Fibromyalgia specialists often recommend exercise as a way to help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. But what happens if you don’t like to exercise? Or when exercise only seems to bring on more pain and no relief from fibromyalgia symptoms? This is the case for one member of WebMD’s fibromyalgia community. She says that she feels really sore after movement and just wants to sleep. “Everything I read says I MUST exercise, and I just do not feel like it. So, any ideas?”
One man laments that he can’t exercise the way he used to. But he says that mild stretching is helpful. He tells her to stretch “just to the point where you start to feel the pull, then hold it there and release.” And if she feels sore after stretching, he suggests a taking a hot bath to help relieve the pain. His routine is to soak in a hot tub for 30 to 60 minutes right before bed. “Most of the time by the next morning, I’m nearly human again,” he says.
Another fibromyalgia community member also finds hot water helpful to ease aches and pains. “I actually found that a hot shower in the morning before I go for my walk with my dog helps loosen me up a bit,” she says. She stretches in the shower and uses the hottest water she can stand. Then she takes another short shower when she returns from the walk and takes short walks every two to three hours throughout the day. “It helps to keep me loose to help get through the day. But take it one day at a time…do what you can and be happy with what you can accomplish,” she says.
Another woman reports that swimming has helped ease her fibromyalgia pain . “I started floating around in the pool for a few days, and then doing half laps,” she says. Once she was swimming laps regularly, she also started doing easy exercises at home. “I started with the easiest one I could find. Then after a week or so I add another very easy exercise to my program,” she says. “There are days that I feel I only can do one exercise, and that is okay -- at least I’m moving.” Getting exercise really does make her feel better, she adds.
Another fibromyalgia community member tried using a Wii Fit interactive video game. Although some of the balance exercises were too difficult, she found one she could do. It involved just sitting on the board and being still. “I’ve found it’s a great way to be aware of my muscles and it’s an easy way to start out,” she says. She also tried the yoga deep breathing and very mild stretching with the Wii and found them helpful. “I’m still dealing with the frustration of what I used to be able to do vs. now, but I suppose I will come to terms with it in time,” she says.
One other community member suggests isometrics or tai chi. “Slow, tight movements contract the muscles and help strengthen them,” she says.