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Stretching for Menstrual Cramps

Stretch it out!

Menstrual cramping, or dysmenorrhea, is a painful condition in which the uterus contracts rhythmically in order to expel blood and other menstrual tissue. Caused by the release of prostaglandins, a hormone produced by the body that leads to muscle spasms, cramping generally begins 1-2 days before the start of the menstrual period and continues for 2-4 days. Research suggests that about 50% of women suffer from this type of pain, and up to 90% of adolescent girls experience cramping.

Stretching to Relieve Menstrual Cramps


  • 1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and touch the left hand to the left foot, while holding the right arm straight up in the air. Repeat with opposite hand and foot, doing several repetitions.
  • 2. Sit on the floor and press the soles of your feet together in front of you, making a diamond pattern with your legs. Try to keep the sides of your knees near the floor. Lean forward as you breathe out, then return to the starting position as you breathe in. Repeat several times.
  • 3. Sit on your heels on the floor with your legs folded and your knees straight in front of you. Bend slowly forward until your chest touches your knees and your forehead touches the floor while stretching your arms out straight behind you. Hold the pose for a few minutes and breathe normally.

Why It Works

There are three muscles (the iliopsoas) on both sides of the pelvis running from the lower spine to the upper thigh. Tight iliopsoas are thought to contribute to menstrual cramping, so stretching these muscles may help relieve the pain.


If your cramps persist after trying comfort measures, contact your healthcare provider to rule out an underlying condition.

More Remedies


This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Be aware that many of the techniques and remedies published on this site have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Use of these remedies in connection with other medications can cause severe adverse reactions. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

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