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Is It True That Tightening Muscles Helps?


~Naomi~
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OK I really don't want to exercise. It is pretty much torture. But two Dr's told me and I just read in Dr. Stewart's recent article that tight muscles will help with blood pooling issues. One Dr. told me calves, one said stomach muscles and I think Dr. Stewart was saying calf and butt muscles. Anyone here with rock hard abs still get symptoms? I don't want to torture myself for no good reason. :angry: When i get up in the morning, I have this odd sensation that my stomach is flipping, dropping, bleeding, pouring? -- I am not sure what the word is, it's so hard to describe, but I instinctually sort of squeeze around my waste and it helps the sensation a bit. Does anyone else get this? Does blood literally pool in your stomach -- is this what causes that weird feeling? This just brings me back to wondering if tightening the muscles would help.

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Ditto on the weird stomach feeling and I do the identical instinctual tightening response... I constrict my whole middle (up to lower chest) and it "feels like the right thing to do" somehow. I don't know exactly how or where it "pools" but that's what they say it is. I guess some folks pool more in one spot than another... but either way, building the leg muscles on up is supposed to help get that blood back up and circulating (the "muscle pump" effect)... as is doing "squeezes" here and there if you're standing.

I lack the rock hard abs so far (maybe one day) but without my beefy calf & thigh muscles I don't think I'd be spending much time upright (I'll faint in 7-15 minutes if I stand still... but last indefinitely if I use the legs). Some rare folks get deterioration in whatever makes the muscle pump itself work (a little valve problem or something) so it isn't a 100% universal solution, but those muscles really can help so it's worth a shot.

I have trouble working the abs 'cause my back is finicky, but it sounds like a good thing to do especially for a fellow belly pooler.

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I had lots of people respond to my getting back in shape post that strong muscles help! I figure it's worth a try!! I've lost so much muscle since my POTS symptoms started and I'm thinking maybe that's contributing to my uncontrolled symptoms! I've now joined a fitness center (in the same parking lot as the ER just in case) and I'm going to give it a good try!! Hope it helps you as well!!

Brye

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My POTS doctor is a strong advocate for building up lower body muscle strength and doing as much exercise as we can. I try to make it 3-4 days a week to a fitness club near me (but not convenient to a local ER, darn it!), and do as much as I can for that day. I usually walk or do an EFX machine, depending on how dizzy I am that day, and try to do some lower body exercises. I always work my abs, though. I'm an ab pooler, and my abs are in pretty good shape. I can't believe that it isn't helping somehow.

Just do what you can...I usually can't exercise two days in a row, because I become super-fatigued, but I do what I can. It's my major goal of the day/week. If I'm up to going out that day, I go to the gym. Hope you see some benefit, too. :ph34r:

Cheers,

Jana

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WOW, I feel like a total weenie! I can manage Pilates once a week only and walking two other days. It has been excruciatingly slow, but it has really helped.

I can also say that even when I did have a rock-hard six-pack of abs (ah youth!) I still had POTS. I am not a fainter, but I am a stomach pooler and if I did not wear compression, I'd have a POTS-belly by evening. As good of shape as you can get in, you cannot possibly squeeze your abs all day! :ph34r: I think that the conditioned squeeze force is larger and can exert more force to get the blood back up to your head with contraction, but the pooling is in between the vascular spaces, so no amount of squeezing will put it back into your vessels.

I think that the fitness angle is more than just a conditioning/deconditioning thing. There is a conditioning that happens to the ANS with activity as well, like building a callous or training it not to over-react. There is also the whole body effect of keeping the systems that work in the best working order possible that is important.

Start slow, keep steady and don't quit.

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Legs and core are essential to me staying functional. And, exercise makes me feel pretty terrible, especially the next day, but sticking with it has made it possible for me NOT to be homebound. I haven't really done a workout in 3 weeks b/c of being way too sick with an infection, but I can tell you that my work days have been miserable with symptoms of dizziness, wobbly, and sheer exhaustion.

Nina

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When I was younger (and nobody knew I had POTS) I used to tense my muscles all the time until I shook because it make me feel good. People thought it was very weird, but it just explains my orthostatic hypotension.

I also get that stomach feeling too! And pushing in at the waist always helps!

Janey

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Mainly blood pooling is actually within our blood vessels, some fluid will leak into the tissues but it is mostly dilated vessels. A lot of people who pool in their abdomens find that it is worse after eating (especially eating carbs). This is because food in the stomach causes blood flow to be diverted to the area to help with digestion. Drinking cold water after food can reduce this problem as the body doesn't want to cool the blood too much.

I've got a link to a video showing how to use muscle clenching to help with symptoms of low BP - I'll post it in a new thread so that it can be found more easily.

Flop

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In some patients with hyperadrenergic POTS the vandebilt website states the following:

The hyperadrenergic subgroup of OI is characterized by a clinical spectrum including attenuated plasma renin activity and aldosterone, reduced supine blood volume coupled with dynamic orthostatic hypovolemia, elevated plasma norepinephrine and epinephrine, impaired clearance of norepinephrine from the circulation and evidence of partial dysautonomia. When the upright posture is assumed, there is a loss of plasma volume from the blood into the surrounding tissue. In normal subjects, about 14% of the plasma volume may leave the blood within 30 minutes of standing. This loss of plasma volume into interstitial tissues is greatly enhanced in patients with OI; occasional patients will lose more than twice this amount of fluid. It is little wonder such patients with supine hypovolemia to begin with develop symptoms in a setting of this excessive dynamic orthostatic hypovolemia

http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php...dc&doc=4788

Also in relation to blood pooling, its often related to blunted arterial vasoconstriction rather than venous compliance deficits:

The findings suggest that pooling in POTS is due to blunted arterial vasoconstriction, which produces passive redistribution of blood within peripheral venous capacitance beds. Venous compliance in POTS is similar to that in control subjects.

http://www.circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/conten...act/105/19/2274

So in a nutshell its doubtful that all POTS patients exhibit venous pooling. And in some (NET deficiency?) the problem is leakiness out of the splanchnic circulation. Where there is pooling its from vasomotor failure, reduced sympathetic activity and or regional neuropathic problems (peripheral poolers, stomach poolers).

I think it would help but perhaps exercises in the area where pooling is implicated may be helpful. Improving the skeletal muscle pump through leg exercises, cardio exercise or situps in general cant be a bad thing since our vasomotor activity and/or vasoconstriction is out of whack in many cases.

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