This article suggests that those with fibromyalgia may benefit from exercise when done on a regular basis. In most cases of fibromyalgia, I do not agree with this point of view. Almost all patients I have seen with fibromyalgia do not exercise because they experience extreme pain when initiating exercise, whereas those without fibromyalgia feel the pain many hours after exercising, which is due to a buildup of lactic acid and other metabolites. For people with fibromyalgia, even just moving an arm or leg may feel extremely painful. Just moving your body around should not produce the same type of pain experience by someone else who just ran 3 miles. So what’s going on here?
Those with fibromyalgia experience exercise intolerance because they have a mitochondrial disease, contributing to their fibromyalgia. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the body and make energy for the body. When mitochondria become dysfunctional as a result of oxidative stress, medications, nutritional deficiencies or toxins from the environment, they cannot supply the tissues of the body with sufficient energy to run the biochemical pathways essential for the cellular survival. When this occurs, mitochondria and the cells they reside in, die through a process called apoptosis. This leads to reduced energy, pain and further oxidative stress. It is known that those with fibromyalgia have abnormal muscle biopsies showing mitochondrial disease, which suggests that those with fibromyalgia are losing mitochondria!
So what can we do?
Support mitochondrial health with specific supplements aimed at treating the underlying dysfunction. It is also important to support all body systems with proper nutrition and supplementation aimed at the underlying pathology of fibromyalgia.