Exercise? It hurts too much! But maybe not. Many hospitals and Y's have a warm water pool for aquatic therapy or aquatic exercise class.

NY Farmwife

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
20
The warm water is soothing. It helps support you, so you're not putting a lot of pressure on painful joints and muscles. But you can still get in lots of stretches to keep you limber. You can even get a cardio-boosting aerobic workout.

I needed to keep working for 2 more years after my fibro flared up to where I was just in so much pain I wanted to cry all the time. A very sympathetic doctor was recommending physical therapy and noticed my crestfallen face. PT had brought on many of my worst flares over the years. I just could not force myself to try again. She wrote out an Rx for aquatic therapy and specified that the preassessment be as brief as possible.

At first, I was really tired after each session. I knew I had moved my muscles, but there wasn't the usual ramping up of pain. Actually, the pain level stayed the same for the first 2 weeks, then started to go down gradually. When my prescribed 6 weeks of therapy were over, I didn't really want to stop. Luckily, the department had a maintenance program of group sessions for an affordable price. I did 2 sessions a week for my full 2 years of working and continued after retirement. The others in my group are still friends today.

The secret is the warm water. If you try to use a lap pool, your muscles will tense up, and you will be worse off than you were before. The ideal temperature for a therapy pool is around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit or about 27-30 Celsius. It should be just a little warmer than lukewarm when you put your toes in. You do not have to swim. You will be in water that is chest high to give you resistance to work against.

Water exercise classes are offered by the Arthritis Foundation, the Red Cross, and many YMCA's or YWCA's. The classes are reasonable. But be sure to check out that it is a warm water pool--not the same pool the high school swim team uses. They are fun! You'll walk, you'll dance, you'll laugh. Bring a friend. Let him/her have a great time too.
 

Rhyl

Active member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
45
Reason
Undiagnosed
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
US
State
KY
Thanks for this! I was officially diagnosed last week and one of the suggestions they made was aquatic therapy. I'm still tossing it around, but I suspect I'll eventually get there!
 

NY Farmwife

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
20
With fibromyalgia, you're constantly patching up the things your body just isn't doing the way it once did. Aquatic therapy can help head off some of the bigger problems and help you ease out of any current aches. And, just for a bonus, you'll probably sleep better at night. (The connection between poor sleep and fibro is well documented.)
 

Rainbow

Active member
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
63
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
06/2010
Country
UK
Sounds good, however I have my work cut out just trying to persuade myself to get into my own bath!

My preferred exercise is, or rather was, walking, or rather 'strolling', even if just locally
- especially, whatever the season, being mindful of nature & it's beauty.
,
Having said that, even that simple pleasure is now suspended, as I'm suddenly feeling a dull ache in my calves/ backs of my legs when I wake up,
which gets worse as the day goes on, particularly if I've walked any distance.

I suspected it might be arteries but Doctor said on a recent 'phone consultation' that it's very likely to be Fibro-related
- so it would help me to know if anyone else has had, or is having, a similar experience?
 

JayCS

Very helpful member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
906
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
My preferred exercise is, or rather was, walking, or rather 'strolling', even if just locally - especially, whatever the season, being mindful of nature & it's beauty.
,Having said that, even that simple pleasure is now suspended, as I'm suddenly feeling a dull ache in my calves/ backs of my legs when I wake up,
which gets worse as the day goes on, particularly if I've walked any distance. I suspected it might be arteries but Doctor said on a recent 'phone consultation' that it's very likely to be Fibro-related - so it would help me to know if anyone else has had, or is having, a similar experience?
@Rainbow: Yes, I had this last year over several months, esp. when walking even short distances, or let's say a few minutes, I even thought about applying for disability specifically for that and my GP was thinking about it too. We were also thinking it's intermittent claudication - whether veins or arteries we weren't sure tho. In Germany that's called "window shopping illness" for laughs, i.e. people pretending to look into shop windows when actually they can't carry on walking. Turned out at various cardiologists and an angiologist my arteries were fine, my veins weren't, and I have a very high cardiovascular risk, but am living so healthy, that the risk is unlikely to result in actual disease. But the "heavy" legs had/have nothing to do with my CVD.
So: This leg condition went on for quite a few months, maybe half a year. What I did and helped and suggest trying is:
- putting legs up against a wall or similar as much as you can, even on a walk (on a bench), and before and after.
- A short sharp acupressure treatment helped me, using TCM points called "when you want to walk to the next village, but your legs can't carry you". If I'd needed it, she could have taught me the points (on legs and ankles).
- And I think lymph drainage may be helpful as well.
Is it fibro related? Not sure, and don't really care. I find it hard to connect it to any of my other issues, whether fibro or no. I still don't really have an explanation, I just take it as a single symptom. BTW it got really dangerous when having to get off my bike in traffic! I'm still not too firm on my legs when getting off my bike, need to take my time (often a whole minute) to get my legs sorted after that leg movement, and sometimes better a wall to lean against. While I'm riding it everything's fine, much better than walking. Can't explain that either.... o_O
(Standing for any length of time is harder since fibro than before, when I used to stand for hours at my "bar table" workplace.)
 

NY Farmwife

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
20
Rainbow, it is hard. But it's scary how fast our muscles can lose tone. It hurts to move, so we don't. Then we go from fibro-sore muscles to muscles that are no longer used to moving. And that can put you into a position where your muscles are so bad it's like you have polio or another muscle-wasting disease. With fibromyalgia, we start out with tissues that feel as if they are damaged, but really aren't. Because they feel injured, we don't use them for a few days, weeks, or months. Then they are at the point where you need physical therapy to get you back almost to where it doesn't hurt too much to function. It's much safer, easier, and less painful to tough it out at the onset of a new cramp/ache/pain and just use that muscle more--not less.

Sudden pain in your legs could also be a sign that varicose veins are pushing your muscles aside as they try to pop out and look ugly on your legs. Again, walking is the best way to ease that pain. Your heart pumps blood down into your legs. Muscle contractions during walking pump that blood back to the heart and lungs to recirculate. The veins will still pop out. It will still hurt. But you won't get edema and oozing sores on your legs if you force yourself to continue with your walking.

And, yes, I know how hard this is to do. I'm 78 and have dealt with fibro since I was 29. I'm old. Every replaceable joint has been replaced. But I still do my daily stretches. I still walk, weather permitting. And when a flare comes--and they will come--I get my doctor to write a Rx for more aquatic therapy. (I call the office the next working day if my pain level ramps up! You can always cancel the appointment, if the pain is just a temporary thing.)

Living with fibromyalgia is not easy. It means you have to be vigilant. The old ways of ignoring your body just don't work anymore. Imagine if you were a type 1 diabetic and didn't monitor your glucose or take your insulin. Keeping tight rein on your body is just that important for those of us with fibromyalgia. Those who don't manage their fibromyalgia might mismanage themselves into a wheelchair or a bedbound life. It happens. Take your fibromyalgia seriously.
 

sunkacola

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
1,752
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
Uni
State
Somewhere
With fibromyalgia, we start out with tissues that feel as if they are damaged, but really aren't. Because they feel injured, we don't use them for a few days, weeks, or months. Then they are at the point where you need physical therapy to get you back almost to where it doesn't hurt too much to function. It's much safer, easier, and less painful to tough it out at the onset of a new cramp/ache/pain and just use that muscle more--not less.
Very true words, and to be taken seriously by all. thank you NY Farmwife. You do have to be vigilant, as you say.
Even for people who do not have FM or some other specific problem, it is very common to stop doing the things you used to do because it's not as easy, or it hurts to do it. that is exactly when you should double-down on your efforts to continue, not when you should stop or do less.

People, whether they have a physical condition or not, who stop being able to do something most often stop being able to because they stopped doing it. I have seen this happen over and over in others, and in my own body before I figured out the equation. The good news is that you can almost always regain at least some portion of what you used to have in strength/flexibility/mobility/endurance or whatever if you just start doing again the things that will improve those.

As we age, it is natural that these things will become harder and we won't be able to do as much. But if we give up and stop trying, it is guaranteed that it will get far worse than if we continue to move.
 

Charz

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2019
Messages
21
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
03/1980
Country
US
It's the best. Usually you have to do PT in the hot pool. I try to do it every winter. The hospital where I go now has a membership so you don't need pt to use it. I don't know of any Ys that have heated pools.
 

NY Farmwife

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
20
My sister lives in Dover, DE. Her Y has a cooler lap pool and a warm on that has exercise classes almost all day long. They've got a lot of retirees. I'm sure other cities have this too. Check with the arthritis foundation. They sponsor classes that are fun!
 

AVI

New member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
4
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
03/2021
Country
US
State
NW
The warm water is soothing. It helps support you, so you're not putting a lot of pressure on painful joints and muscles. But you can still get in lots of stretches to keep you limber. You can even get a cardio-boosting aerobic workout.

I needed to keep working for 2 more years after my fibro flared up to where I was just in so much pain I wanted to cry all the time. A very sympathetic doctor was recommending physical therapy and noticed my crestfallen face. PT had brought on many of my worst flares over the years. I just could not force myself to try again. She wrote out an Rx for aquatic therapy and specified that the preassessment be as brief as possible.

At first, I was really tired after each session. I knew I had moved my muscles, but there wasn't the usual ramping up of pain. Actually, the pain level stayed the same for the first 2 weeks, then started to go down gradually. When my prescribed 6 weeks of therapy were over, I didn't really want to stop. Luckily, the department had a maintenance program of group sessions for an affordable price. I did 2 sessions a week for my full 2 years of working and continued after retirement. The others in my group are still friends today.

The secret is the warm water. If you try to use a lap pool, your muscles will tense up, and you will be worse off than you were before. The ideal temperature for a therapy pool is around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit or about 27-30 Celsius. It should be just a little warmer than lukewarm when you put your toes in. You do not have to swim. You will be in water that is chest high to give you resistance to work against.

Water exercise classes are offered by the Arthritis Foundation, the Red Cross, and many YMCA's or YWCA's. The classes are reasonable. But be sure to check out that it is a warm water pool--not the same pool the high school swim team uses. They are fun! You'll walk, you'll dance, you'll laugh. Bring a friend. Let him/her have a great time too.
Hi NY Farmwife. I concur--Aquatic Therapy in warm water is much easier on the joints and muscles, for fibro :) . During my last aquatic therapy session, the physical therapist conducted a pre-assessment on me, before I got in the pool and tugged and pulled on my legs, turned my body from left to right, and had me lay on my back--it was very painful and though it only lasted about 3 to 5 min., the next day my body responded with a vengeance and I have been in pain for a little over a week; and had to cancel my aquatic sessions scheduled that were scheduled for this week. For me, any form of regular physical therapy wreaks havoc on my body and causes me to have a flare up throughout my body. How I wish I would have been more adamant about not doing the pre-assessment, because now I am paying the price for it.
 

JayCS

Very helpful member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
906
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
How I wish I would have been more adamant about not doing the pre-assessment, because now I am paying the price for it.
This happened to me with most physios, esp. those in the rheum./fibro clinic, with the many different physios - altho I'd've thought these knew. A great lesson, or the docs in their journals say "teachable moment", I think that's the same. However from one I got (deep) connective tissue massage: very painful while she was doing it, but relief after, so let her do it again, again relief after - suppleness, freedom, less pain. It also showed me that I have a normal pain threshold, despite what some FM-experts say.

So if your pre-assessment had happened to me for the first time, I'd've actually been thankful for the experience, similar to every time I/we overdo something. I had to learn the hard way, and still have to. (Unless my wife helps me, tries to stop me from overdoing it and I listen to her. But she's not there when I'm in PT.) After all, our condition changes. We have flares, but we also develop. Acupressure was a a form that mainly helped for over a year and it has helped me get all my local pains down. To do this it was becoming more and more painful, deeper and deeper, because I could cope with that better, even higher pain threshold, and going deeper into the muscles and scars improved the pain lastingly. But we also hoped that it could help me with even deeper things in my system like Ache, fatigue, stiffness, which it only did in the first 3-4 months (even 3 miracles I'm very thankful for and haven't returned). Now due to the jab side effects I can't tolerate it at all much any more, which made clear it's time for a longer break. Even when she tried being very careful in comparison, I had problems after for at least a day.
But I'm increasing my exercises, stretches & relaxation throughout every day - even 4 hours is handable, because I know or rather can judge better where my levels, sweet spots and limits are and I do them alternately. Many, like yoga, in very short stints of 20-30'' for a few minutes. Some like sitting on the floor with my left foot under my right knee to stretch my left loin I can now do for over 10 minutes, yesterday I managed I think 20 minute stints. I can even sit cross-legged comfortably again sometimes for over 5 minutes, I love that. Not lasting yet, normally only up to a minute.
 

NY Farmwife

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
20
Sitting cross legged. That's a goal. Mine is to actually in and out of a tub bath. You guys may not get it, but us gals really appreciate a nice warm soak. Showers may get you clean, but where's the joy in just getting clean?
 

JayCS

Very helpful member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
906
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
Ah, sigh, no, I don't get it, I admit and plead guilty on all charges: I get bored would you believe... 🤪 -
like sitting/lying in the sun for more than ten minutes...
But also my skin starts hurting and itching with longer contact with water than a few minutes (always has been dry & itchy; pre-form of atopic dermatitis) and since fibro I can't take the one temperature that well either... Probably all a mixture....
 

NY Farmwife

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
20
Jay, I'm sorry you cannot enjoy these simple pleasures. Fibromyalgia is a thief. It robs us of this activity, that pleasure, the other joy. They pile up. I love to walk. But sometimes it brings on sciatic pain. That makes me afraid to walk any farther than I am willing to walk home from in exquisite pain. One more limit to my life. As for skin. I have to use the "sensitive" formula of all soaps, detergents, conditioners, etc. I cannot use any sunscreen. They all sting. One dermatologist asked me how long they stung. "Until I wash it off." And that ended that conversation
 
Top