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    FM & exercise
    attypat posted:
    Hi, I'm new to the forum and need advice/suggestions about daily exercise and activity.
    I experience throbbing aches and pain throughout my body, (all those trigger points), and after receiving tests to rule out the obvious, the doctor diagnosed me with FM. I'm 59 years old, and work full time. I have always enjoyed waking up in the early morning, and going for a jog, which has been my routine since 1977. Now, even walking is difficult and painful, on my knees and hips, shoulders and neck. Are there any FM jogger/runners out there that have managed to maintain an exercise routine?
    katmandulou responded:
    Hi attypat, and Welcome to the group!

    I think we've all wondered about exercising with FM. Did you stop running because of the pain? Let me tell you what works for me, and note that it might not work for you.

    I find walking is helpful for me, it gets me moving without the large joint pain. You can start out slow and speed up to however fast works for you. In crummy weather I go to the mall (3 laps = 1 mile), Target or Walmart (they are open late).

    I also do yoga once a week (lately) or twice a week (when I can manage it). My instructor has developed a practice for people who have some limitations, like recovering from injury or surgery, or having issues like FM and arthritis. She says that a good 'down dog' is what WE can do, and if that's standing and facing a wall with our hands on the wall at our waist, then it's good.

    I'm sure you've seen resources in the right-hand column. Also check out . It has good tips for us, and you have to check out The Spoon Theory - it will help you explain to people what it's like to be in your body.

    Have your doc check you for Vitamin D deficiency. Sounds simple, but we who live in the northern hemisphere are usually lacking in D.

    Have the best day you can possibly have,
    Anon_10089 responded:
    Hello and sorry you have had to join our ranks, although you are welcome here!

    The fact is, is that running is hard on the body, even for non-FMers. Many may end up with joint issues and/or other injuries. It's a high impact activity.

    I'm not saying you will definitely have to stop running--I don't know your body. But most of us cannot endure high impact activities for long. Right now, your pain is probably not under control yet. I get what you're saying about walking because I am having issues with that too right now. It's very frustrating because it should be a normal everyday life function!!

    Unfortunately, with FM, "pushing" through pain doesn't usually provide good results. We have to push through in our everyday lives anyway. My advice, would be for you to get your pain a little more controlled before running again. Since you have run for so many years, I wonder if you have issues with trigger points. There is great information on this website:"00E

    After years of certain pains in my back/neck/legs during walking, I'm finally making the connection with trigger points. The FM amplifies the pain they can cause.

    Of course, staying active is good. I know, it seems contradictory! Perhaps for awhile, try just walking, making some adjustments that might help with the pain. As a runner, you're probably used to doing a considerable distance. You may have to cut your walking down. Don't power walk for now. Don't swing your arms. Don't try to get your pulse at a certain rate. I find doing all those things can really flare my body up, but if I just WALK, I do better. Plus, with spring coming, it can do a person good to look at flowers and trees.

    I have also had success with low impact exercise like ellipticals and bicycles. Biking can be rough on the shoulders and neck though, because of the positioning. Swimming could be a good option, but if you're having neck issues right now, I'd watch out for the over the head strokes.

    I don't think you have to say goodbye to a good exercise routine. In fact, it will help you with the FM in the long run. But it sounds like your body is in a bad flare right now. So much of FM is figuring our bodies out and how to work with them. There is another person on here who does run, I believe. I'm not sure if she posts daily but hopefully she'll chime in too. I've run a little bit here and there but I've been told since I was in my early 20's not to. I have runner friends/family, though, and I know how attached people can be to running. So I know this cannot be easy for you. Hopefully you can find a way to do it. Maybe even a walk/run combo?

    Either way, this site is a great place for information and support!

    attypat replied to katmandulou's response:
    Dear Katmandulou: Thank you so much for your reply. I will take your advice. Unfortunately for the past 6 days I have reduced my routine to walking, which is painful but I can tolerate it. With jogging, I tried to push thru the pain by reducing my distance, but it was too crippling. Because this is all new to me, I really don't know what to expect. (ie. will the pain subside, or lessen, increase..etc.)

    So far, since the doctor diagnosed me with FM, and prescribed cymbalta, the pain has NOT gotten any better. All of the online research suggests that worry/stress/depression contributes to the condition. If that's the case, I can't see myself improving anytime soon.

    I appreciate your kind words.
    Hope you have a good day.
    attypat replied to Anon_10089's response:
    Dear JR
    Thanks for the resources. I really appreciate your advice and empathy. You're right about being attached. I've had very few injuries throughout the years, and was even able to jog during my pregnancies. It's quite a blow. Well.... I will continue to be active, even if it's at a substantially reduced amount. You mentioned that maybe I'm in a "bad flare". Does the pain tend to increase and decrease in intensity? Even if it's random, I could at least look forward to the days that I don't feel so lousy.

    katmandulou replied to attypat's response:
    I try every day to do something physical, unless the weather is real crummy. Today I took a solo trip to Target, then a stop at CVS, then to Rite Aid. Tonight I'll take a walk with DH before dinner.

    Do you take any supplements? Some people find relief with glucosamine or a natural remedy. I'm sorry I don't know just what others take. When I'm really not up to anything, I take glucosamine, which helps after a couple days. I'm allergic to sulfates, so I don't get glucosamine/chrondroitin sulfate.

    The sorer I feel the more I sit, which isn't good either. (If sitting was an Olympic sport, someone with FM would win!) Find out what you can do, and do it. We're here for each other!
    rosielou responded:
    I've found Pilates on a reformer is another good way to exercise. Your back is supported on the reformer for some of the moves and that helps with the pain. You'll get the benefits of both weight bearing and aerobic from Pilates.

    You can modify the workout according to how you feel, gentle to more vigorous. Like Lou mentioned about her yoga, many Pilates instructors will also modify according to students abilities. It's another option that might work for you.

    booch007 responded:
    Good morning attypat,

    I can tell you that it took a good while before I could do anything like that and actually I don't. I walk and I dance on a little trampoline to move core fluids, and raise heart rate.

    I hope you don't need to bargain with the dragon for something you love..

    When people are first diagnosed I have the opinion that they are at their worst. Out of tune, supplemental loss is not repleted and fluid state is way down. Your cells are crying out.

    My passage here on the board and in my life has been expensive and time consuming. The hardest thing is to be consistant, as being human is to waver off the path.

    I saw a physiatrist who told me water pop, liqour or anything else. My cells need water to function. I had no idea how dehydrated I was. Also a green diet of any green veggie I could cook or eat with meat, chicken or fish. Greens are antioxidants to help detox me. This was big $$. This was great information. But doing it all the time was hard. When I was good I have to say that IT MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world to me. The muscles finally listened and stretched.

    My trigger points are forever though.

    I had 2 rounds of botox, with the theory that it would help the endplates of the muscles regrow to healthier tissue. CRAP a mistake, a left turn here. I can't believe now that I put that neurotoxin in my body and in my muscles......I had a reaction to it, so bad that I took off work the next time I received it (yes I did it twice!) I was in the portion of the disease where I would do anything to be better....

    Gentle is the word I would say...listen to your body. I found in bed when the muscles are warm under the sheets...try stretching everything you own. (even finger muscles) I couldn't do it in the beginning, after the process of lean and green and hydration...I was to my surprise in joy one morning when it happened.

    Then I progressed to using the warm shower to get the muscles loose, this is also where I assess my trigger points. Using soap to lube the skin I can feeel the painful spots better and account for the issues I am having.

    I use the book FM and Chronic Myofascial Pain, a survival manual; by Dr Devin Starlanyl 19.99 on

    Priceless passage book for me. I own both and I say the first is important for knowledge before the second with the latest information. I also bought the medical book that the neurologist used when I was saying my symptoms and she would say " Oh, like this here..." went home and bought it right away.....

    Knowledge is so important here, and knowledge of you is just, if not the most valuable tool you will make. I journaled my triggers and fixes for 2 years before I joined here. I noticed that life was sweeping me away and then I was in so much pain...not knowing why or what caused it. Journalling the low and the better helped me to see cause and effect. See how to improve my little world.

    Good luck, go slow in trying to get back to that jogging as there are important things to learn. Arms need to stay close to the body (no swinging) and you need to get the TrP's better.
    That came from the book and Dr Pellegrino here. (Arms stay home).

    Good luck, stay and post and learn what you can to make a better you. All my best, Nancy B
    marinaann responded:
    Hi Attypat,

    I am thankful you approached this subject. Last summer I started running at 48 years old and loved it. I completed a 10K the day after I turned 49 and a half marathon in November. Then the IL winter from Alaska arrived and I was in terrible pain for the second yr in a row. Went back to the Dr. and more tests before being diagnosed with FM last month.

    Now in 3 wks I am supposed to run another half marathon I paid for months ago at the IL Marathon and there is no way I can run. Too cold and painful to train at all this winter. I am going to try walking some since I can't get my money back. I am also supposed to run a full marathon in Indy again in Nov. Reading the posts here really make me wonder how that will be possible.

    Is there anyone who has managed to continue running?

    Also thank you to all of you who post with great info and resources. It really helps. I am still trying to figure out this new lifestyle change.
    missist replied to marinaann's response:
    Hi-- just want to say the beginning of fibro is the worst for pain--but if you don't get the right combo of meds/sups/diet/exc. & rest/pacing--figured out for yourself--it can be very prolonged.

    I got mine 30 years ago when nobody had heard about if--and did not get the right combo for many years so mine was prolonged for about 10 yrs.

    I do not at all have the level of pain i did back then now--but something does still aways hurt. just not as bad. Fatigue for me is not improved as much as I could wish but I sleep a lot better.

    I wish I could encourage you on running-- I've never been up to that point in my life--so can't say much on that I was in track back in highschool prob should have gone long dist. instead I was relays and hurt myself my first race. LOL So that was it for me.

    I walk and I stretch in my hot tub and I do PT when I have a new area of problems.

    jenna12186 responded:
    Hi! For me i have all over pain too...i can tell you that using inner and outer thigh machines on a medium weight really helps my could try that. also the bike can help your knees. I also find water exercise the best for FM. its gentle and feels good and less straining. Hope this helps!
    marinaann replied to missist's response:
    Thank you Mary,

    I am sorry you went through so much, especially in the beginning. I am glad to hear you are doing much better now. I am still getting the hang of this. Last year the warmer weather really made me feel better. I thought whatever was causing all the pain had improved. Then winter struck again and so did the pain. I am hopeful that the warmth will make the pain better again. Now if warm weather would just get here.

    I appreciate the support and encouraging words. They really help!

    attypat replied to marinaann's response:
    I know exactly how you feel: not being able to do what you really enjoy, which is good for you both mentally and physically and an activity you were able to achieve major personal goals etc. It's sad. I tell myself, it could be worse, (which is true). But there is a loss when you become inflicted with FM.
    My routine is substantially altered, but I'm not going to give up the hope of someday being able to run, even if it's short distances I would be happy. On saturday, I was doing the walking which is now the substitute, and I did a little jogging just to get my heart rate up. It hurt, but was bearable. I don't think I'm hurting myself, and if possible I'll keep trying to add some jogging in the walking.
    My "racing" days are over, unfortunately. But, listen to your body, and maybe it's be possible to complete your marathon goal. Hang in there!


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