Three Ways Yoga Eases Endometriosis Pain

Three Ways Yoga Eases Endometriosis Pain

Finding Relief from Endometriosis Pain - By Lea Smith

Reading time: 4 minutes

Every month, I’m faced with battling a various array of painful symptoms related to my endometriosis. Endometriosis (or Endo, for short), is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause severe pelvic pain and affect fertility. Tissues-similar to those found in the uterus-grows outside the uterine wall, thickening, and causing pain and adhesions. For me, it manifests as low back pain, pelvic and hip pain, and severe menstrual cramps. Treatments for Endo are mostly limited to laparoscopic surgery and symptom management.

Beyond traditional pain treatments such as pain medications, hot water bottles*, and rest, options for finding relief can be limited. Yoga offers an alternative approach to dealing with Endo. These are three ways that yoga helps me through the month:

Stress Relief:

One of the many benefits of yoga is relaxation. Moving and breathing mindfully in a community setting-or in the comfort of your own home-can leave you feeling peaceful. After my first yoga class in 2013, I felt lighter, emotionally and physically, as I walked out of the community center where class was held. Eleven years later, I still feel this way after a class.

My Endo pain can be stress-inducing. I lead an active lifestyle, skiing in the winter, and mountain biking and hiking in the summer. There are times where I’ve had to sit out of activities to manage my pain. Missing out on outdoor adventures is frustrating, but I find that the peaceful feeling that yoga provides helps with that stress. After completing a yoga practice, I feel calm, focused, and at ease.

Stretching Tense Areas:

Sometimes, when we’re in pain, we might unknowingly tense our muscle to compensate for the uncomfortable sensations. This can lead to muscle tension. Since yoga is a mixture of both strengthening and stretching, it is a perfect antidote for the tense areas.

When Endo causes my back to tense with pain, I practice poses like child’s pose and seated forward folds to loosen the muscles and reduce tension. Butterfly pose and wide-legged forward folds are also helpful for reducing hip and pelvic pain.

Increasing Blood Flow:

Because the practice of yoga asks us to move mindfully on our mats, it’s an excellent way to gently exercise and increase blood flow. Increased blood flow can, in turn, reduce pain and increase healing. Yoga is an accessible way to get your heart pumping.

When I practice yoga for my Endo symptoms, I make sure to include some flow between postures, such as a few rounds of sun salutations. The movements stimulate circulation which helps with tension and pain. As a bonus to doing a more vigorous practice, I get to the reap the pain-reliving benefits of happy endorphins.

Endometriosis affects nearly 10% of women, and everyone’s symptoms present differently. Yoga serves an additional therapy for the uncomfortable sensations and emotions that can arise from chronic pain conditions, bringing peace and comfort. Choose comfortable and accessible postures, consult with a trusted yoga teacher, and practice with care and safety.

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Lea Smith

Lea Camille Smith is a writer, yoga teacher, and editor based in the Mt Washington Valley of New Hampshire.