Stiffness

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Muscle stiffness is often accompanied by the discomfort of pain and cramps when the muscles feel tight. It makes it difficult to move, particularly after resting. Muscle stiffness can be treated with stretching and gentle movement which also aids restful sleep, which in turn, improves the symptoms of stiffness in the mornings.

Mornings Stiffness

Fibro sufferers dread mornings, it’s like waking up with a hangover from hell without the night before.

Un-replenished sleep can lead to waking unrefreshed. Not having quality REM sleep leads to your body not repairing itself fully during sleep causing you to wake up to high levels of stiffness, fatigue, pain levels, sensitivities and a general feeling of being hit by a bus. Trying to get to the bathroom in a straight line can be challenging. You feel like you are in a pinball machine as you knock your legs on the bed post and your shoulders as you walk through a doorway.

Furthermore, your tendons can be constricted causing your walking to be restricted and painful. However, don’t right off your day! It can take up to a couple of hours to come round and loosen up.

Here are a few things to help:

Loosen up

Before you get out of bed, start loosening up you’re your legs by slowly rotating your ankle joints and do a few gentle body squeezes and wiggles, especially around your hips and bottom just to wake up the muscles.

Relax your muscles

Apply heat to relax the muscles such as a hot bath or shower as soon as you can after getting out of bed.

Plan accordingly

Schedule meetings and appointments for late morning to enable you to come round slowly.

Sedentary Stiffness

Due to limited energy levels and needing lots of rest, we find ourselves sitting or lying for long periods during the day. This can lead to our muscles becoming weaker and tighter. So, when you need to stand to either go to the loo, open the door or to get a cuppa, it becomes increasingly more difficult because the muscles are weaker which in turn cause more stiffness and pain. Then we find ourselves in a catch 22 and we then move less to try to prevent the pain. Moreover, inactivity can contribute to weight gain, adding more stress to the body.

So how can we reduce the pain and stiffness?

Move around

Specialists have advised that you get up and move around every 20 minutes to help loosen up.

Gentle movements

Activities such as Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, gentle walks and swimming are beneficial.

The movements gently increase core strength, improving the health of the muscles and reducing pain and stiffness. This also helps aid better sleep and in turn you wake up with less stiffness.

Healthy foods

Eating healthily will also reduce the pain and inflammation, giving you more energy to take part in gentle exercise and other low-level activities.

Advice from Julie

I hear your comments, I can’t do Tai chi, I’m too ill, I can’t remember the moves…..I couldn’t until I tried, it’s not competitive and it’s not a quick fix!

 

What we can do is give you the skills to change your lifestyle to be able to manage your Fibro and CFS symptoms anywhere. We need to keep moving gently and affectively for the rest of our lives. Cringe moment here, but our body is a temple and we need to look after it so we don’t wake the alien.

Programmes and activities that Fibro Active offer to help manage your symptoms

Fibro Active have several programmes and activities that can help you with your symptoms of Fibromyalgia.  We focus on a healthy lifestyle, gentle exercise and sharing information whilst supporting it's members to accept and manage their illness in a positive and friendly atmosphere.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi for Arthritis is designed to enable people to be active when they are unable to participate in other forms of exercise. For more information as well as times and dates please visit our Tai Chi page.

Space to Think

We offer funded 1 to 1 emotional support sessions with a facilitator from Open Minds, a local Nottingham based charity. These sessions are open to group members and our Tai Chi students. 

ActiveAte

A new and fun interactive educational nutrition programme that aims to support those with living with Fibromyalgia and other related health conditions.