When Pain Strikes
Pain is a clear sign that you've overdone it. While most people who exercise work to a level that causes pain, this approach just doesn't work with fibro patients, who have to be much more careful. If you exercise to the point of pain, you can count on feeling pain the next day. Be sure to follow the guidelines discussed above — start low, and go slow. Sometimes even the most careful fibro patient overdoes it. Perhaps you were having a bad day. Or maybe you were coming down with an infection. Maybe you just didn't realize how hard you were working out.
If you don't like classes, walking, or being at a gym, give exercise videos a try. You can do these any time you like in the privacy of your own home. Best of all, you can do them at your own pace and quit any time you like. Check for videos in your local library or bookstore. You can also order them through organizations such as the National Fibromyalgia Research Association at
Once pain strikes, it's important to take care of it. If an area feels stiff or sore, give it a gentle massage, or try soaking in a hot bath. If you notice swelling, be careful. It might be a sign of significant tissue injury. Apply a cold pack — a bag of frozen corn or peas will do — to the injured area. If you don't have a history of stomach problems, take ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen pain and reduce the likelihood of spasms or secondary inflammation of the tissue.
You can also prevent pain before a workout by massaging your muscles or wearing elastic supports. Stretching and starting slow to get warmed up are important, too. And avoid working out right after you eat — your body will be diverting blood from your muscles to your intestines, which increases the likelihood of cramps and/or post-workout soreness. After a workout, you can try applying cold to sore muscles for ten to fifteen minutes. The cold can lessen pain and reduce muscle spasms.