For most women, menstruation is an unavoidable monthly annoyance. For some, it’s also accompanied by severe menstrual cramps, lower back pain, and other debilitating symptoms. If you’re one of the unlucky reproductive-age women who experience extreme menstrual cycle pain, don’t despair!

There are plenty of ways to reduce period pain and make your menstrual symptoms more bearable. While everyone experiences pain differently, here are 23 period pain relief tips for dealing with menstrual cycle discomforts.

How to Manage Menstrual Cramps

I’ve had my fair share of periods. Some were more painful than others, but no matter what kind they were always annoying as heck! The one thing that never changed from one period to another? The fact that you can’t wait until it’s over with these proven ways:

I have painful cramps now

1. Use heat packs

Get your body warm and put some heat on your stomach and/or lower back.

We don’t need a doctor or a study to prove this works because any woman down the street would probably share this tip with you, but it helps to understand why it works, as Mayo Clinic women’s health specialist Dr.Jackie Thielen says: 

“The uterus is a muscle, so anything that helps relax muscles, like applying heat, can be beneficial, Thielen says.

How I do it: 

I get 2 Wheat bags or hot water bottles; one for my stomach and one for my lower back. I wear a singlet and tracksuit pants – and shove the heat packs between my singlet and tracksuit pants, so my skin doesn’t get too hot. If I am traveling or have to be at work – I use stick-on heat patches and stick them onto my singlet, front and back.

2. Get in a bath

If you’ve got a bath, take 20 mins for yourself to have one and supercharge it with Epsom Salts, Magnesium Chloride, or both. Why 20 mins? That is the time it takes for the solution to get through the lipid barrier on your skin and into your body. If you don’t have a bath, get those salts on your skin.

3. Put magnesium on your skin

Doctors call it “transdermal magnesium,” and you can buy it in a lotion, gel, cream, spray, or you can make your own. Put it over the skin where you have menstrual cramps, but avoid any cuts or rashes as it can really sting.

“Magnesium is classed as “nature’s tranquilizer” and “servers as a natural muscle relaxant, making it useful for relieving such symptoms as muscle cramping.”

How I do it: I use my homemade magnesium spray and apply it to my stomach and lower back. On the first day of my menstrual periods, my thighs really hurt, so I put it there too.

4. Drink chamomile or ginger herbal teas

Have a hot drink that will relax your muscles and your mind.

Studies show that menstrual pain can be soothed by taking warm tea made from chamomile flowers and others, like ginger. You might already have powdered ginger in your spice rack or minced ginger in your fridge.

“Even just one-eighth of a teaspoon of ginger powder three times per day dropped severe pain from an eight to a six on a scale of one to ten, and down further to a three in the second month. ” Michael Greger

5. Take painkillers 

It is great to go natural, but once you are already having period pain, the prostaglandins that have triggered your cramps are already going crazy – that’s why if you know from prior periods you get bad menstrual cramping, take pain killers as soon as your period has started and before the prostaglandins build up. Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications are known to reduce prostaglandins and muscle contractions.

I want to have less pain and cramps next period

6. Recognize your uterus is a muscle, and it’s gonna cramp.

If you dream about never having period cramps – it’s time to shift focus to period cramp reduction rather than elimination. Recognize that the menstrual cramps result from the uterine lining shredding – so plan to do more things that will help rather than hinder it.

7. Stop smoking

There is an association between cigarette smoking and menstrual cramps/dysmenorrhea. The adverse effects of tobacco support dysmenorrhea prevention plans and emphasize the need for health intervention programs in females. Therefore, quitting smoking can help reduce painful periods and other period symptoms.

8. Invest in a period pain TENS machine

The Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes. You attach the pads directly onto your skin, and when it’s turned on, you will feel mild electrical impulses delivered through them which can reduce pain signals going up into our brain- this may help relieve some types of aches and pains!

A review on TENs for dysmenorrhea treatment presents the clinical recommendations of using this technique to relieve menstrual cramps, based on previously published studies about it! The evidence suggests that TENS is an effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea and premenstrual syndrome. 

9. Go shopping for your supplies

What’s more frustrating than running out of supplies when you need them most? You can avoid this problem by taking an inventory and making sure that any ingredients for your home remedies and medications to treat menstrual cramps are replenished.


How to Manage Period Back Pain

Some women experience low-back pain ranging from subtle annoyance to debilitating during menstruation. The type of severity experienced is typically located on the center portion near your spine and will begin a few days prior to the cycle, usually subside afterward without fail. Good news for most ladies here: this kind of discomfort does not last long at all and is manageable.


I have low back pain now

10. Exercise

Do you know those pain-causing prostaglandins that cause all your pain? Aerobic exercises can actually help clear them faster. Plus, they help boost the production of feel-good endorphins and lower stress which goes a long way toward helping you feel better overall!

Research suggests aiming for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times per week. Consider adding some lower back exercises also.

Have you ever felt the soothing effects of yoga during your monthly cycle? Many women believe that it can help ease menstrual pain and bloating while also inducing tranquil Zen feelings. A study found some evidence to suggest this, but more clinical trials are needed before we come up with any conclusions! However, if there’s one thing I know about my fellow menstruators…they love trying new things, so go ahead anyway.

11. Get a massage

Massage therapy offers substantial pain relief for most lower back problems, including period back pain. Massage techniques focused on the lower back and glutes can help minimize the pressure in your lower back, thus relieving severe pain. These include foot massage techniques and compression massage techniques.

12. Try aromatherapy

The use of essential oils is an effective way of treating premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including back pain and menstrual distress.

I recommend using oils in several ways:

  • Apply it directly onto your abdomen, lower back, and hips
  • Add 5-10 drops to your bathwater
  • Create an aromatherapy massage oil by mixing it with a base vegetable oil

Among the essential oils you can use include:

  • Roman Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel
  • Rose
  • Bulgar
  • Nutmeg
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Clary Sage

You may choose to use these essential oils individually or in combination, but I suggest practicing aromatherapy on a regular basis to reap its pain-relieving benefits.

13. Heat therapy

In a systematic review of the clinical evidence supporting different treatments for PMS, heat therapy was shown to be the most effective.

Use a heating pad to soothe lower back pain and menstrual cramps during your period. – Dr. Adrienne Potts

One 2001 study even found that continuous heating via an abdominal patch was as effective at reducing menstrual pain compared with taking Ibuprofen tablets!

14. Take hormonal birth control pills

Besides taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, hormonal birth control pills that contain progestin and estrogen can help reduce back pain. They can come in pills, patches, and vaginal rings.

I recommend getting a prescription from your physician or gynecologist before taking one. You will also have to mention your existing birth control practices and any other medications or dietary supplements you are taking.

I want to have less back pain next period

15. HIIT exercise

Your athletic performance and stamina will be at their highest around the first 12-14 days of a menstrual cycle due to rising estrogen levels. This is the best time to perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises, such as jumping jacks, burpees, squats, and press-ups.

However, five or six days before your period starts, you may feel sluggish. So, make sure not only do I tweak my workouts but how often I train as well!

16. Determine a sleeping position that reduces or prevents back pain

An excellent way to relieve back pain is by making simple changes in your sleeping position. You can take the strain off of it and get a better night’s sleep while doing so!

  • If you want to sleep on your side, draw up your legs slightly toward yourself while putting a pillow between both sets of legs. A full-length body pillow will provide extra support if needed!
  • When sleeping on your back, it is highly essential to maintain the normal curve of your lower back. To do so, consider placing a pillow under the knees and/or using a rolled towel for added support at neck level.
  • If you sleep on your stomach, you need to place a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis. You may also add a pillow under your head if it makes you comfortable.

17. Avoid long sitting periods

Posture is an essential part of preventing back pain and PMS symptoms.

Over time, a slouchy position can be unhealthy for the spine because you spend too much energy in one area while not providing enough support elsewhere. To improve your posture and make sure you are sitting up correctly, try position yourself along an imaginary straight line extending out of the backside. Keep shoulders level with the pelvis tilted slightly forward so that no curve is formed in the lower spine when seated too long.

How to Manage Breast Tenderness and Swelling

Despite the fact that breast discomfort caused by a cycle is widespread and affects a large number of women, there aren’t many studies on how to treat it. However, here are my suggestions:

I have breast pain now

18. Wear a bra that is supportive and well-fitting.

Most women are wearing the wrong bra size. For persons with bigger breasts, getting correctly fitted for a bra may be able to help reduce breast pain. You can check out online forums that may assist with bra sizing.

If you’re having trouble sleeping because of breast soreness, try sleeping in a soft bra.

19. Apply cold or hot packs

Hot and cold packs are a great way to help reduce inflammation that may be causing pain in your breasts. Applying one for 20 minutes at a time will do wonders! Make sure you put on some protection between yourself so it doesn’t irritate the skin around these areas too much.

20. Take evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil is used to treat cyclical breast discomfort, which begins around a week before your period and is connected to the menstrual cycle.

Evening primrose oil was shown to be beneficial for breast discomfort in seven of the ten clinical studies evaluated in a review published in 2019.

Compared to women who received a placebo or sham therapy, those who took 2g of evening primrose oil or 2g evening primrose oil + 400 IU vitamin E daily for six months experienced a small improvement in the intensity of their breast discomfort.

Other symptoms of PMS, such as menstrual cramp pain, are sometimes treated with evening primrose oil also.

I want to have less breast tenderness next period

21. Limit your caffeine intake

If you’re experiencing breast pain, try cutting back on your daily coffee intake or switch to decaf for an effective solution. This also means reducing the amount of all drinks and foods with caffeine, such as soft drinks, energy pills, etcetera.

22. Follow a low-fat diet

A high-fat diet has been shown to make breast discomfort worse – there’s even evidence it increases the risk of developing breast cancer too!

On the other hand, a study revealed randomized controlled trial evidence that the incidence of breast cancer is significantly lowered when you follow a low-fat diet.

23. Modify your birth control method

The hormonal content in birth control pills may cause period cramping and breast soreness. So if you are currently taking birth control pills, consider switching to other birth control methods and see if this helps with relieving breast discomforts. But I recommend seeking a medical consult first before making a switch.

If you have tried to manage your menstrual cramps with all these period pain relief tips but still feel the painful uterine contractions, talk to a doctor. You might have endometriosis or another condition causing severe discomfort during menstruation which requires medical attention instead of just using over-the-counter medicine  (which does nothing).