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Should you keep exericising if it hurts?
15 Replies
Alison - June 6

I've started doing hydrotherapy and the instructors keep telling me that I can't hurt myself in the water. But when I push myself to do everything they want me to, even when it really hurts, I then suffer for days/weeks afterwards. I know improving general fitness helps FMS symptoms, but are we really meant to push ourselves past the point of pain?


lilly - April 7

Hi Alison,
I was also given hydrotherapy for my fibromyalgia. I like yourself pushed through the pain and would be ill for weeks on end. It is not good to push through the pain with fibromyalgia.Many medical professionals have no idea about fibromyalgia and its affects when you push the body to far.


Valerie - April 23

Hi - no don't push yourself. I did that at at special back centre - they insisted and it just got worse....a little is better than a lot so just cut down,good luck


Kim - April 23

When I first started exercising, I went slow but did push myself eventually. My doctor told me I would be in more pain when I first started exercising but that it would eventually get better. He was right. I was in alot of pain for the first few weeks but am now feeling much better. I'm not totally pain free but do not need to rely on pain medication anymore. The exercising has helped my stress levels as well, which was one of my main triggers of my flare ups. I really notice a difference now in how I feel if I skip a few days of exercising.


sharron - May 16

they say do what your body says & start out SLOW


Bill - June 6

I had 3 back surgeries about 5+ yrs ago, and now even on Morphine, I still have pain pretty much all over, especially legs & lower back. I can barely walk a few blocks.


Sanele - February 16

the importance of exercising


Donna Wilson - February 22

Alison, I think that you should only do the level of exercises that are comfortable for your body. I walk on my treadmill twice a day for 30 min. It has been my saving grace and keeps me functioning. But, I am always adjusting my level of difficulty to accommodate how my body feels. Increasing difficulty is very gradual. Listen to your body. You know your body better than the instructors. I have found that I have to keep myself educated and am my best self-advocate. Don't be afraid to tell the instructors that level of difficulty is too much. You know what's best for your body. Good luck!! Keep exercising but at your own pace!!


bharmon - April 28

My Rheumatologist told me water arobics only as the ultra sound and the tins unit unit were not helping (they were hurting me). Our think that when you have FMS that every muscle is tender to the touch. Its hard I know but I think that the water arobics is the safest for FMS patients. Good luck! Bharmon


tenthline - June 13

Hi Alison, I have been doing pool exercises for about months and although at first I was hurting, I now know it was because I had not done much for a while.. I have just found this forum. When I am hurting now it is because I have eaten something has triggered my fms. I am doing push-pull exercises off the pool ladder and simulating walking on my back and it works fine without any stress on my back and knees. Both my knees have been replaced (one twice). I am 70 and just keep on tickin'. I am also very dissapointed in the gods of science that they litterally have no idea about our disease... As Winston Churchill said "Nevah nevah nevah give up" :-)


Tracieg - July 21

I did water therapy and it was the greatest thing. The heat of the water was wonderful. I graduated myself to land physical therapy. But it best to start with the water and take it easy, yes you can do too much in the water.


lmj0720 - November 9

everytime i work out even yoga i pay for it the next day. i dont understand i use to work out high impact arobics for the longest time then i got hit with this and it takes a lot out of me just to do yoga should i continue to work out and deal with the pain or should i try something different


candyernie - November 23

In my experience, if I didn't excercise when it hurts, I would never excercise at all.
I have found though, that over time, I have benefited by pushing myself, and yes, being in considerable pain afterward.
What happens sometimes with excercise, even hydrotherapy, is that we are not excercising correctly. Do the instructors observe you and give you feedback on how you are doing?


Ruthy9 - January 16

Hi Alison
I currently see an alternative therapist for my FM and he advised me to do gentle walking as exercise. Not to overdo it. dont aim for a 3 mile trek or anything like that, just gentle walking that suited me without overdoing it. I desperately wanted to go back to swimming but he advised not to, not yet. Also anything else that I do especially with my hands which are my worst affected, I have to do ten minutes on and twenty minutes off. Hard rule to abide by but I know it's for my own good. It's a slow process but if it's only gentle walking that I can do now then hopefully in the future it will be swimming and perhaps more. The important thing is not to cause pain through any exercise cos it takes so long to get better, so gentle exercise that you personally can deal with and gradually build up. A slow improvement is better than overdoing it and then unable to do anything for months. Hope this helps :)


Canada17 - January 16

People with Fibromyalgia have an excess of lactic acid in our muscles. Our muscles don't process oxygen the same way as people who don't have FM do.

For example:

A person without FM could do a two hour workout every other day and throw a class of some sort in here and there and feel a "good" burn the next day.

We do a half hour workout and we feel pain in our muscles and our joints (because our muscles are strained and pulling on them) for days afterwards sometimes.

There are two things that are probably contributing to your pain levels.
1) The fact that your instructors don't think it's possible for you to hurt yourself in the water only shows they don't know how your FM affects you. If you push yourself beyond your threshold, you are going to cause yourself unnecessary pain.
2)If the water you are in is chlorinated, that can increase the amount of pain you feel. It is why I don't drink tap water and I use a filtered shower head. I stay out of chlorine as mush as possible so that if I do happen to take a dip in the pool my body is more likely to be able to handle it.

That being said, exercise is important in the long run for our overall pain levels.

-It improves our balances and makes us stronger and less likely to injure/break ourselves. We have enough pain, we don't need to add injury to the insult. lol Being stronger will also help to reduce our flare ups.
-Exercise releases endorphins while make us happy. This is important because endorphins are a natural pain reliever and also help to reduce the effects of depression which many FM patients have.
-Exercise helps to regulate our wake-sleep cycle. Since we all seem to have issues with sleep (one of the seemingly fundamental causes of our symptoms) having a natural sleep aid is always a bonus.
-It helps keep our body more healthy overall. When you don't use it you lose it and you're more likely to injure yourself trying to do something you could do when you were "younger".

Like any other FM treatment, finding the type of exercise that is most beneficial to you will be a trial and error process. Perhaps you could consider some light relaxation yoga or Tia Chi.

Don't push yourself too hard because someone says "it shouldn't hurt". If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "That shouldn't hurt you", or "that won't hurt you", I would be able to buy myself a really nice present! lol

You know your body best, listen to it, stepping back to save yourself pain is smart, don't let anyone else make you believe otherwise.

Good luck : )


Peterbolen - March 29

I find the weather if it is cold brings on my fatigue I have been walking dogs for about 40 years, now if the weather is bad I really struggle to get home, and my ankles really hurt.



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