No pain, no gain? This is not true for people with fibromyalgia. And especially not true for those with chronic fatigue. For many, exercise to pain and increased fatigue may actually be damaging to your body. A small degree of increased discomfort can be a good thing and help you gradually push your envelope and improve. Going too far however, can really set you back. What is even more important is that the point at which this happens and tolerance to activity is exceeded changes from day to day. You will have to learn how to listen to your body, try to exercise every day, and seriously limit the amount of exercise if you feel that bad. And if you feel good, DO NOT do so much that you wear yourself out. Feeling good on a good day means that you have some added energy that day. REMEMBER that this feel good extra energy is NOT YOURS TO USE. It is yours to heal by. Rest some, don’t push yourself, and enjoy some healing.
Remember to be kind and listen to your body, especially as it reacts the exertion of exercise. There are a number of natural treatments you can apply to ease and manage pain from exercise. Here are 6 ways to help ease muscle pain after exertion.
Hot or Cold Compress
If your muscles and body are more following exercise, try applying a heat or cold. Cold can make painful areas numb, but many find ice to be very uncomfortable. Dr. B generally recommends moist heat, from a heating pad or heated towel. Heat increases blood flow, improves metabolism, and speeds healing of what creates the increased discomfort. Don’t use anything so hot it will damage the skin.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help deal with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia. We always recommend it as part of treatment. This is especially true if you are experiencing pain as a result of exercise. Fortunately, a good amount of exercise can help with sleep. Be careful not to avoid sleep by staying up late to watch TV, for example. To encourage good sleep, yoga and Tai chi can be helpful. Meditating and reading before bed can also help, but not from your electronic device.
Drink Lots of Water
There is a correlation between muscle soreness and dehydration, especially in regard to fibromyalgia, according to research. Water can be beneficial by flushing waste from your body — this includes toxins that can be associated with muscle soreness. Staying hydrated also helps to flush your blood through the kidneys and keep your muscles feeling lighter and more supple. If a little flavor helps increase your water intake, try adding lemon or lime juice or cucumbers to your water.
Eat a Diet Rich in Protein
Protein is critical for building and maintaining muscle, especially when it comes to treating fibromyalgia. Eating a diet rich in protein can help reduce muscle soreness following workouts. No diet is right for everybody, and you can get lots of protein from vegetables. Sometimes a protein supplement can be helpful. Refueling following a hard workout is key.
Try Light Massage
When it comes to home care body work, self massage with a small rubber ball as taught in the book by Dr. Blatman and Brad Ekvall can be very helpful. It’s important not to overdo it. If you are real uncomfortable, try a 10-15 minute detoxification bath with a cup of sea salt and a cup of baking soda. Remember to use the ball both before and after a workout.
Be Easy on Yourself — Don’t Give Up
While exercise is an important part of treatment for fibromyalgia, it certainly isn’t easy. Exercise can be very beneficial for maintaining flexibility, controlling weight, and increasing blood flow, but it also can be quite painful as a result of your disease. The key thing is a little at a time — don’t give up. Keep in mind that in the long run exercise can make you happy by increasing endorphins and serotonin in the brain. Recognize it as the challenge it is and congratulate yourself for striving to do your best.