Fibromyalgia Poems

Chronic Pain: How Exercise Can Help or Worsen Symptoms

Whenever I see a doctor or other professional

They always say exercising helps with the pain

I agree you need to keep your muscles strong to avoid more symptoms

But at the same time exercise can cause even more pain

Anything more than walking short distances can lead to pulled muscles

Even when I try to build up my exercise slowly over time

It doesn’t seem to make a difference how often I try to exercise

I then have to rest for days afterwards which reverses any benefits

The problem is that it’s hard to tell when you overdo it

And your exercise limits can vary day to day or even hour to hour

You also seem to get a delayed physical reaction

Which means you may not feel the effects until days after exercise

You might not realise you have overdone it until it’s too late

But you have to learn to do slightly less than you think you can do

And keep varying it using trial and error

Until you see a pattern and roughly work out your best level to exercise

Remember any exercise is better than none

Even a 5 minute walk can help ease your muscles and feel the benefit

With chronic pain, never go by the phrase ‘no pain no gain’

It can cause more damage than good

Please know you are not on your own in this

There is no ‘1 size fits all’ approach that works with chronic pain

Learn to listen to your body and learn to say no

But some things are worth the pain sometimes

My Personal Experience of Exercise Causing More Pain

  1. I picked up rubbish from the floor bending down for half an hour. 2 days later the pain hit and I pulled pretty much every muscle in my legs. I had to waddle for a week before I could walk normally again.
  2. I went to Top Golf for a couple of hours. It hurt a little on the day but again the pain didn’t kick in until 2 days after the event.
  3. I managed 15,000 steps a few weeks ago (I used to be able to do 20,000 without too much pain a year ago) and for the next 5 days my feet were in excruciating pain and I pulled muscles in my legs
  4. I try to stay active where possible and my job swaps between being active walking lots to being at a desk. Luckily most days I can decide whether to be out and about or at a desk.

My Personal Experience of Exercise Helping Pain

  1. A small amount of walking every day and building it every day has helped me, but I have to make myself keep it up most days.
  2. I did a course on tai chi helping fibromyalgia and although I don’t practice tai chi as such, I have started to take more notice on how quickly I do things. If I stretch slowly and lift things slower I’m less likely to make my pain worse
  3. I try to do slightly less than my usual tolerance of exercise to do my best to avoid too much post exertional fatigue and pain

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4 thoughts on “Chronic Pain: How Exercise Can Help or Worsen Symptoms”

  1. This is so true. Every time I try to run or play golf or garden (in moderation)…a day later I can barely move or I end up with an injury that takes months to recover from- it’s so frustrating.


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