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Yoga/Pilates: Focus on muscle soreness

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by PepperGirl, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. PepperGirl

    PepperGirl Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone
    I wonder if anyone has had similar experience - I have been working on my TMS recovery for a few months now and making progress but still a big part of my life and I feel I still have a lot to do to feel fully 'recovered'. My right leg which I believed for ages to be sciatica as a result of herniated disc, but since surgery 9 months ago I know now the leg pain to be TMS, but what I don't understand is even though the pain is much better, the flexibility in my leg is very limited and I can only raise my leg straight when lying down on my back to about 60 degrees. I think it is muscle pain rather than nerve pain, but then I suppose it shouldn't really matter as the pain is ultimately TMS. I suppose I get discouraged by the severe tightness of my leg and wonder why the flexibility isn't much better even though the pain is less than it was. I go to Pilates classes (which is of course in itself a massive goal) and wonder if I should actively stretch the painful/tight leg or is this focusing on the physical rather than the psychological. Also, sometimes I crave a sports massage to relieve the tightness but then again I don't as this is focus on the physical once more. Does anyone else have a similar experience? Anyone feel that massage can help or the wrong focus?Before the whole thing started (before my pregnancy in September 2012) I was very much into yoga/Pilates and used to be pretty flexible. I know the frustration of how much flexibility I have lost doesn't help but I just don't understand why the flexibility doesn't improve with all the work I am doing and understanding I am gaining about TMS.
    Thanks anyone for any advice!
     
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello Peppergirl. I personally think massage, Yoga and Pilates can all be very beneficial. I think if you go with the intention to fix your physical symptom and that is what you are focused on and monitoring, then perhaps that could just perpetuate the attention on the physical symptom. But if you really enjoy yoga, pilates and massage and you are doing it to relax, let go and enjoy your life, then I think that is great. Don't worry about the stiffness and trust as you get back to full activity, moving freely and unconsciously, these issues will resolve. I remember just a year ago my legs were so stiff and my knees hurt all the time. I would get up from sitting and walk around like an old lady. Now I don't have that problem at all. My neck hurts all the time and my legs feel great! TMS is tricky but truly nothing is stuck. It can change. I encourage you to not only think psychologically, but to do all the whole body exercise and stuff that feels good. Focus and take encouragement from how good it feels. Yesterday I was having a miserable, high anxiety day. I felt so bad physically but I got out there for my 30 minute bike ride. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it but I trusted that I would somehow. The sun was setting, the sky crisp and the cloud formations spectacular. I focused on the birds, all the scents, and as I was peddling up the hill I poured all my frustration into making it to the top. As I was coasting down and watching a deer sprinting across a field, I actually felt like laughing. I am not saying that I was miraculously cured and out of pain, but those are moments to build on. I don't know about you, but I had many moments like that when I used to practice Yoga regularly. Yoga can be a wonderful release and can actually help get out of your head and into the moment. Just don't do it thinking about how stiff your leg is or how flexible you used to be.
     
    Anna1 likes this.
  3. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I can't speak directly to your specific situation, but I would advise caution. About a year ago, before I ever heard about TMS, I tried a yoga DVD program called "Easy Yoga for Easing Pain" and it only made things much worse. After practicing the exercises for about six weeks I started feeling wobbly in the hips and soon lost my ability to engage in any sustained walking. Even after discontinuing the exercises I never regained the ability to walk very far. I used to be able to walk a mile and a half a day, even with the pain problems. Now I have trouble making it to the corner of the block.

    Now that I know about TMS I think I know why the yoga failed. At first it seemed to help. I was sleeping better and felt more relaxed. But the more I did the exercises the less I felt like I was doing something for myself and the more I felt like I was fighting myself. TMS theory would suggest that I was indeed physically fighting my own subconscious mind, and my subconscious won. I think this is why Dr. Sarno advises against any exercises designed specifically to relieve pain. I've concluded that I can only win if I deal with the problem on the mental level where it originated, not on the superficial physical level, which is only a veneer intended as a distraction.
     
    Anna1 likes this.
  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Treat it as TMS.
    Sciatica is nothing more than TMS, originating from cramped butt muscles. This can also limit your flexibility. Accept it, do yoga for all the purposes other than to regain flexibility or conquer pain. It is focussing on the shortcut and won't work, that's my opinion.
    I have limited flexibility and pains in my right side butt, back and leg. It is one of the last and toughest TMS remainders for me. All I know is that focussing on it will not work. It is strongly strain related.
     
    Anna1 likes this.
  5. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    I had the same problem; I had a lot of pain when I started yoga classes again. I treated this pain as TMS. It is natural though, that my body is much stiffer than before. I haven't done yoga for about 8 years. So I take it easy. I watch my boundaries. I had a few classes with severe pain. I took pain killers. But I do yoga because it makes me feel good; not to cure the pain. I keep exercising (yoga and running) to feel good and to let my subconscious know that I don't believe something is wrong with my body.

    It's getting easier and easier and I'm pain free most of the time. Don't give up doing what you love!! Also massage should be for the good feeling, not as a way to cure, because it won't...

    Good luck!
     
    Anne Walker likes this.
  6. PepperGirl

    PepperGirl Peer Supporter

    Thank you all so much for your help. From absorbing your replies, I have come to realise that I am causing myself angst by focusing on my lack of flexibility in the Pilates classes. I need to relax about this and not allow myself to get so frustrated as this is my mind focusing on bodily symptoms and fretting about it! I think I am going to try more cardiovascular classes,such as cycling, which sub-consciously I reckon I've been avoiding fearing the intensity; avoiding due to the fear of being so unfit after a long time of being immobile. I can see what anxiety I'm creating for myself by comparing any success in this area with how I 'used to be' or 'how others are' in a class. Thanks all for your insight :)
     
  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sounds like you are on the right track PepperGirl! Switch it up and just try to find something physical that you can enjoy, something that can help take a little of the tension away, get out of your head. I find at the gym, music helps a lot. When I walk or ride my bike outdoors I try to go at times that are a little cooler(since I live in Texas) so that I can slow down and absorb the elements, the birds, the sky etc. Your fitness will come back surprisingly quickly once you get into a routine. You know 20 years ago I had a ruptured disc in my back and intense sciatica. I had back surgery after a few months and my back surgeon made me get up the very next day and walk. He wanted me to walk 30 minutes a day just days after the surgery. I think perhaps because of that I never feared physical exercise even with the sciatica and pain. He convinced me that it actually helps rather than make it worse and so I have always been able to exercise even when I am in pain and it doesn't make it worse. So don't fear walking, cycling and such because of the sciatica. Its strange but I just now remembered that I used to get terrible muscle cramps in my calf with the sciatica and then I started taking calcium and magnesium and the cramps and sciatica finally went away(after having it for several years). I always thought it was the calcium but now I realize that was probably just a placebo. I haven't taken calcium for years but I don't have any muscle cramps or sciatica anymore. The pain is now in my right occipital area, neck and shoulder.
     

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