamon tea or Ginger tea. There are even hot teas on the market that are specifically designed, and labeled, for helping with cramps with these ingredients, and even more, already in them.
And these herbs don’t have to be in your drink to work for you. Ginger and cinnamon can be added to just about any kind of food it sounds good with and will have the same effect.
A Good Diet
Although I realize that if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you’re not going to be hungry.
I know that when I’m hurting, the last thing I could possibly want is to eat anything, besides maybe a cracker or two.
But there are some specific foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, just like your hot tea above, that can ease your pain and give you your day back. If I had only known in the past that eating could actually help, I might have tried it.
I’m not suggesting that you go out and get yourself a steak and mashed potatoes or anything, but maybe a handful of nuts or seeds might get you started in the right direction.
Walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds are rich in manganese, which is one of the nutrients your body needs to relax and let go of the strong contractions causing you all of the pain. Sesame seeds are also great as they are packed with much needed calcium.
Maybe then you could move into some brown rice, which contains B6. This will reduce your bloating, and that full, have to go to the bathroom feeling that keeps you getting up off of the couch.
Or you could have some hummus, made from chickpeas that are full of nutrients that will help to give you a good night’s sleep and will lift your mood.
For dinner, consider some chicken or fish with some leafy greens, which all contain the valuable iron lost during menstruation that makes you feel weak and tired.
Top your salad with vinegar and olive oil, and give yourself a side dish of steamed broccoli, all of which contain vitamin E. You’ll be back to your old self in no time!
And here’s some good news. If you’re craving chocolate, have some. Dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa will help to relax your muscles, and it’s good for you too! (Healthline)
Plenty of Water
I shouldn’t have to tell you this. Plenty of water, like sleep when you’re sick or weak, is one of the cure-alls for just about any symptoms.
As your body is made up of a great deal of water, it needs plenty of water to fuel itself and stay healthy.
Plenty of water will give your brain the water it needs and will relieve your headache. It will fuel your muscles and lessen the pain you are feeling, and it will even give you the valuable energy you need to get up off of the couch and prepare for this next way to start feeling better.
By giving yourself water, you will be healthier, have the fuel to help your body work as it should, and will heal faster, feeling better all the way.
Another great way to beat those cramps and other body aches is to go on a walk. Get up off of the couch and get some exercise.
It doesn’t have to be the gym or anything crazy like running a few miles or racing your bicycle. Just go for a leisurely walk around the block, or get up and go to a low energy step class in the morning.
Just moving about will increase the blood flow to your whole body, including your reproductive organs. This is great for your head, your back, your limbs, your stomach, and any other part of your body that is aching at this time of the month.
Also enjoy the stress relief and relaxation that comes from getting your blood flowing, getting more oxygen to every part of your body, and getting outside for some much needed sun and fresh air.
Although exercise is probably the very last thing you could possibly want to do when you don’t feel good, you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel once you do.
If all else fails, you still have some options without having to turn to medication to make yourself feel better.
When I’m feeling like this, one of the best ways to get some relief, and even prepare myself for a great night’s sleep, is a nice hot bath at the end of the day.
Just as hot tea, and all of the other options, provide some relief, relax my muscles, and provide some stress relief, in a hot bath I can just sit back, let the heat and steam surround me, release the tightness all over me, and almost put me to sleep.
You could even take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and add some fresh tea, Epsom salt, bubble bath, or other luxuries to really make it great.
Have some sprite or champagne in a wine glass, take your favorite book, and turn on some relaxing music. How often do you get to spoil yourself like this after all?
I find yoga is great for relaxing me and my body as well. You could go to a late afternoon or evening yoga class, or practice yoga in your home before bed.
Yoga will warm up and stretch out your muscles, calm your mind, and even put you to sleep quickly if you use the right yoga positions.
It’s a much calmer, slower type of exercise that is specifically intended to do all of these things for you.
If you’ve never tried it before, I highly recommend it!
Finally, if no other option has worked, which would be extremely surprising, bust out the heating pad.
If you have aches through the night, like your stomach or your back, put a heating pad on medium heat in that area while you are sleeping for all night relief.
Obviously a heating pad can be used all day long at any point in time, along with all of these other options, but a heating pad will only encourage you to sit on the couch and feel sorry for yourself all day long.
At night, you can use it to soothe yourself when you can’t really do anything else. The constant heat may just relax you enough throughout the night, that you can sleep all the way through without disruptance and be just fine I the morning.
Wouldn’t that be great!
There are already so many medications being pumped into our systems every day for so many reasons.
We take pills for headaches, muscles aches, stomachaches, fever, cramps, anxiety, depression, too much energy, not enough energy, sleepiness, sleeplessness, coughs, sneezes, stuffy noses, tingling limbs and other extremities, eating too much, not eating enough, etc.
Why would you want to put more chemicals into your body if you don’t have to?
When wonderful things like getting good sleep, hot tea, hot baths and good food will do the trick, there’s no reason to pop a pill.
I hope this article gave you some good ideas for feeling better and getting back to your old self, even during the dreaded week of pain every month.
You shouldn’t have to feel bad, be stuck on the couch, or be miserable, even for a day. And you don’t have to with all of these great options at your disposal.
So get off the couch and go enjoy life! Good luck!
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© 2014 Victoria Van Ness