Exercise and Reconditioning During CFS/Fibromyalgia Treatment
By Jacob Teitelbaum, MD
Dr. Teitelbaum has us given permission to reprint information from his website. While that website is focused on treating CFS and Fibromyalgia, Dr. Teitelbaum considers Lyme disease to be a factor in both illnesses, and the information he gives is often useful in treating Lyme disease as well.
When being treated for any debilitating illness, reconditioning is a critical part of getting well. Because of the body wide “energy crisis” seen in CFS/Fibromyalgia, most of you have found that you were unable to condition beyond a certain point (it takes energy to store energy in muscles—which is what conditioning is). Instead, the doctor would push you to exercise, and you would spend the next 2 days in bed feeling like you had been hit by a truck!
The good news is that as you do our proven effective “SHINE Protocol” (Sleep, Hormones, Infections, Nutrition, and Exercise AS ABLE—discussed at length in my book “From Fatigued to Fantastic!”), you will find that your body starts making the energy needed to condition. You will then be able to exercise more and more—and it will actually leave you feeling better and stronger.
To tailor a SHINE Protocol to your case, we invite you to do our educational “short program” computer program at www.Vitality101.com, which will analyze your symptoms to tailor a treatment protocol to your case. You can then begin many of the natural treatments on your own while working with a physician to add in the prescription recommendations (I recommend a Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Center physician—see www.fibroandfatigue.com for offices nationwide—they are trained experts and know how to get you well). Although we usually charge for the web site computerized programs, I have decided to make the short program available free, as our goal is to make effective treatment available to everyone!
I have invited our patient Lisa D, who was sent to us by Dr. Oz and appeared on the Oprah show, to write this issues article on exercise. She has learned how to get pain free, and go from fatigued to fantastic. She is also excited about showing others with CFS/Fibromyalgia how to do the same!
Adding “E” for “Exercise” to the SHIN Protocol to Make it SHINE
Article by Lisa D
Exercise is an important part of the SHINE protocol. As a former group fitness instructor, exercise was my passion. I absolutely loved to exercise. My world came to a screeching halt 7 years ago. My once busy nights filled with teaching fitness classes were empty and filled with doom, gloom, and pain from fibromyalgia. Although I never lost my passion for exercise, I thought my ability to exercise was almost non-existent. Boy was I wrong!
Last fall, I was one of eight individuals selected to be a part of Dr. Oz’s YOU: Staying Young Program featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. As a part of the Staying Young program, I was supplied with a bag full of goodies including a pedometer. Soon after, I decided to start my exercise program. I put on my pedometer and took a walk. Day after day, I was truly amazed at the number of steps I accomplished each day. After a few weeks of daily walks, I noticed a change in my body. My cold hands had feet had started to warm. My pain had greatly diminished. For the first time in many years, my energy levels had increased dramatically. I felt alive again. What a wonderful feeling :-)
For many fibromyalgia patients, doable exercises include walking, Yoga, and Tai Chi just to name a few. Walking is an ideal exercise. It stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary glands (both of which have a direct impact on fibromyalgia). This stimulation releases endorphins, which are considered “natural pain killers.” I also include a combination of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates in my exercise program. These mind and body exercises provide strength for the body, mind and soul.
The key to a successful exercise program is to not overdo it. Get yourself a pedometer, a good pair of walking shoes, a Yoga mat, and a positive attitude. Start slowly and take one day at a time. Increase the intensity and duration of your program with caution. Everyday will not be the same. Record your accomplishments in a journal and be proud. You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of steps you can accomplish and the increase you will see in your strength and flexibility.
Self empowerment is all you need to get started.
I’d like to thank Lisa for her article, and offer a few tips to get you started safely:
1. Begin with light exercise like walking or even warm water walking (in a heated pool) if regular walking is too difficult.
2. Walk to the degree that you feel “good tired” afterwards and better the next day. If you feel worse the next day, stop a few days and then cut back.
3. Walk only as much as you know you comfortably can (or start with 5 minutes). Then increase by 1 minute every other day as is comfortable. When you get to a point that leaves you feeling worse the next day, cut back a bit to a comfortable level, and continue that amount of walking each day.
4. After 10 weeks on the “SHINE Protocol”, your energy production will usually improve considerably, and you’ll be able to continue to increase your walking by 1 minute every other day.
5. When you get to 1 hour a day (or 10,000 steps throughout the day if using a pedometer), you can increase the intensity of the exercise. Again, listen to your body, and only do what feels good to you. You’ll know the difference between how “good pain” feels versus “bad pain” or crashing. Overall, “No Pain, No Gain” is stupid. Pain is your body’s way of saying “Don’t do that!”
6. Do consider a pedometer. It makes it more fun to be able to see your endurance go up (set it for total steps you walk a day). There is even a recent pedometer study showing it to help ;-)
Unless it is cold, and the cold flares your pain, I recommend you get your exercise by walking outside, so you can get sunshine—your key source of Vitamin D. Many people with CFS/Fibromyalgia are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D from sunshine (or supplements) will help improve immune function and will also decrease the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and cancer (low Vitamin D is responsible for over 85,000 cancer deaths a year in the US). Make a plan to walk daily with a friend, and somewhere that’s enjoyable (on cold days it could be in the mall). That way, you’re more likely to have fun—and stay with the program!
Welcome to getting your life back!
Love and Blessings,
Jacob Teitelbaum M.D.
Gordon Medical Associates is bringing Dr. Teitelbaum to the San Francisco Bay area this fall to speak with local patients and physicians about his treatment protocols. Details will be available soon.
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” and author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery/Penguin Group), Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill), Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press 2003), Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), and his newest book Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press, July 15, 2011). Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatment. He will be coming to the San Francisco Bay area in the fall to speak with local patients and physicians about his treatment protocols.