Is swimming good for Fibro suffers?

Hi all, Just a quick question regarding swimming and if there are benefits to gain from it. I am, or should I say was, a water baby. I love swimming. I have been attending hydro therapy for a few sessions but only have a total of 5 and have been advised to start swimming. However I find it very very cold coming out of the hydro pool and this causes a flare up of excruciating pain so its not really helping. Swimming pools are not as warm but have been told my local one is kept at a descent warm temp. So my idea is to take a warm towelling dressing gown to leave at the side off the pool and put on as soon as I come out of the pool to stop me getting cold.

So basically are there any off you out there that regularly go swimming and if so does it help? How often do you go? What measures do you take to make it an enjoyable exercise rather than doing it because you have been told to..if that makes sense. Thank you in advance for any comments x

29 Replies

  • Hi,

    yes it is an excellent help if you can do it. My pool maintains a set temperature and I take a towelling robe I made and leave it at the side of the pool. I also have a hot shower to warm me over when I come out. I swim every day if I can and I enjoy it because I now have stopped pushing myself. One a good day I can swim a good distance, a bad day maybe only a few lengths. I have joined [Edited by Admin] [ Website link removed as could be considered to be a promotion of services] which offers tips and so forth and ways of improving fitness very gradually with "lessons" you can print off. You can also do virtual challenges. I am currently swimming the English Channel, all in the safety of my local pool. I plot my daily progress and it makes it fun. I am over 14% across now ! :-).

    I also have got to know another lady with FMS so we cheer each other along.

    Give it a try, it has helped me with fitness and it's also helping me emotionally as well. I used to be a ballet dancer before I developed FMS and swimming has made me feel less like I am a failure .



  • WOW... Thank you so much for your positive reply. I too am feeling a failure at the moment but I will not let this beat me and need to stop feeling sorry for myself and get out there and help my body come to terms with this as well as my head.

    The swim fit sounds fab I am going to have a look at it now. Thank you for that tip.

    I bet having another person in 'the same boat' is really nice too.

    Keep up the good work and thank you sooooo much for your reply. I am going to definitely start swimming sessions now. :-) x

  • Hello hun I tried but it was a bit to much for me but if u can do it the u go girl and have fun xxx

  • cheers darren...shame it didnt work for you I suppose like everything this effects people in different ways so doing different things will effect people differently to. Have you found anything else to help you?

  • I swim in a local pool that is in a facility for people with disabilities, once a week if I can make it, I take it easy and if I can't swim I just exercise in the water.

    The pool is quite warm and to be honest I don't think I could take the cold water of most pools. I keep a towel by the pool and shower after too, but the dressing rooms are quite warm also.

    I do find it hard sometimes, but I am hoping it is helping me...

  • Thank you so much for your answer. It has given me the idea to look and see if there is a facility here like you mention. Thanks again - Take care x

  • I have fibro & ME & find that being in the water helps a lot. I've been poorly for the past month so I've not been able to go but I for a while before that I was on the exercise on prescription scheme & did some work in the gym, some swimming & aqua aerobics. I wasn't able to do it more than an hour or so every other day but I always felt better after being in the pool to the hour in the gym. I'm back at the gym tomorrow so not looking forward to that one!! I hope it works for you hun.

  • Thank you for your reply. Sorry to hear you are suffering at the moment but good to hear you are going back to the gym..just do what your body lets you..I think thats the general idea im getting from people. What is the Prescription scheme you mention? x

  • It's called Live Well. It's for people who need to loose weight or need help to improve their health. The GP can refer you to the PCT & if they approve you get a 6 month membership to the local gym as long as you show willing you get to use their facilities be it swimming or in the gym or any of the classes. You have a health check with a fitness instructor, they set a regime for you & once a week you have an hour one to one with them. I live in East Yorkshire so I'm not sure if it's just in this area but I don't think so. It's well worth enquiring about x

  • WOW..thanks for your reply..very informative....can I sound silly and ask what the PCT is? My doctor has not even bothered to see me after the consultant diagnosed me so I havent bothered to go see him cos I know he will just look down at me. BUT now you have said this I will look into it. Im in Thurrock Essex so im hoping they do it here too. x

  • PCT stands for the Primary Care Trust - the body that run's the health care in your area. Here's a link to the NHS Live Well site maybe there's something on there that tells you what's available in you're area.

    Years ago when I went back to work after a number of years off (I've been poorly for many years & working & not in different stages) I went back to my doctor after not going for a long while & was told off for not going to see him regularly. I've moved around so have had many different responses from GP's over the years but I'd say go back to him at least ever few months. They need to know that you still have the condition & how you are coping. There are different thing's that may be available to you, like a pain clinic, a dedicated fibro clinic, local self help group, the live well scheme or equivalent. There is all sort's that he may be able to direct you to. I was on my own for 25 years with my ME & about 12 years with the fibro until I came up here & found out that there was an ME clinic a pain clinic. I'd never heard of them but I know the ME clinic helped me & I learned such a lot from other fibro patients when we attended the pain clinic together. My Me & fibro have changed so much over the years there was such a lot I just put down to niggles but are actually part of the conditions & I didn't have to live with them. If I'd known earlier I could have had such a different life.

    Sorry to waffle hun but once I get going...

    I hope some of it's useful hun x

  • You wasn't waffling you were giving me advise/info! Very much appreciated too! I have had a quick look on the website but cant really find anything. On the PCT website for this area it is not coming up with searching it so I will do as you have suggested and book an appointment with my doctor on Monday and see what his attitude to it all is and try to find out about LiveWell at the same time.

    You saying if you had found out things earlier you would have had a bettr life is spurring me on. I need to be kind to my fibro and give it things it likes so he is happy and not causing me pain.

    Thank you so so much for your inputs really has helped.

    You take care hun x

    (I will let you know out come of the docs)

  • I can't recommend enough finding out as much as you can about the condition & how to cope with it early on & like you say keeping your body happy & not causing you pain. A couple of main bit's of advice I came across was - Try to avoid asparthime (main sugar substitute in 'No added Sugar' drink's) it inflames fibro pain spot's. Pace yourself, if you know you are going to be doing something rest before hand & make sure you rest after. Another thing I've recently found is something called Mindfulness. It's controlling your breathing to reduce your pain levels, calm you down & put your body into more of a peaceful state. It is well worth googling it or looking it up on youtube. It may sound a bit weird but speaking as someone who can no longer take pain medication it's really amazed me how just concentraiting on something else & on controlling my breathing eases my fibro/ME pain.

    I hope some of it helps you,

    You look after yourself & take care hun xx

  • sorry just had to answer again lol...i drink still flavoured water all day everyday and always by the 'No added sugar ones because they are more 'healthy' so that advice is really more of them for by a water filter and fliter from tap instead. That explains a lot over the last few weather...drunk more water...hence more pain. WoW never knew that thank you!

    Suffering from PTSD (read my info page) i had to under go CBT which I think is very similar to what you have explained so I will try some of the exercises I learnt at that to try to combat the pain too.

    I honestly cant thank you enough for your support and advise this evening.

    I hope you have a painful sleep and tomorrow is a good day.

    All the best...for now :-D

    Hayley xx

  • Hi Hayley,

    It is hard to find any drink's now that don't contain asparthime. there are a couple of high juice cordial's in Asda & in Tesco's (but they are hard to find) that don't contain it. I also drink flavoured water but it's the Tesco's & Asda home brand fizzy one's (4 for £1.50 one's). I'm not sure what the still one's contain.

    I've a family member with PTSD & I think what he learnt was very similar to the mindfulness that I use. If there's any way I can help please feel to drop me a line :)

    All the best hun,

    Em xx

  • Thanks again emma for your info..I am busy today (catching up with housework after a few bad days not being able to do much) but I will def be up for a chat if thats ok maybe tomo eve if you about. I will PM you then and just get back to me when you can. T

    Cant thank you enough for your support! x

  • I use to go aqua class three times a week for any years but had to give up, it was a private gym but the water starting being cold and couldn't stand the pain it gave me, also my legs wee getting worse and when getting out of the pool my muscles were so weak I couldn't stand for a while and people had to help me out of the pool, when u are in the water u can do so much more, but I couldn't get to grips with help getting out of the pool, I'm probably too independent for my own good......Dee x

  • Hi, thank you for your reply. Yes i understand excatly what you are saying regarding how your body becomes like lead when getting out of the pool as this also happens to me when getting out of the hydro pool I have been going to. My legs went all shaky and I could feel anxiety creeping in but I do have the benefit of my husband accompanying me to the hydro sessions however he wont be able to with swimming every day. Aqua classes seems a good idea too. My mind is so muddled at the moment that just simple things like auqa classes dont even cross my mind and my doctor is just useless. Anyway..thanks again for you comments..Im going to look into aqua sessions at the my local pool. Take care xx

  • I swim whenever I can, but I tend to choose the sea. I use a winter wetsuit, which I need help with due to my shoulder pain, along with shoes and gloves to match. Keeps me warm and is very bouyant to boot! I do get cold very quickly without and sometimes even with but it's so freeing. I'm managing once or twice a week currently but that will lessen when colder weather comes to stay. I'm very fortunate to have the sea on my doorstep and, being the south coast means it is that bit warmer and the weather milder to boot. I do use pools too sometimes but find I get tired quicker and colder in just the suit. Fibro sucks.


  • Thank you for your swim in the sea must be wonderful. I grew up in Margatet Kent and I was in the sea most days and even nights swimming 'very freely' :-D I miss it greatly but unfortunately even with the warm temps we have been having I know the sea water wouldn't be warm enough and would cause me great pain for days. I was naughty yesterday and had a bath without my hubby here. I got in ok but then got cold too quickly and started to get out but I was in so much pain I couldn't lift my left foot up high enough and it caught on the side of the bath. The result was me ending up on the floor and my face hitting the I have swollen black cheek ...thats how quickly cold water effects me and I was in pain all evening and night... breaking a plate as well as my fingers just could not craps it whilst trying to wash up.

    Anyway Promise me one thing..if you are lucky enough to get one more swim in the sea before it gets too a few big happy splashes and think of me!!! :-D . You take care and YES FIBRO SUCKS!!

  • Hello,

    We, FibroAction have a Complementary Therapies & Fibro factsheet written by our founder Lindsey Middlemiss using evidence based research. FibroAction have the Information Standard accreditation (as does the NHS) to ensure all information is correct & up-to-date

    The factsheet covers Warm Water Therapies and provides information about it's positive affects regarding Fibromyalgia. I hope you find it of interest.

    If you are starting swimming for the first time since Fibro I would consider making a plan to try pacing yourself like Graded Exercise Therapy. You may need to start doing a certain amount of widths and work up slowly. I know it is tempting to think I'll push myself to do a bit more as this will help me, however slow and steady sometimes win the race, so they say.

    All the Best

    Emma :)

  • Hi Emma, Thank you for your reply, I have printed of the factsheet/booklet so that I can go through it with hubby when he is home. He is very supportive and is eager to find new ways to help me so Im sure this is going to be of great benefit to us. Love this site and fibroaction..have already ordered my bracelets :-D Thanks again.


  • Sorry for putting the link. As it was a free service I thought it was Ok so posted it in all innocence .



  • Hello Jilly,

    I do completely understand what you have mentioned here but there is also services you can pay for I believe I saw on the site. Sometimes best to be safe and ask people to contact you via Pm for the link.

    Please see my new post as I would like as much feedback as possible

    Emma :)

  • Oh bless ya...Im sure it was in all innocence. And thanks again xx

  • I am 61, with Fibro, and arthritis and I swim 4 or 5 times a week with a hot jacuzzi as a treat for doing 20 lengths, I love it, keeps pain down, only use a few cocodomol , maybe 6 a week at present, sleeping well. Can do 50 lengths sometimes. So proud to say that! Need to lose 2 stone, started a diet last week. Also, trying b1 vitamins, 500 mgs a day, is helping

  • WOW!!!!! How impressive is that. Talk about give me inspiration!! Well Done You!!

    May I ask what you were like before you started swimming? For example was you in pain and went swimming to help the fibro and arthritis? if so how long did it take before you noticed the benefits? Im desperate to stop taking as many painkillers (all prescribed YUK) as i do even though I dont take as many as I have been told to as Im frightened of getting addicted x

  • I hate taking pills, I have been prescribed citalopram, amitriptyline, etc. I hated feeling drugged up, so decided to try natural coping ideas. My pain levels are down 50 % , now at bearable levels, When I take 2 cocodomal they work the whole day, cos my body is not used to them and are really effective. I started feeling better after a few months but after 12 months I can say that I am coping well. I can manage to look round the shops for just over an hour and pace my housework and general activities so I never get exhausted. Give it a try, it works for me. Be really positive, that helps me so much . Xxx

  • I am trying to be positive but with days like today im feeling whats the point :-( . With having the PTSD I was put on so many different anit depressant tabs I became a zombie until one consultant asked me what I was on and what dosage and he nearly hit the roof... it was cipralex at the time. He said I had been told the dosage was too high and new studies have show that it causes more harm than good (memory loss, speech, cognitive disorders in general etc) So they weaned me of those at the same time as weaning me onto another. Once my body had excepted the change I said that was enough and told the docs to get me off them. I started to come back to life and then BOOM I get hit with this which now I presume was also with me during the PTSD due to the sympotms. Anyway thats why Im not happy taking pills they only work for a while and then the body gets used to them etc as you say.

    Have had to take full dosage of pills today and now feeling so numb i can hardly function.I am in lots of pain and cold.again very frustrated trying to peel the pots and veg for dinner. Hubby did ask to take over but he ran when I snarled at him as i hate not being able to cook him his meals anymore. Had to give in when it came to lifting things from the oven and dishing up and then I felt just to exhausted to eat it so gone in the dogs bowl. . So bed really is best place for me at mo. I am so going to try to get to the swimming pool tomorrow....fingers crossed. Night xx

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