Why is it hard to exercise with fibromyalgia?

There is nothing wrong with seeking advice from someone who can help you through your fibromyalgia. Some people have certain medical conditions or limitations and those don't have to stop you from working out. Having a personal trainer understand your condition and know how to work through it will be a big help. Education is always the first step at understanding what you need to do. The second step is learning how to act on it and having a personal trainer to guide you will be a big help.
Fibromyalgia is a very complex "disease". The symptoms for fibromyalgia can be anything from sleeping problems, to chronic fatigue and joint pain. The most frustrating aspect of fibromyalgia is that we know very little about it, which makes it difficult to diagnose. To the best of my knowledge, the causes and symptoms of fibromyalgia are largely unexplainable. This is no reason however to neglect regular exercise.

Given the dynamics of fibromyalgia, I think it would be extremely beneficial to work with a personal trainer. When looking for a trainer, choose an individual who has a broad knowledge base and a background working with diverse clientele. Aside from drug treatments for fibromyalgia, physical therapy is often used to ease pain and 'unfreeze' joints. Given this, I think it would be important for the trainer you choose to have experience with corrective exercise.

This will allow them to help relieve deep tissue pain though self-myofacial release therapy. Because of the diversity of symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, your trainer should also be able to properly progress and regress exercises based on your needs.
Dawn Marcus
Ask any physician what the best treatment is for fibromyalgia, and she will probably tell you to exercise! Although research consistently shows the benefits of aerobic exercise, most people with fibromyalgia don't exercise. Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University recently reported that four in five people with fibromyalgia do no aerobic exercise. An increase in soreness and fatigue was the most common reason given for not exercising.

If people know that exercise is helpful for fibromyalgia but still don't do it, what's the problem? It's definitely not because they don't want to get better. It's more likely because exercise is more difficult when you have fibromyalgia, for several reasons:
  • During exercise, blood flow increases to muscles to bring important nutrients and remove wastes from the tissues. If wastes, such as lactic acid, build up in the muscles, anyone can develop exercise-related pain. Blood flow to the muscles during exercise is lower than normal in people with fibromyalgia, making exercise more painful.
  • Normally, exercise helps reduce pain by increasing pain-blocking brain chemicals, such as endorphins. However, these pain-blocking pathways are less active and less responsive in people with fibromyalgia, which is another reason why exercise may be more painful.
  • People with fibromyalgia have reduced exercise tolerance. They may have abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system, which controls heart rate and blood pressure, and this, in turn, increases fatigue.
  • Hormonal factors may also play a role. For example, growth hormone helps repair the tiny muscle tears (muscle microtrauma) that occur with exercise. The deficiencies in growth hormone associated with fibromyalgia may impair this repair mechanism.
The Woman's Fibromyalgia Toolkit: Manage Your Symptoms and Take Control of Your Life

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The Woman's Fibromyalgia Toolkit: Manage Your Symptoms and Take Control of Your Life

The Woman's Fibromyalgia Toolkit tells readers what they need to know to take control of fibromyalgia symptoms. It includes step-by-step instructions for using effective non-drug treatments,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.