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The impact of exercising on painful periods

Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhoea) is problem many women have to deal with each month. In the case of some, it may sometimes mean being unable to handle one’s daily chores. What also affects the condition of the organism is whether one takes painkillers on a regular basis. Can exercising pelvic floor muscles help in this case?

Users – innovators

The subject of exercising using PelviFly and menstruation had been raised a number of times when patients who were about to start their training asked the following questions: Can I still exercise using PelviFly during menstruation? I don’t want to stop exercising during my period. Should I?

We didn’t want to rush things at first. We suggested our patients that they focus on muscle relaxation alone. This is because pelvic floor muscles get weaker before menstruation.

But some ladies weren’t convinced and kept on exercising. Their later feedback let us draw some very interesting conclusions. It turned out that training involving a slight contraction – such as a warm-up or endurance training – relieved the menstrual pain. Vibration incorporated in the exercises provided additional support.

What does research say?

There is evidence proving that vibration has a painkilling effect. But there are no studies analyzing it in connection with menstrual pain. We decided that the possibility to ease menstrual pain in a non-invasive manner was such an important issue we couldn’t ignore it. When we were working on the new PelviFly & Kegel Ninja Trainer app in January, we managed to incorporate a major modification in the device – we added a feature of vibration at a low, fixed amplitude, which can be activated for the duration of training.

Researchers from a Canadian research center examined the impact of local vibration on the relief of pain in the lower region of the spine. Their studies showed that stimulating proprioceptors by means of vibration could lead to an increased activity of mechanisms suppressing the sensation of pain, which is why it could be applied for therapeutic purposes. As of now, there have been a few studies examining the correlation between vibration training and treatment of urinary incontinence. Vibration stimulates the bioelectrical activity of muscles. As the vibration frequency increases, so does the muscle tension level, which translates into a better sense of feeling in the groin region and a better motor control.

A case study of one of our patients

One of our patients started asking us if the exercise could have relieved her pain after 2 months already. She was curious about the fact that the only change she made during that time was starting a training program with PelviFly, and her periods were much less painful. After 7 months of regular exercise we were positive – we made the modification a standard. In the past, the patient had to take painkillers every month. Now she doesn’t need any.

“It’s been 7 months now since I started training with PelviFly. Plus, I’ve been under the supervision of Joanna, the best instructor there is. She plans my training program to be diverse, raising the bar after each test, and I’m really motivated to take up the challenge each day! Our joint achievement after this whole time is that the menstrual cramps in the abdomen are much less painful in the first days of my period (I had to use painkillers such us ketonal before)”

– Krystyna

An opinion by a pelvic floor physiotherapist

Malgorzata Skolimowska, a physiotherapist who combines working with patients and running a fan page called RehaPelvi, had similar impressions. Malgorzata has taken part in our course for specialists. One part of the course involved an opportunity to test her own training program on herself with the use of PelviFly for one month. This is the feedback we got after one month:

“The 30-day trial offered by PelviFly let me experience the benefits of regular pelvic floor muscle training firsthand.

It took just a few training sessions for me to notice an improvement in urgency, but I kept telling myself at first that it was “all in my head”.  But the the biggest surprise for me was that it was the first time in my life I had a period without any accompanying pain whatsoever. The way I see it is that every exercise, focusing on each muscle group, translates into normalization of the muscle tone to a smaller or greater extent. And the effect is supported further by vibration training. I have to admit that I wasn’t too fond of this type of training. I don’t know why. This whole vibration irritated me somehow. But I have to say that I really enjoy it now and it doesn’t bother me at all.

I’m very impressed by the set – the device and the app. As soon as I’m able to make us of this box of tricks with my patients, I’ll certainly do it. I can say with full confidence that you can make a good, precise evaluation of pelvic floor muscles using either an electromyograph or PelviFly.”

– Malgorzata Skolimowska, pelvic floor physiotherapist


It’s a subject matter definitely worthy of further research and observation. After all, anything that can help us support our patients better is surely worth the sleepless nights of research.


References:

  1. Boucher J.A., Abboud J., Nougarou F. i wsp.: The effects of vibration and muscles fatigue on trunk sensorimotor control in low back pain patients. PloS One 2015.
  2. Herman U. Prevention and treatment of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction in women using telemedicine. Doctoral thesis. Krakow 2019. Jagiellonian University, Collegium Medicum
  3. Sonksen J., Ohl D., Bonde B. i wsp. Ranscutaneous mechanical nerve stimulation using perineal vibration: a novel method for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence. Journal of Urology 2007: 2025 – 2028.