Endometriosis UK

Exercise

Hello, does anyone find exercise helps with leg/back pain? Especially yoga/Pilates? I have very stiff muscles in my back and legs and stretching them hurts, but my theory is I need to do more stretches to relax the tightened/weak muscles due to prolonged rest. Please let me know if anything has helped with leg/back pain. Ty

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Yes! Pilates is great for strengthening. Yoga is great for stretch and easing the muscles. Make sure the class you choose is a relaxed stretch based class and go easy. It's easy to over stretch but better to go little by little. I've been an instructor for 8 years and has helped my endometriosis a lot.

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Thank you for your reply sorry I've been awol! Thanks for your help xx

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The problem with endometriosis is that the pelvic floor can become to strong and overactive and your pelvic floor is essentially your core so doing any exercises that strengthen your core like Pilates can lead to worsening pain, and incontinace.

Another problem too is since you haven't been moving a lot, your muscles aren't used to being use daily and have probably lost a lot of strength. When you build muscles your body produces lactic acid, unfortunately there's no way in preventing this. However there are ways to minimize the pain, drink lots of water, breathe, walk around before posing, and get plenty of electrolytes.

Another thing about muscles is they don't like being stretched if they haven't been warmed up. Take a hot bath or shower before or walk around a bit since then theyll stretch better.

As for breathing which is very important for lactic acid build up, put your tounge to the roof of your mouth, it'll make you take deeper breathes however won't train your lungs to take in more air. What will train your lungs is working your diaphragm through singing or humming, you might get a little dizzy when you start doing this because you have more oxygen coming in. Singing is also good for posture which can help back & leg pain.

Yoga is great, however since you haven't done exercises in a while due to rest you need to pace yourself, start off with beginners yoga first then move to more advanced yoga. Try not to over stretch, which will cause a lot more pain, just stop going farther when you feel a slight stretch then hold it for 30 seconds.

For leg and back pain I like cat-cow, warrior pose, and child's pose. You can also work on strength by doing standing yoga poses and holding them longer each time but no planking.

You could also try belly dancing however if you have adhesions or anything sticking together it can be really uncomfortable, if not painful. Belly dancing works to stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor. I used to do belly dancing before everything got worse in February and it helped my pain, I also did ballet & modern dance which helped too however they require a lot of core strength.

I've heard of swimming helping some people since the water also supports you.

Another thing you can try is using an exercise ball since that way your supported.

If you can get into physiotherapy it might be a good idea to work with a physiotherapist so they can guide you with the best exercises.

Hope this helps:)

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Thank you for your reply. I find it very hard to walk up stairs, my legs ache. I do put that down to endo, possible nerve involvement and weakened/right muscles in my legs due to lack of physical activity in the Past year. I will try exercise in water and yoga, Pilates. And walking! Everything which involves legs of course 😬😩

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Pilates might not be a good idea, most ladies with endo have a too strong pelvic floor which Pilates will aggravate, your going to want to work on stretching first.

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It's so difficult knowing what to do, isn't it? I've had prolonged bed rest the past two month and everything has tightened up and sciatica is very bad.

From my experience prior to this recent bed rest, I'd suggest to stretch as gently as possible. I found swimming very useful before as the water supports you. No need to overdo it, start gradually and follow with a sit in the steam room which relaxes the muscles after. If you do have a physiotherapist definitely work with them. It's very easy to overdo it and set yourself back when you're desperate to gain strength and flexibility. Very basic yoga poses (Try Yoga with Adriene on YouTube) and the ones the poster above mentioned are great. If you follow a video, take your time, just do the ones that feel appealing at your own pace and leave the plank or anything involving your core for a later time when you've already built up your strength and flexibility. I really would recommend gentle swimming/gentle stretches in water to start off with. Xx

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Thank you for your reply. I will definitely try the YouTube link you've suggested. It is hard to get back out there and exercise when you've had prolonged bed rest. I will try exercises in water as well as yoga z

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Try both pilates and yoga, see which one if not both help you. They are both very excellent for my endo as I have a very stiff left hip caused by growth in the cavities which causes pain down my leg to my foot, nightmare. But yoga relaxes it and pilates strengthens my core so can stretch more in yoga. Good luck I wish you to ne pain free and you find your thing x

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Thank you for your reply. I will try exercise in water, unfortunately I can't swim but I'm sure it will help doing exercises in water. Yoga and Pilates are my favourite :)

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I find exercise helps me. I enjoy cycling. Early in Nov I had a lap and obviously couldn't cycle for a while. But found the less I did the worse I felt, then I felt worse so couldn't possibly get out on my bike! It was like going round in circles feeling rubbish. The last couple of weeks I've made myself get out and build back up again. I've been sleeping better, got my period this week much better than last month less pain. Less restless legs at night and taking less painkillers overalls. I'm sure cycling isn't for everyone but find something you enjoy and within your ability. Build up the intensity slowly and I'm sure it'll help based on my experience. Good luck.

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Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately cycling makes my legs ache so bad, I can't imagine doing it at the moment. I will try exercise in water, i can't swim though. But I've had hydrotherapy and I loved it. Sometimes the real problem is getting out there and doing it when all you want to do is rest!!

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Hi Sal8. I'm a physio with endo. Endo does not always cause an overactive pelvic floor and Pilates does not lead to incontinence, in fact just the opposite. If you had an overactive pelvic floor you would need to have the trigger points treated then rehab the pelvic floor with Pilates. Pilates helps to prevent incontience not cause it. So as long as it's not overactive you can do Pilates or yoga which ever you prefer or both. You could always get a referral from your gp to a physio to fully assess you and advise specifically as to what is tight and weak and get the exercises you need. Xx

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