How Exercise Can Alleviate the Pain of Fibromyalgia

Good pain versus bad pain
Tolton acknowledges that exercise does cause her pain, but she sees it as "good pain"—pain that allows her body to release its own painkillers, endorphins.

"It's easier for me to run than it is for me to do the chores, because the endorphins really help. I can run and get an endorphin hit and feel pain-free for a while. I try to exercise at least four times a week and hopefully more."

The challenge of going it alone
Rooks acknowledges that it can be very hard for a fibromyalgia patient to begin and maintain a routine. He recommends joining a group—ideally a group of fibromyalgia sufferers—or, if that's not possible, setting small, realistic goals.

Even for a committed exerciser, however, it can be complicated. Tolton supplements her regimen with injections of novocaine into tender points (the particularly painful spots in the muscles) on a regular basis. And on days when her pain is elevated, she adjusts her expectations of what she can achieve.

For tips on how to make exercise part of your treatment regimen, visit our A-Z Health Library.

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Lead writer: Suzanne Levy
Last Updated: May 09, 2008

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