The Best Stretches To Relieve Period Pain

People who menstruate are all too familiar with the struggles that come with that particular time of the month when our uteruses are shedding their lining. Many experience pain in their backs and lower bellies. Some may experience bloating and changes in mood, while for others, there could even be difficulty sleeping (via Cleveland Clinic). None of this sounds thrilling, does it? 

Sadly, period pain is something that affects most menstruating people. Your inclination during this time of the month might be to curl up in a ball and shut off the world, but exercise is known to be an effective form of pain relief, according to Healthline. You might be wondering how you can get yourself out of bed and fight the wave of exhaustion and lethargy that tends to accompany the pain, but the benefits are clear: Light forms of exercise result in better moods, the release of endorphins, and less physical discomfort.

Yoga poses are great for relieving period-related cramps. In fact, most forms of exercises that promote stretching are a good way to alleviate pain, per Always. Try the following stretches which also double as yoga poses and see if they help. 

Try these seated stretches to relieve period pain

The wide-legged forward bend is a great exercise to help with period pain (via Shape). Sit yourself down on a comfortable mat or pillow and stretch your legs as wide apart as you can. Bring your hands over your head, keeping them side by side while inhaling deeply. Slowly bring your arms in front of you as you bend forward, exhaling as you do so. Place your palms on the floor and bring your forehead towards the floor as well. Try not to let your knees roll in toward you — they should be facing up. Stay in this pose for 1 minute. 

This pose, which is also known as Upavishta Konasana in yoga terminology, is known to energize the abdominal area (via Ekhart Yoga). 

The head-to-knee pose is another great seated stretch that helps relieve period pain, according to Shape. Sit down on a comfortable surface, bring your legs together in front of you, and stretch them out with your toes pointing toward the ceiling, per Yoga Shala. Then, bend your right knee and bring your foot close to you and place it somewhere close to your inner left thigh. Lift your arms over your head while inhaling deeply. While exhaling, lower yourself gently forward, leaning over your outstretched leg. You can cup the soles of your feet if your mobility allows, or just place your palms on the mat.

Try these stretches standing up

When it comes to stretches that you can do while standing, the forward bend is one that's as straightforward and simple as it sounds. On a soft surface, stand firmly with your feet close together and leave your hands by your sides (via Shape). Loosen and bend your knees just a little before bending forward with your hips over your legs, per Yoga Journal. Your hands can be positioned wherever it's comfortable, either touching your feet or on the floor. Shape recommends staying in the pose for a minute. Also known as Uttanasana in yoga, the forward bend is a great stretch for stretching out your backs, shoulders, and glutes, reports Yoga Journal. 

Supported half-moon is another good stretch that is known to relieve period pain, according to Shape. Position your left side against a wall and stand up straight on a mat. Bend forward slowly with your left leg planted firmly on the floor and your right leg lifting off the mat up near your hip, reaching your left hand toward the mat. Stay in this position for 30 seconds, remembering to keep your lifted right foot flexed. Come back to starting position and do the same with your other leg. 

All of these stretches may need you to make up your mind to fight through the pain while you do them, but you might be pleased at the end of them because they're sure to help you get rid of those period cramps