Often described as “hellish” and “torture,” many women dread their time of the month. There are many emotional and physical symptoms that come during this time, including menstrual cramps which vary in intensity. Many women experience dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation, which can prevent them from performing daily activities. This medical condition has been extensively studied, but no two researches agree on the proper treatment.
Menstrual cramps come from contractions in the uterus, the organ in which the baby grows and develops during pregnancy. If the woman is not pregnant, the organ contracts to help shed off the lining. If it contracts too strongly, it presses against nearby blood vessels which cuts off the vessel’s oxygen supply. Pain is felt when the muscle loses this supply.
Standard treatment options for dysmenorrhea include pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and a heating pad. However, new research studies the use of massage therapy in alleviating symptoms related to menstrual pain.
This may come across as contradicting at first as massage involves applying pressure to certain areas. The thought of putting pressure on an already painful area may send women running in the opposite direction. However, one must remember that massage soothes tense muscles. The actual procedure may be initially painful, but this will be lessened over time. A skilled masseuse will be able to find the correct pressure areas that will significantly lessen the amount of pain felt by the chronic contractions.
However, should the pain be severe or debilitating, women should seek the advice of a medical professional.