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Your workouts could be slowing recovery

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by TheUndyingMind, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. TheUndyingMind

    TheUndyingMind Peer Supporter

    We know one of the mainstays of TMS recovery is to return to physical activity as soon as possible. But did you know though the kind of exercise you do could greatly affect how fast you recover?

    I had always wondered why every time I tried returning to the gym to lift weights that I would do really good for the first several weeks and then fall right back into the pain cycle (muscle tension is a big issue for me). TMS affects the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) by triggering the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) to go into overdrive. Read this article for a great breakdown about the ANS, SNS and PNS.

    This follow up article then elaborates on how high intensity workouts can stimulate the SNS (this is bad for TMS suffers). In fact, it can "decrease a person’s ability to reactivate the Parasympathetic (Nervous System) response and reestablish homeostasis".

    This was quite a revelation to me. I should be stimulating the PNS which relaxes the mind and body in order to bring balance back to an overactive SNS. This would include things like Aerobic exercise, mind-body centered exercises (such as yoga, tai chi and qi gong) and meditation.

    Also, this is a little off topic, but I think it's important to point out how stress is a major factor in TMS. I'm absolutely convinced that chronic stress from work is what triggered my initial symptoms. All the stress I was under at the time over-stimulated my SNS which in turn caused physical symptoms to manifest which in turn led to TMS (my mind forming conditioned responses to things that really had nothing to do with my symptoms). Anyway, this created quite the vicious cycle for me and by reading a lot of other stories on here it also sounds like stress is very big factor in all of this.

    Finally, I cannot understate the importance of breathing properly. Most TMS suffers have unconsciously developed breathing problems due to underlying anxiety and/or anger. I didn't even realize it for a long time, but I was definitely pausing and taking shallow breathes. Learning to breathe properly again has been one of the biggest factors in my recovery I believe because I'm getting oxygen back into those areas that have been cutoff due to TMS. I've recently bought The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook and it's helped me further my breathing techniques. I'm sure there's a lot of other resources out there, probably even for free, but just wanted to share what I found helpful.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
    MindBodyPT, Gigalos and Lunarlass66 like this.
  2. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think this is partially true- high intensity workouts could definitely trigger the SNS in some people, if you feel stress during the workout. I think the article is also saying that OVER-exercising (doing way too many high intensity workouts) could be bad, though it's not terribly clear. Your heart rate and BP do increase during the exercise. However doing some high intensity training is great for overall health in most people, this is well documented.

    Though it is possible to do high intensity training without feeling stress but starting with something relaxing like yoga is great. This really speaks to the point that exercise is super individual, not one size fits all by any means. You have to do what feels good for your body and brings you joy! Personally I like all of the above...I love doing yoga and meditating to relax and feel centered. I also love doing some good high intensity weight lifting and aerobics in a relaxed environment- I feel great and relaxed afterwards. This is super personal and the environment really matters, you have to feel comfortable with your surroundings. Varying it up and not overdoing anything is key :)
    kershe, Ellen and Gigalos like this.
  3. music321

    music321 Well known member

    I'd think that a healthy person would have to exercise A LOT to experience ANS dysfunction. I've heard, for example, of female marathon runners training so hard that their menstrual cycles are disrupted. For the TMS sufferer, it's pretty easy to tell if you are pushing too hard if you are able to read your body. There are various articles online having to do with "over training" that you might want to check out. People, not just TMS sufferers, often overlook the fact that recovery periods ("down time") are as important to building the body as workout periods.
  4. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    i hope this isnt true! i mean, i have worried about it though. For instance, the ONLY exercise i even like (that burns significant calories while also being fun) is mountain biking. When you pair this with pelvic pain, things get dicey. but i WANT to do it so bad! mountain biking beats the crap out of you sometimes; it's demanding on the body. However, the joy it brings me is worth more than anything. My PT told me i should be treating my body gentler, as to not set off danger signals in my brain. The central sensitization model also suggests this.

    I definitely dont mountain bike as much as i used to, because the pain totally sidelined me, but one of the major improvements i've made by using TMS techniques, is that i'm able to ride much longer than i used to. All by changing my fear around the activity. So what do you do when you are faced with deciding on an activity that brings you so much joy, socialization, time with nature, mental distraction, etc., but also with the knowledge that it might be "too much"? I'm terribly depressed when i cant do it. My best friends are mountain bikers too, so it becomes a happy social thing as well, which i feel i need.

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