Acupuncture relieves period pain…
I need to start this post with a sentence that might shock many women.
Period pain is not normal. It might be common, but it is not normal.
Pain of any kind is a type of body signal, telling you something is wrong.
If this was understood more clearly, it wouldn’t be taking on average 11 years to diagnose endometriosis, a pelvic pain condition that is characterised by period pain.
The thing is though, period pain is not usually fatal. Women can and have lived their whole lives with period pain.
Unless you’re quality of life is severely diminished or you are having trouble conceiving, there aren’t a lot of mainstream treatments available to you, other than pain medication or the oral contraceptive.
Both have side effects and aren’t ideal if you’re trying to conceive.
From a Chinese medicine point of view, the arrival and the flow of your period occurs due to a number of carefully orchestrated blood and energy movements.
Anything that affects these blood and energy movements can result in pain.
There are a number of patterns of period pain we treat depending on your pain presentation.
For example, a cold, twisting type of period pain that comes on with your period, which is alleviated by a warm shower or wheat heat bag is a cold type of period pain. The cold constricts blood vessels, causing pain when blood tries to move.
Another example is a type of dropping, severe ache type of period pain, which worsens a day or two after your period. You have a blood deficient type of period pain. Your body doesn’t have enough vital essences and is aching in pain with the loss of more blood.
Last one, a stabbing, severe fixed pain that comes and goes even starting the day before your period is due is a type of blood stagnation pain. Blood is not moving as it should through your pelvis and so when it needs to move for your period to arrive, it gets stuck and causes pain.
There are others, but these are the main patterns I see. There are treatment methods for each of these type, depending on the rest of your presentation.
Acupuncture, used with a type of warming herb can warm the pelvis, alleviate pain, improve pelvic blood flow and circulation to alleviate period pain.
Some patterns respond really quickly and some take time. Dietary factors make a big impact too, as does your level of exercise and emotional wellbeing.
Research has found that acupuncture and moxibustion are effective, safe and cost effective treatment options for period pain with long term health changes.
Besides acupuncture, there are a couple of natural things you can do to treat period pain:
- Warmth – a bath, wheat heat bag, hot water bottle
- Keep your feet warm – warm feet helps pelvic blood flow
- Keep your abdomen and low back warm (avoid midriff tops and layer up with singlets)
- Take a good quality, practitioner brand magnesium, zinc and fish oils – all show great results in reducing period pain
- Eat really good quality, warm, cooked nourishing foods
- Castor oil packs
- Eliminate cold breakfasts, cold smoothies, ice cream, juices and sorbets from your diet for at least 6 months
- Eliminate dairy – dairy has been found to cause inflammation that worsens period pain
Keep in mind that your period acts as a kind of report card for your month of health.
If you’ve been eating a sugar loaded, alcohol filled, fatty food filled, dairy filled diet, sat on the couch all month and neglected your health, you will experience a worse period.
Give the healthy tips a go. If they don’t make a change within three months, get in touch with me and we’ll start making some more specific changes.
You may in fact have endometriosis, which could require surgery. You can still implement these health tips and seek acupuncture treatments for pain management and support as well as seek medical care from a medical specialist.
Don’t accept that you will forever experience period pain.
Registered Acupuncture and Owner of The Point of Wellbeing, a Gold Coast acupuncture clinic dedicated to supporting women’s health, fertility and pregnancy…naturally!