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  • brightness_high In: CHRONIC PAIN
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  • av_timer Last activity: on February 11 2020 at 03:19 PM

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Exercise and Chronic Pain

Jordan Hosler
Jordan Hosler
on November 02 2019 at 07:40 PM

I've been struggling with wanting to build back up some strength but struggling with post-exertional malaise and intense pain afterwards, even for slight and short activities. I have fibro and arthritis and the fibro flare up is the hardest to deal with.


Any advice on how to increase tolerance for activity? Is it even possible? I'm so tired of feeling like I can't use my body. I used to be very active, and enjoyed weightlifting, hiking, running, etc. Now I can hardly fold a basket of laundry without consequence.

TIA for your responses and love to you who struggle also ♥️.

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Hi Jordan, I have arthritis and chronic pain. A year ago I had pretty much stopped all physical activity, because it hurt too much. 

My GP sent me to an exercise physiologist who tailored an exercise program around my capabilities. 

I now, do 3 hours in a specialised rehab gym every week and 4-5 hours of hydrothery every week too. My strength, stamina and overall fitness has gradually improved over time. 

It wouldn't have been my exercise of choice but it has massively improved my quality of life.

I have more good days now, less pain overall, sleep better and have a lot more energy. 



I understand your struggle getting back into fitness after living with chronic pain and all the worries about making it worse etc 

i found a couple of things helpful when I started getting into fitness again with my new life of chronic pain and chronic fatigue, which might be helpful to you 

I started off by downloading a yoga app which has up to 10 minutes of yoga a day for beginners and other intensities which is really helpful for keeping track of how much you’re doing so you can figure out what is too much etc 

as well as doing yoga I found an osteopath with knowledge about chronic pain who helped me work on my skin sensitivity pain and stretch any muscle that were tense or swollen from starting exercise again 

I also found a program that most GPs can reccomend called healthwise or there may be other version - this involves a personal trainer at a gym who has all knowledge of your medical conditions, who assess you and make a workout program based on strengthening and other things you might need ( it also gives you a gym discount so it’s cheaper if you’re not well enough to go a lot 

hope this helps and sending lots of love ?


Katrina, I feel like we're in the same boat. I also have fibromyalgia and I can manage some light cleaning but definitely need breaks. I was doing yoga pretty consistently a few months ago but fell off the wagon. It's just not very fulfilling? Not sure if that's the word. 

Definitely miss that feeling of pushing myself physically. Exercise was like a meditation for me--a break from the world and a challenge of focus. I sure hope I can get back to it someday. I still haven't totally accepted my limitations. Thank you for sharing ♥️

P.S. I feel like i should be able to reply directly to comments, but I'm still learning the app and can't figure it out. Does anyone know if I can do this?

Hi there! I have a bunch of comorbidities all relating to EDS. One of my worst issues is fatigue and chronic pain which I’m sure you know go hand in hand. I’ve found that discussing how to even my energy out with my doctor has helped. I personally went from being very active before I was sick to being bed bound. I am working diligently with my doctor and I’ve started seeing a physical therapist who helps me manage. Low energy activities such as yoga or one or two minor excersises has helped me slowly be able to increase my activity threshold. I also find that nutrition is such a key factor on how I’m goimg to feel with my fatigue. My body lets me know to eat something or drink something like orange juice before I do anything or my crash gets worse. I’ve found that yoga, swimming, and walking short distances are best for me. Good luck on your endeavours. Sending positive energy your way! One last thing, I’ve been working on this for a year and have made very minimal progress so I find patience is key and trying to remember progress no matter how small is progress and even no progress is better than magtive outcomes. 

I used to be very active as well. I enjoyed everything you mentioned and now my body feels like I am carrying around a cement block all the time. The only excersise I say I do is yoga stretching which helps with the fibromyalgia.  I am able to do light cleaning of my house but have to take breaks in between. It is definitely a hard pill to swallow especially when i use to be so active and love the feeling of pushing myself physically, it was a type of euphoria.  Ive come to a place of somewhat acceptance  of what my body will let me do, but I still am open to any new ideas. I try to keep the mindset of "this is not forever, this is for right now". After all i wasn't always sick. 

Hi! Pacing is probably one of the biggest things for building tolerance with exercise. I know for me it was one of the hardest things to get (and sometimes I still have a hard time with it) but also it’s been the best thing. I’ve managed to increase my tolerance very slowly but am now able to at least walk my dog longer periods and even attend a restorative yoga class. You should look it up! Although if you could get help from a counsellor or physio that understands chronic pain then they can help alongside cus it can be hard to do on your own. Basically you do the activity just below your pain threshold (just before you end up in pain). Do that everyday or two days until you feel you can increase. Doing that then very slowly increases your threshold because your nerves Then learn to not associate increased activity as a danger. 


The other thing is actually a mental thing. At least for me. I was under the impression that to go swimming I had to be doing lanes and would always get discouraged but then a physio said that even if I just bob in the water and enjoy it, then that’s good enough! That I don’t have to compare to other people, and especially compare to my old self. And of course doing that and actually enjoying it means more mindfulness and such. So it’s a win-win in the chronic pain treatment terms! But of course, it’s always much harder In practice ? 

good luck! 

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

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