Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
Exercising with Fibromyalgia (May 31, 2005)

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Question:

I have fibromyalgia. My history: 20 years of back pain, 51 yr. male mechanic and work 60 hrs a week. Striving to overcome pain, and strengthen, while juggling time for work, overtime, family time, and sleep. I have 3 bulging discs in my neck, 3 in my lower back, sleep apnea, future hip replacement and two wired clavicles from a 100 mph car accident at 18, chronic pain in muscles of the fingers, hands, back, neck, legs, and forearms. Iíve been seeing a fitness trainer 3-5 days a week and progress isn't satisfactory. With repeated irritations from work, and exercise we're puzzled for an approach. Need Help!! Thank you!! Ricky Answer

ANSWER:
You are having a rough time and our hearts go out to you. You definitely need to be supervised and trained by a professional specific to your needs. Here are some considerations for exercising with fibromyalgia.

  • Avoid morning exercise because of morning stiffness. Let the body warm up.
  • Avoid sustained overhead activities and eccentric movements.
  • Your exercise program might include: water exercises, walking and cycling.
  • Training twice a week for 30-40 minutes should be sufficient considering your everyday activities and obligations. Be aware that tender points might restrict and inhibit certain exercises during that time, so trial and error will be your guide.
The positive effects of training:
  • Reduced number of tender points and decreased pain at tender points.
  • Improved sleep and less fatigue
  • Decreased impact of the disease on daily activities
  • Decreased feeling of helplessness.
Start at lower levels of intensity, duration and frequency. Progress gradually. Also, seek professional educational programs that address fibromyalgia in order to control it. Your road is hard, Ricky, but it sounds like you are a fighter.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on www.turnonyourinnerlight.com/page3.html