Types of cramps Before and during your period, you may experience a variety of aches and pains. The most common are menstrual cramps — also known as dysmenorrhea. Many women have no cramps at all, while others get slight pain. But some women have cramps that are so painful that it interferes with their daily lives.   There are different kinds of cramps: A little discomfort: This will feel like a muscle cramp or spasm. Once you realize that it's a menstrual cramp, it doesn't really bother you. Intense pain: This may be a sharp pain that causes you to double up or cry out. Pain that spreads: Pain can start in the center of your lower back, or in the lower abdomen, and radiate up your back and down your legs.   If you have slight discomfort, intense, short pain or pain that spreads, you might be able to relieve your cramps. If you suffer from dizziness, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting during your period, or if you experience intense pain that won't go away, see a doctor.   Period Protection When dealing with cramps, it's best to use the type of period protection that makes you feel the most comfortable. Whether it is pads or tampons, it's important to find what works for you. It’s also useful to track your period, so you know exactly when you might start having menstrual cramps. Try using our Period Calculator. You’ll know when can expect your next period and you can have the proper protection planned out for when you need it the most. What you can do to receive cramp relief There are many ways to receive cramp relief. The trick is to find one that works for you. Try: Lying down if possible at the first sign of pain Gently rubbing your abdomen Mild exercise and stretching (see below) Taking pain medication containing ibuprofen Taking a warm bath or applying a heating pad to your lower abdomen or back   Exercises to receive cramp relief If you exercise all month, you will help your body keep away menstrual cramps. Light exercise during your period will help to ease the heavy, bloated (puffy) feeling. Workouts that stretch your body are best.   Here are a few exercises that are great for cramp relief: Sit on the floor, legs as far apart as you can get them. Hold your toes if you can, or clasp your ankles lightly. Keep your back straight and breathe in, holding your diaphragm (the muscle under your ribs) up and in. Holding this position, take a few deep breaths. As you breathe out for the last time, bend forward towards the floor and exhale. Sit with your knees open and bent at the sides, with the soles of your feet together in front of your pelvis. Clasp your hands under your toes or hold your ankles. Press the soles of your feet together and breathe in, deeply expanding your chest and lifting your diaphragm, as described above. Raise your head a little and feel your stomach expand. Breathe in and out deeply into your stomach four or five times. Lie on your back with one leg stretched out, and pull the other knee up to your chin. Clasp your knee with your arms to ease the strain and then hold the posture, relaxing for a few minutes.   If you get pain all of a sudden, or notice a change in your periods, you should contact a doctor. Read about cramp relief and learn helpful tips for dealing with your period from BeingGirl.