Aerobic Exercise Aggravates FMS Pain?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jhmitch, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Next time you encounter a doctor who thinks that all you need to do to combat FM pain is to indulge in some aerobic exercise, tell him/her to read this study (which was in the Journal of the National Pain Education Council) before you laugh hysterically:

    "Isometric exercise has opposite effects on central pain mechanisms in fibromyalgia patients compared to normal controls".

    Author(s): Staud R; Robinson M; Price D;

    "Aerobic exercise has been shown to activate endogenous opioid and adrenergic systems and attenuate experimental pain in normal control subjects (NC).

    In contrast, fibromyalgia (FM) subjects' experimental pain ratings increase after aerobic exercise, suggestive of abnormal pain modulation. In order to determine whether central or peripheral mechanisms are predominantly involved in the abnormal pain modulation of FM patients, the effects of hand-grip exercise on thermal (cutaneous) and mechanical (somatic) experimental pain was tested in local as well as remote body areas of FM and NC subjects.

    Supra-threshold thermal pain ratings and pressure pain thresholds over both forearms were obtained before and during 90 s of sustained 30% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). This isometric exercise resulted in substantially
    decreased thermal pain ratings and increased mechanical thresholds in local as well as remote body areas in NC (Normal Controls).

    Opposite effects were detected in FM patients. Thus, sustained local muscular contraction induced widespread
    pain inhibitory effects in NC. In contrast, the widespread hyperalgesic effects of exercise on FM patients clearly indicate altered central pain mechanisms. However, whether these exercise effects of FM patients result from abnormal descending inhibition or excessive activation of muscle
    nociceptive afferents needs to be addressed in future studies".

    Pain.; 2005 Nov 1;118(1-2)

    Best wishes,


    [This Message was Edited on 01/15/2006]
  2. grayfryer

    grayfryer New Member

    Yeh if your into tortureing yourself,remember the time when exercise was just a bit of huff and puff your stamina would get better and muscle stiffness,fatigue would lessen and tolerance to stress would improve as you got further into the program,
    Well since trying to start up numerous exercising programs since cfs/fibro began the reverse of this is certainly the pattern for me, the worse thing from exercise is the lessening of tolerance to stress and the extra pain from all those extra bad chemicals your body cant tolerate caused by the overuse of the muscles.And of course there is no way you can get to sleep as your to wound up.
    just tell the next docter its virtually mission impossable.
  3. jeniwren

    jeniwren New Member

    I was told to do light exercise...I told my Dr I couldn't and he disbelieved me until I walked in to his office exhasted from the 15 minute walk to his office from home....all 4 blocks!

  4. elsa

    elsa New Member

    His study from this past summer shows quite clearly that fibromyalgia patients do not spike Growth Hormone releases right after exercise as the normal population does.

    This means that along with the GH we do not release during sleep (as per our disordered sleep), we do not get the healing spike after the long recommended "get moving" theory of fibro treatment.

    Why does it matter that we don't get a GH Spike? Growth Hormone repairs the microscopic tears that occur not only just by living daily life, but that most certainly occur during exercise.

    If the daily tears in the muscle fibers (and tendons, ligaments as well) don't get repaired, the damage will become worse and worse over time. Kind of like dominoes.

    Add the fact that the weaker the structure, the easier it is to continue to tear / damage .... like pulling a lose string on a sweater.

    One day or two days of non-repairment is no big deal. Non-repairment as a matter of course as with fibromyalgia patients is a very big deal. We end up walking around with multitudes of muscle, tendon and ligament tears that cannot heal ..... can't heal if you don't have the main and necessary ingredient to make it happen.

    Bennett's study was conducted in an aerobic exercise setting.

    I do believe that while a fibro patient is addressing this deficiency, gentle yoga stretching and movement in water per each person's comfort level is a good thing.

    However, the next time an arrogent, outdated healthcare professional tells you fibromyalgia patients that if you just got moving and exercised this would go away, you can look them dead in the eye and know you are more up to date and knowledgeable then they are.

    With that knowledge you can let fly whatever you wish in the form of "educating" them, LOL.

    I would print out Stoud's and Bennett's study to have in your "traveling" portfolio .... the one that goes with you to doctor's appointments and share it with them early on.

    These two researchers are world class and experts in the field of CFS and FMS. There are not too many healthcare providers that have a leg to stand on when put in a nose to nose comparative line up with them.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to find and post Straud's study. It is good information for all of us to be aware of.

  5. fibropax

    fibropax New Member

    I recently had a rheumy tell me that I just need to do aerobics every day and get a good night sllep andI'll be fine. I had to leave before I exploded.
  6. SallyK

    SallyK New Member

    I told my Dr. that I had a treadmill and he told me not only to stay off of it but to get rid of it! He only allows me to do stretching, but he does like for me to do that twice a day. I'm talking about like 10 minutes twice a day. Very light. But on my own....I go to the pool....the warm water makes me feel so good. I'd recomend it to anyone.
  7. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Thanks to everyone (grayfryer, Jen, Elsa, fibropax, and SallyK) who took the time to respond to this thread. I also appreciate your mentioning Bennett's study on growth hormone, Elsa - I'll be sure to add that one to my FMS research collection.

    The Staud study reminded me of what happened a couple of years back. Before I was diagnosed with FMS, I tore the meniscus in my right knee and was sent off to do "boot-camp-style" aerobic exercise in a physical therapy class.

    Weeks later, the orthopedic doctor was amazed when I came back to see him in far more pain than before I'd started doing these exercises! This led to a referral to a rheumatologist and (finally) a diagnosis of FMS.

    Most everyone on this board knows better than to believe the "all-you-need-is-a-real-workout..." nonsense but it makes me shudder to think of all the newly-diagnosed FMS patients that uninformed doctors have sent down this same painful (and erroneous) path.

    At least some doctors keep current on research. Let's hope that the number of well-informed physicians increases in the future.


  8. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    I used to do step, aerobics, and weight training. Then I got FMS and suffered through all of that for a year. Finally had to give it up as it was just causing me to hurt more. I didn't have pain meds for a long time.

    In time, I learned that certain movements and carrying heavy things, etc. causes more pain, so I have had to try to avoid as much as I can. Even being on the computer too long will put me in a flare. I even had to get someone to clean my home.

    If the doctor's can't understand that, then just too bad. I have tried over and over and we finally got rid of the last machine I tried on, a free treadmill we were given. I couldn't even go 4 minutes on that without going into a flare.

  9. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I am able to walk 3 miles some days and others cannot walk across the room. My rule is, if it hurts STOP. Our bodies tell us through PAIN to stop. Vet's often say, "I don't want to give your pet this pain pill because they will just run and injure themselves further, dogs know to lie down and rest till they heal. I think just try and do whatever you are able to, stretching, even panting, walking on the spot on a thick piece of foam rubber, water supported, but I find even Chiro's, PT's (especially) and Sport's med docs all treat us as if we have a sporting injury rather than a long term chronic disease that has acute flares that rapidly occur. I am about to start a gentle Pilates class where one is directed to just move at one's own pace. I am hoping this will be good.
    Be kind to yourself. Love Crom
  10. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Finding the right balance between getting enough gentle exercise to keep going vs. overdoing things (with aerobic workouts or doing too much in one day), seems to be the only way to get through the FMS maze. Yet it sure isn't easy to do this!

    Each of us seem to be impacted differently with this DD and a doctor who recognizes that there is no "one-size-fits-all" set of symptoms or a universal remedy is a valuable asset.

    However, because not a whole lot is known about what causes FMS-CFIDS, the ongoing work to investigate new supplements, treatments, and studies ultimately falls on us.

    That is why I am very grateful to have met all of you on this board and I'm thankful for your contributions and support. (Now please give yourselves a gentle pat on the back - LOL!)


  11. ldbgcoleman

    ldbgcoleman New Member

    I think you should do what works for you. I started out just walking 10 minutes a day 2 times per day and now I have built on that I waqlk 50 minutes 4 times per week and it is fairly brisk. I took a long time to build up to the point I am at ( probably 4 or 5 times what it would take a normal person too) and I gave myself a day off when I needed to. I do lots of stretching before and after. I think the walking has been good for me. I think whats works for one person may not work for everyone. Lynn

  12. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I should copy this and send to my rheumy.

    He has told me hundreds of time that aerobic-level exercise is the ONLY type that will help fibro.

    He always adds "mind you, you will be sore for the first couple weeks, then it will start helping you!" LOL

  13. jvrealty

    jvrealty New Member

    Hi JHmitch
    I've been doing the YMCA for a couple of years and lost no weight. Tried WW and the same results. I signed up today for Curves and the person I worked with knows many with Fibro and her husband is also affilicted. I signed up and will only do the machines that will fit my limitations. It's only a 30 minute workout and may be well worth it. I need to loose 30 lbs LOL

    hope this help

  14. rachel432

    rachel432 New Member

    i've been finding that i can still do the eliptical machine like i usuall do at the gym but if i try to do any weight training i wind up in horibble pain. i'm still just figuring the way this dd works and i really don't understand it but all i can figure is that an eliptical is absolutly no impact on ant joints. also it does't bump you around. i'm upset that i can't lift weights anymore as this has always been a great stress reliever for me. but i guess some things need to change. i can't give up on exercise all together even if it is that i can only go on my days off work so that if i am sore i have time to recover.

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