Fibromyalgia and exercise

Sibro

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Sep 9, 2021
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4
Hello there

Just by way of an introduction I have been experiencing fibromyalgic symptoms (most persistent being ongoing muscle and joint pain, weakness and ongoing fatigue) for the last 10-11 months and have been given a diagnosis of migraine with extended fibromyalgic symptoms by a consultant neurologist. While I had a short episode of migraine over 12 years ago I haven't actually experienced any migraine type pain in my head during this last 11 month period. I may have had the very occasional usual minor headache (dehydration usually). So, I'll just go along with his assessment but will obviously be focused on fibromyalgia symptoms as it is having a significant impact on my life at present. Before the symptoms I was quite physically active. My job requires regular physical effort (outdoor work) and I also climbed, ran did moderate weight training in my spare time.

I've read that physical exercise will be important in dealing with my new way of life. I have gradually returned to running and weights. However, more so with the latter, I find that my former exercises, at a much reduced rate, causes the very real sensation of pulling muscles, tendons or ligaments. This results in significant pain that then stops me from continuing.

My thoughts are is if research suggests there is no evidence of actual physical damage taking place then is it a case of fighting through the pain and continuing? Being able to exercise has always been very important and central to my life. I am not a fanatical fitness freak and I'd say moderate at at most. But it always has offered me significant benefits in my life. So I while I might be prepared to continue through the pain, what I am experiencing is a very convincing sensation that I am damaging whatever tissue is being used. In normal circumstances I'd stop recover and start a graded return. But if this is not going to go away and isn't actually physical (a neurological phenomenon?), then continually stopping or waiting is pretty pointless, unless it really becomes unbearable of course?

Sorry this has become a lot longer that I planned but being "new" has probably resulted in some "off loading." Basically I'm interested in people who may have decided to "carry on" even though it felt like they were genuinely exacerbating physical damage by doing so.

Thanks for your time! :)

P.S I'm aware that there could be a risk of genuine injury from any exercising but at the moment it is too frequent and follows on from low key stuff that has never happened before...
 

sunkacola

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Hi there, and welcome.

I am also a person who used to be very into exercise, and lifted weights. When you do those things you learn to work through pain and it only makes you stronger, assuming you are doing it correctly. But with fibromyalgia it's really not like that for most people, and I don't recommend pushing through the pain. Most if not all of us here who have tried that, because it's what we always did before, have learned that doing so only leads to more pain and lack of mobility or ability to do those things we want to do.

this doesn't mean quit trying! But it means expect less of yourself and when it starts to hurt, stop. Take breaks, Rest. I know it probably sounds weird, I know I never used to take breaks or rest until nightfall. but if you actually have fibro, you will need to adapt to a new way of being and enjoy what you can do rather than trying to do what you cannot without injuring yourself. You don't want to be making things worse.

It's a matter of learning how to manage your body and to manage the pain and moderate what you do from day to day because it is always changing. You have to learn to listen carefully to what your body is telling you and believe it.

Check out this post for some ideas that I have put together: My advice for managing fibromyalgia (especially for newcomers)

Your post, by the way, is not too long. And, you are welcome to come here to ask questions or just to vent any time you want. that's what this forum is for. :)
 

Sibro

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Sep 9, 2021
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Hello Sunkacola
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. Sharing your own experience has been very helpful. I also had a look at your link on steps to improve life with fibromyalgia. It was also very helpful. I shall be implementing them into my daily routine. A few, such as diet, I’ve actually been practicing since before the fibromyalgia. So I’m off to a head start!

Thanks
Take Care
Sibro
 

Jemima

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Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
508
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
11/2019
Country
PT
Hello there

Just by way of an introduction I have been experiencing fibromyalgic symptoms (most persistent being ongoing muscle and joint pain, weakness and ongoing fatigue) for the last 10-11 months and have been given a diagnosis of migraine with extended fibromyalgic symptoms by a consultant neurologist. While I had a short episode of migraine over 12 years ago I haven't actually experienced any migraine type pain in my head during this last 11 month period. I may have had the very occasional usual minor headache (dehydration usually). So, I'll just go along with his assessment but will obviously be focused on fibromyalgia symptoms as it is having a significant impact on my life at present. Before the symptoms I was quite physically active. My job requires regular physical effort (outdoor work) and I also climbed, ran did moderate weight training in my spare time.

I've read that physical exercise will be important in dealing with my new way of life. I have gradually returned to running and weights. However, more so with the latter, I find that my former exercises, at a much reduced rate, causes the very real sensation of pulling muscles, tendons or ligaments. This results in significant pain that then stops me from continuing.

My thoughts are is if research suggests there is no evidence of actual physical damage taking place then is it a case of fighting through the pain and continuing? Being able to exercise has always been very important and central to my life. I am not a fanatical fitness freak and I'd say moderate at at most. But it always has offered me significant benefits in my life. So I while I might be prepared to continue through the pain, what I am experiencing is a very convincing sensation that I am damaging whatever tissue is being used. In normal circumstances I'd stop recover and start a graded return. But if this is not going to go away and isn't actually physical (a neurological phenomenon?), then continually stopping or waiting is pretty pointless, unless it really becomes unbearable of course?

Sorry this has become a lot longer that I planned but being "new" has probably resulted in some "off loading." Basically I'm interested in people who may have decided to "carry on" even though it felt like they were genuinely exacerbating physical damage by doing so.

Thanks for your time! :)

P.S I'm aware that there could be a risk of genuine injury from any exercising but at the moment it is too frequent and follows on from low key stuff that has never happened before...
Hi Sibro,

I'm another fibromite who was always very active and athletic, and has had to deal with the challenge of adjusting. While you're right that typical fibro pain doesn't indicate real local damage, there is sadly no getting around the reality that fibro does impact our bodily systems in a number of different ways. As Sunkacola says, sadly pushing through discomfort is not an approach that works well with this condition - in fact, it tends to have the opposite effect of the one we desire! Overdoing anything - from exercise to chores - will trigger symptoms, and sadly that does decrease what we can manage.

You can look at activity as a source of stress for your body that triggers fibromyalgia flaring. Alongside general widespread pain, extreme post exercise fatigue and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are both really common. There are a couple of ways you can approach navigating this if you're keen to say fit and active - although keep in mind that you are probably never going to be able to go back to your old normal. The first is to try to pursue the bursts of the activity that you need to undertake, and anticipate/plan for an unpleasant fall-out that may last several days each time you overexert yourself (a pretty brutal approach!). The other is to scale what you're doing back, find a point where it doesn't trigger that tiredness/soreness, and then very slowly build it back up as far as you can tolerate. When I say slowly, I mean mind-bogglingly slowly! The normal rate of re-training that someone might implement after an injury is going to be way too fast for fibro. Slow and steady wins the race 🐌

Tracking your activity, in all its forms, and how your body responds, can help you paint a picture of where your limits are, so consider starting a notation diary. Incorporating pacing - so taking short breaks throughout the day, switching between more and less intensive activities, taking full rest days, and cutting back anything else demanding on days when you want to train/work may help you keep a better balance overall.

I know this sounds insanely frustrating - and it's not great, I admit - but by getting to know your body's new limits, you will figure out a way to self-manage effectively. Fibromyalgia is something that demands we strike a compromise with it - it's not something we can overpower - so we have to work with it rather than against it!

One last thing! You might find creatine and acetyl-l-carnatine helpful for reducing your soreness and increasing your endurance.
I hope that helps ☀️
 

Sibro

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Sep 9, 2021
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Hello Jemima
Thank you very much for your advice. Its good sound information and makes sense. I’ll just have to see what is realistic for me. The way I look at it is that I could look at new opportunities that may have been excused away before this. I might finally end up having a go at something creative. Painting or pottery? Who knows!? 🌦
Take care
Sibro
 

sunkacola

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DX FIBRO
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00/0000
Country
Uni
State
Somewhere
Hello Jemima
Thank you very much for your advice. Its good sound information and makes sense. I’ll just have to see what is realistic for me. The way I look at it is that I could look at new opportunities that may have been excused away before this. I might finally end up having a go at something creative. Painting or pottery? Who knows!? 🌦
Take care
Sibro
Sibro, I want to encourage you to look into doing something creative if you have even the slightest urge in that direction. It is one of the very best things you can do for yourself. Whether or not you end up thinking what you produce is "good" is irrelevant, because it is the process of making something that counts. You don't even have to show it to anyone.
It's fun and can even be meditative in nature. So go for it. If you can find a class that you know is open to all levels do that. Or, just go out and buy some inexpensive materials and start in on your own. Watch YouTube videos on various kinds of art making and various materials and pick the one that looks the most fun - or the easiest - to you.
 

JayCS

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Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
654
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
Agreeing with @sunkacola and @Jemima, I just want to add by focusing on the "injury" part, an interesting question:

Perhaps distinguishing more between single pains and the general Ache can help. Please correct me if it's different for you.
I've pushed thru single pains all my life. A gym workout often even helped get them better. And they still would if they/I could, do if they/I can.
Pushing thru the general Ache all over is however like doing sports when you have the flu - it's deadly, it sort of "poisons" us. Maybe the word "damage" is more fitting than "injury", as it may be on a smaller, invisible level, praps cellular or biochemical, once it's found.
In combination the Ache can exacerbate the single pains and vice versa, so that it sometimes is/seems connected with the single pains.
I can however distinguish them well, since I've got my single pains well under control, many pretty much healed, with the help of expert acupressure, i.e. something physical. I'm managing to improve the Ache too, but biochemically, with amino acids, not physically.
A 3rd one: Pushing thru my stiffness after getting amove from something (sitting, standing, lying) or even after stopping cycling leads to injuries in my feet/legs.
 

Sibro

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Sep 9, 2021
Messages
4
Hi JayCS
Hearing about other people’s experiences and how they manage them has been very helpful.
Thank you for sharing.
Simon
 
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