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Dr. Pellegrino's advice for exercising with FM

The exercising individual needs to have realistic goals. I tell patients not to put pressure on themselves to exercise longer and harder in order to feel better. The amount of time spent exercising is not as important as the actual effort to exercise.


People with more severe forms of fibromyalgia usually do not tolerate exercises that involve weight lifting (free weights or machines), or exercise equipment that involve using arm pulleys. These exercises provide a continuous resistance on the muscles and over stimulate them, causing increased pain. Certain exercise equipment can be helpful in fibromyalgia and I always advise people to try the equipment first to determine if it is tolerated and it is helpful before actually purchasing it. Many people with fibromyalgia have nearly-new exercise equipment sitting unused in the basement.
Once a successful exercise programme is under way, the individual with fibromyalgia usually feels better. Even patients who find it too painful to do any light conditioning exercise can usually benefit from a stretching programme. I believe that fibromyalgia flare-ups are rarely caused by the actual exercise programme. Rather the flare-ups are due to some other cause.

During a flare-up, I recommend that the exercise programme be reduced    and emphasise the importance of continuing the exercise programme in spite of a flare-up and not stopping the whole programme altogether. If one stops exercising muscles that are flared-up, these muscles will get tighter and will quickly become de-conditioned and thus will become even harder to reactivate when resuming the exercise programme.
Many people with fibromyalgia have had negative experiences with exercising. The goal is to make exercise a positive experience for someone with fibromyalgia.




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