Co-authored by Rachel Eyre from The Healthy Womb
Rachel recently invited me to have an informal Skype chat on her YouTube channel to discuss how to sit with better posture. Rachel had made a connection between posture and period pain. When I first shared the video a friend joked "a man advising on period pain?!!!" It did make me smile, and I would never be so presumptuous, but guys burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the problem isn't helpful either. So I thought it would be a great opportunity for Rachel to share her experience here and link it with one of my previous blogs on sitting well, which I like to call standing on your bottom.
Over to Rachel:
There are several causes of period pain, and one of the biggest ones I see is a structural issue also known as a wondering womb. This is where the uterus is no longer in her optimal position, she can be too far forwards, backwards, to one side or another and even flexed over in either of these positions.
Image created by Rachael Weisman and used with permission by Rachel Eyre.
This doesn't cause us any kind of noticeable pain for most of the month as she is empty, but when she is at her most full (usually the week before and first few days of the bleed), the extra volume and weight (2-5 oz in most women or even 9-11 oz if you have fibroids too) can cause some very noticeable symptoms:
- Lower back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Pain or numbness down one or both legs
- Change in bowel movements (constipation, loose stools or pencil thin stools)
- A dragging sensation or increased need to urinate
- Darker, thicker blood at the beginning or end of the bleed.
And that isn't all, the womb is surrounded by four ligaments on each side holding her in place and if she is out of alignment, then the side she is on will have congestion and the other side the ligaments will be pulled tight causing other pain.
In some women, the womb cannot right herself at all as adhesions form and so she has to contract more to try and empty herself each month which leads to very painful cramps.
There are a number of ways to work with these symptoms such as fertility massage, castor oil packs, heat packs and steams. But one of the things that would help the most is stopping the root cause of the issue.
So why are more women getting these symptoms? Over the last few decades, many women are now at a desk all day or seated for long periods of time and more often than not they are sat in the wrong position which causes these changes in the pelvic organs.
Learning to sit properly will help open up the pelvic space to allow the organs to move into and stay in their optimal position.
My blog on sitting correctly was originally posted here.
The Alexander Technique has been clinically proven for back pain via an NHS funded, gold standard randomised trial. It was performed by Southampton University and their results were published in the British Medical Journal.
It is also endorsed by Backcare.org.uk, a lottery funded organisation.
World wide resource for the Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique: www.alexandertechnique.co.uk