I’m beginning to feel like I need to say something about the standard view of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue by patients who suffer from it. As a patient of Fibromyalgia, I can tell you that my view has changed substantially over the course of my illness, but these days I am beginning to see a pattern that some might consider controversial.
You see, most people with these conditions, myself included, tend to avoid physical activity and use medications to combat pain and fatigue. We have long supported the research community’s findings that these illnesses are the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, not because we are sedentary. While I am still certain that there are significant changes in our brain chemistry, I am becoming convinced that a sedentary lifestyle does more harm than good to patients who suffer from these chronic conditions.
How dare I suggest that we need to put the chips down and get off the couch. Seriously. But that’s the truth. Muscles in horrible condition will hurt more than muscles in good condition. Stretching is good for Fibromyalgia, and strengthening muscles will reduce the pain in the long run. Yes, you will hurt more at first. Probably a LOT more. God knows I did. But after a while, I noticed I was taking less of the medicine for breakthrough pain, and my pain number was significantly lower. At this point, I’m feeling like I could go back to workouts at the gym if I chose to. And that’s saying something.
Yes, I still need pain meds. I think that’s the part I will never completely escape. But I feel better. I feel stronger. And I’m not willing to believe anymore that less is more when it comes to exercising my aching muscles.
When it comes down to it, I’d much rather be hot and in pain than drugged up and slug-ish. (get it? Sluggish? BWAHAHAH!)