Constipation occurs when stools are difficult to pass or you pass them infrequently. The condition can cause muscle pain due to constant cramping in your stomach or from straining your neck, back and legs in an attempt to pass a stool. The result can be muscles so tense and sore that you feel as though you’ve engaged in an intense weightlifting session. To relieve this tension, you can perform stretching exercises to relieve the muscle aches and pains after constipation. Always talk to your physician before beginning an exercise program after experiencing constipation.
Leg Muscle Tension
Straining from attempting to pass a stool can result in leg pain and tension, especially in the back of your legs. To relieve this leg pain, stretch your hamstring muscles. The separate leg-stretching exercise stretches your legs and stimulates your large and small intestines. Start by standing with your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart, and bend forward as if you are folding your body in half. Move your head toward your right leg to deepen the stretch. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and then switch toward your left leg. If it is difficult for you to perform this stretch standing, you can accomplish it while sitting with your legs out in front of you.
Your legs aren’t the only area where your muscles become tense from constipation. You also can strain your neck muscles as you bear down to pass the stool. To relieve neck muscle tension, you can stretch your head to one side as if you are touching your ear to your shoulder, and switch to the other shoulder. Touching your chin to your chest also can stretch the back of your neck. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds for maximum benefits.
Intense cramping from constipation can cause a general feeling of tension in your stomach. To relieve these aches, try forward-bending yoga exercises. These exercises release trapped gases in your stomach that can contribute to cramping. One example is the one-legged wind-relieving pose. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your legs extended. Bring your right leg toward your head as you lift your upper back off the ground. Grasp your knee with both hands, feeling the air escape from your stomach. Hold for three to five seconds, and then release and repeat on the opposite side.
Although a simple cardiovascular exercise, walking provides an opportunity for you to stretch and move following constipation and muscle tension. Walking encourages the movement of stool through your intestines to reduce future incidences of constipation. If you have not exercised in some time, limit your walking sessions to short time increments, such as 10 to 15 minutes.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Dr. McDougall's Health and Medical Center: Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Varicose Veins
- MedlinePlus: Constipation
- Yoga Journal: Yoga Holistic Healing
- Spine Health: Stretching for Back Pain Relief
- Santosha: Pavana-mukta-asana - The Wind-Releasing Pose