Best Exercises and Workouts for Chronic Pain of Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia causes chronic body pain. The constant muscle and tissue tenderness can also lead to sleep problems. Shooting pains that may be quite severe originate from parts of your body known as “tender points.” The painful areas can include neck, back, elbows and knees. Exercise can help relieve your fibro pain and help you cope with the condition.

When you are aching all over with a fibromyalgia flare-up, it seems counterintuitive to strap on your running shoes and go for a jog. In the past, doctors have recommended rest when pain flares up, but new research has shown that exercises for fibromyalgia help during a fibromyalgia flare-up and may actually help prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Less Pain, More Energy

Don’t let the muscle pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia keep you on the sidelines. You can and should get moving. A few simple tweaks to common exercises can boost your energy, ease pain and stiffness, lift your mood, and improve your sleep. Check with your doctor before you start.

Get active

Many doctors recommend an exercise and fitness program as the first line of treatment for fibromyalgia. This is before any type of medication is considered. Even if your doctor prescribes medication for your condition it’s important to stay active. Movement should be a key part of your overall treatment plan.

According to the Cochrane Library, research shows that 12 weeks of moderate aerobic training, combined with strength training, can improve your pain and overall well-being. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, exercising regularly is one of the most effective ways to treat fibromyalgia.


It’s an excellent form of light aerobic exercise, which provides a list of healing benefits: It brings oxygen and nutrition to your muscles to keep them healthy, helps rebuild stamina, boosts energy, and reduces stiffness and pain. In fact, a comprehensive research review found that low-impact aerobics is most effective for improving FMS symptoms.

Biking is another good option: “The reciprocal, or back-and-forth, motion helps provide relaxation,” adds Iversen, who also chairs the Department of Physical Therapy at Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences. Other effective forms of aerobic exercise include swimming and water aerobics in a heated pool (warm water relaxes muscles, and the buoyancy of the water helps with movement, whereas cold water can make muscles tense up) and using an elliptical trainer (which is lower impact than a treadmill).

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Strength training

Aching muscles may balk at first when beginning strength training, but strength training is an important part of overall physical fitness. Working with a strength training video can be a good way to start, but remember to modify where you need do (including moving more slowly to start). If you don’t have dumbbells or want to start with lighter weights, grab a couple of canned goods and get started!


A bike ride is a great way to get in a low-impact workout that moves the lower body without taxing it. Muscles and joints begin to warm and move more smoothly as you ride. Choose a paved road to begin with, and start with shorter rides, gradually building to longer excursions.

Low-Impact Aerobic Activities

You can start with low impact aerobic activities like walking, cycling and swimming. You don’t even need to visit a gym to exercise; you can simply walk through the park or swim at your country club. Just make it a point to engage in such physical activity for at least 10-minutes a day.

Household Chores

Household chores may not classify as exercise if you’re looking to lose weight but if you’re simply trying to stay active and fit, they can help considerably. Don’t cut back on household chores because of your condition, instead try to engage in those activities that suit you and can help. Gardening, mopping the floor, mowing the lawn and taking your kids out or playing with them are just some activities that are less likely to be strenuous but will all the same keep you active.

Bodyweight exercise

Bodyweight exercises for fibromyalgia are an easy and convenient way to exercise because the only equipment you need is yourself. Look for videos or classes that allow you to go at your own pace and adapt the exercises to both make them easier to get started and more challenging as you progress. Exercises for fibromyalgia have some special considerations, especially if you are suffering from a comorbid condition. It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Turn up the Heat

Swimming and water sports activities serve as a form of mild aerobic activity and you can improve the results of this exercise by swimming in a heated pool. A number of studies have shown that exercising in a pool with heated water can provide significant relief from fibromyalgia symptoms. This is possibly one of the best exercises for fibromyalgia and you will notice results within a few weeks.


Do it at least once a day to help increase flexibility, loosen tight, stiff muscles, and improve range of motion the combination of which will help ease everyday movements, like looking over your shoulder or reaching for a can on the top shelf of your pantry. Stretching during workouts may also help you to tolerate training better.

Balance Training

Chronic pain doesn’t just affect mobility of the joints and impose restrictions on your activity, it also affects your balance and this further limits activities. With poor balance comes a high risk of falls, which can be even more daunting if you already suffer from chronic pain. Balance training activities can significantly help to counter these problems and it also brings about functional improvements enabling you to participate in other activities.


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