Fighting fibromyalgia

I recently made a fantastic new friend who has a really amazing way of coping with her fibromyalgia. She is full of positivity and says she won't let it stop her. I am inspired. For me, I had already relaised that exercise is one of the best 'treatments' for fibromyalgia (see for example - just about every commentary on dealing with FM cites exercise as a key treatment), but, at the same time, I've been cautious with myself, worrying about overdoing it and, therefore, not pushing myself. But she does. And she keeps going and she is managing. She has two kids and walks and cycles everywhere. She doesn't ever drive. I am so encouraged by this. Lately I've taken up swimming in a big way. I always liked cycling and horse-riding, but I'm really glad I've got another activity that I CAN do. I went for swim lessons for adults for a six week course and learned how to breathe properly and improve my technique, particularly so that I no longer put too much pressure on my neck. I love it and I am feeling good. Have only had one really bad day in months. I'm taking less medication, which I am glad about, because the pills don't work that well anyway and I often wonder why I'm pumping my body full of needless (and sometimes dangerous) chemicals. I posted on here a long while ago, perhaps even a year ago, about fighting fibromyalgia with exercise, I just want to encourage you, again, to go for it. I know for some people it iss hard to get started, but it is worth it. Start slow and build up and, eventually, you will see a marked improvement in your condition. I really 100% believe it. Go for it! One thing I would add though is that exercise needs to go hand in hand with healthy food and lifestyle. I have been wheat free for more than a year now and I don't miss that stodgy food at all. I eat loads of fresh fruit and veg, live yogurt, nuts and sees and I am gradually losing weight, my skin is great, my hair is shiny, my nails are strong and I feel wonderful. Don't lie back and let fibromyalgia steal your life, fight back!

14 Replies

  • Hi, I am glad this works for you, but not everyone is the same, I have always exercised 3 times a week at the gymn, swam and walked the hills at the weekend I am a vegetarian, lots of fruit and veg, meditation etc, after 14years with fibromyalgia I am totally seizing up and in constant pain, I have an underlying spinal problem. What suits one does not necessarily fit all, we are unique and have to find what suits our own situation, for me the more exercise I do the more I seize up, gentle walking helps with regular stops, I get exhuasted and the pain really gets a grip if I try anything else and I have tried them all, yoga, pilates, stretching etc. Not everyone experiences fibromyalgia the same way so we need to be careful suggesting that one way suits all. Gentle hugs to all.

  • I am glad that exercise has been good for you and agree it can work for some people but like Sophie it depends upon the combination of health issues. Many people with fibro have a variety of problems - the health promotion people advised me to do Nordic Walking but that caused a massive flare up of my shoulder problem so I could hardly move for a week. The physio suggested Pilates but the floor-based exercises triggered sciatica which I hadn't had for years. I was keen to swim but the physios told me that breast stroke would aggravate the inflammatory arthritis in my neck (which it does) and I have never been able to do the crawl because of the shoulder problem. Like you I believe exercise is one of the most beneficial treatments for fibro, as for many other health problems, so I joined the Ramblers. I didn't imagine I would walk any distance as earlier this year I was feeling so disabled that I imagined soon needing a blue badge for parking - but I went for the first walk and found the combination of friendly and supportive company, a gentle pace, and supportive walking boots enabled me to walk 6 miles the first time! Now I go fortnightly, though the walks are not always as easy and often I feel exhausted afterwards. However usually my fibro pain is no worse and my mood and general health will benefit.


  • Hi,

    exercise is good but people need to understand they have to pace. I used to be a ballet dancer and was actually told to exercise less as I was in a permanent flare up. Slowly start and build up gradually is always the best way I think.



  • Hi. I also have a problem with exercising. I usually walk between 1 and 3 miles a day. I always on my feet at work (7 hrs a day) and when I finally get home from work I am shattered. I

  • I am suffering today but I feel like a spring lamb

    I was woken up by the terrors (sorry ) terriers wanting to go out

    Had a lay in to compensate

    Took Dogs out (good job they stop and do doggy things every 10yds

    Did the Washing

    Went to the Shops

    Mended Tablet PC

    Watched Tv

    Prepared Meals

    Played Game on tablet PC

    Fed Dogs

    now on computer browsing

    Will Take dogs shortly

    My Body is aching all over my feet and fingers in particular

    And Yet mentally I feel great

    Why probably since getting to a certain age I have more money (not a lot) and I don't have to worry about ESA anymore

    So what I am saying when you are Working age benefits you don't realise how much hidden stress you are carrying until it is no longer there

    Good Luck

  • Apple4me,

    I am almost jealous of your capacity for the exercise.

    I used to be at the gym at 7am 5 days a week before work, I went there on a bike then on to work and everywhere on that bike. Cycling holidays was a regular occurance and I thought nothing of covering well over 100 miles a day just for fun. Climbing, Sailing, Running I never stopped and look back on it fondly and also with the sadness of loss.

    All this I did as a Vegan eating only organic food, yes a vegan bodybuilder. I was persecuted for not eating steak and my body fitter, more flexible and better defined muscle than just about anybody in the gym.

    I know about graded exercise and over doing it,,, I have tried and it just don't work for me,, I have limited capacity/tolerance for any exercise now and sometimes just getting out of bed and downstairs is almost more than I can manage, on good days I manage Tesco but before I get back my body is like a lump of lead and It can take me days to recover.

    To be quite honest, I know you mean well and only to help by sharing your experience but I feel a little insulted at your assumptions and very limited understanding of the condition.

    People with Fibromyalgia often suffer from the attitudes of people who do not understand anything about the condition and for someone to assume that such a diverse condition is the same for everyone using there own experience as a measuring stick is really very misguided and,,,, well just wrong.

    I know there are many people worse of than myself, at least I can get out of bed and have a little independance even if quite limited.

    Best Wishes, Ray

  • Hi Apple4me

    I am absolutely delighted to read that your exercise plan works so well for you. I do my daily exercises but due to some other very severe medical conditions I cannot guarantee that I will feel so good about it the next day!

    I want to wish you all the best of luck.#

    Ken x

  • Absolutely Ken. I do mine alone as I cannot keep up with a group. Doing something regularly is a help - and no cheating with a sonic screwdriver. Spoon theory helps.

    And you don't need a gym or any equipment except for psychological purposes like morale. Your own body is the best piece. But then I'm not a Dr or physio.

  • Yes I think exercise is a key thing for a lot of people, but maybe not all. It works well for me. But I think that with fibro everyone has to somehow find their own way of coping and someone else's solution isn't always right. But well done you. x

  • I'm thrilled you are so well now, Apple4me, good for you!

    However, I want to add a serious word of caution, along with many people who have already posted. While exercise can really help some people with fibro, many of us have fibro as a secondary condition. My problem is that the exercises that might help fibro do terrible harm to my fused spine and inflamed joints. They can also cause frightening vertigo and blackouts because I have a congenital problem with my ears which, because of the damage in my neck, now causes intermittent labyrinthitis.

    So I'm afraid while exercise can help, it has to be approached with caution and preferably under the care and direction of a physiotherapist (in the first instance, at least).

    But in your case, it clearly helps, so go for it! It's wonderful to hear a positive story.

    Mim xx

  • Hi, I have been diagnosed with FM for 20 years and like you I have managed it with exercise (very gentle) and changes to my diet. I also gave up wheat, chocolate, sugary foods etc and find that this really helps. I do not take any medication except for frusemide because my feet and legs swell due to lymphoedema and I have swelling in other parts of my body which is helped by the water tablets. I only gave up full time work a couple of years ago as I was made redundant and because I was 62 decided it was time to retire. It is good to hear that other people have managed to control their pain without too much medication. I do have flare ups but this is usually due to the fact that I have not exercised and eaten the wrong things. The one thing I havae learned about FM over the past 20 years is that not everyone is affected in the same way nor do the things we find helpful suit everyone but it is worth a try.

  • Hi apple4me, it's nice to hear a positive story. Glad you're benefitting from one of the simplest things. Sadly it does not work for me.

    I was only diagnosed just over a year ago, yet since that time I have only gone downhill. The more I resist and push myself, the worse I get.

  • It certainly works for me but it does depend on how much weight you are carrying, and a lot of people who have various painful ailments, do put on a lot of weight on which puts a lot of pressure on their bones, so exercise is the last thing they want to do. It is very hard to get started, but softly, softly, is good advice. If you can manage a little exercise each day it not only benefits your body but it works wonders for you well being and your mind.

You may also like...