The history of fibro (condensed) and the benefits of exercise

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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 9/27/2009 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I did some research on the origins and history of fibro and it seems that it used to be called "articulating rheumatism" in the early medical journal writings. Apparently it was a disorder that was only dehabilitating to the wealthy who became 'sickly'. In the lower classes women who had fibro pain couldn't afford doctors and had to keep going to make a living or keep up their households. I'm speaking of the 1700's thru the industrial revolution here.

Womens work of cooking, canning, baking, laundry and cleaning before the advent of electrical appliances involved quite a bit of physical effort every day. Wood had to be chopped daily, bathrooms were several steps away from the house, even a trip to the store might involve hitching up a horse and buggy. These women had no choice but to do the work, even if they were in pain. It was just the way it was. They did have helps in the form of tonics and syrups, patent medicines that often addressed 'female complaints' and contained opiates and alcohol. But they still had to walk most places, climb stairs, wring out laundry, chop wood, lug water and carry heavy pots. This may explain why there has been an explosion of fibro in the past 50 years or so.

We do very little physical exercise unless we budget the time to do it. We all have cars, washers, dryers, central heating and hot water heaters. We seldom walk farther than a turn around the grocery store or mall. Yet most of us have found that we get better sleep and feel better with some form of regular gentle exercise. When it was determined that I had fibro as well as diabetes I added the swimming of laps in a pool to my routine. When our budget problems forced me to quit the local Y my fibro symptoms increased respectively. I can actually track my pain levels with the times that I have been more and less active, gardening, walking or working at my desk or in the bakery.

IMHO gentle exercise helps with coping with fibro. We're going to be in pain anyway, but at least with exercise we have the benefits of increased flexibility, healthier circulation and better rest. I know that the cooler temps will keep many of us inside for the winter but I'm asking you to try some gentle yoga, stair climbing, maybe some window washing or leaf raking. Just a bit and take it slow. Anything to keep going and retain what muscle tone and balance we have. Hope this helps someone.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 9/28/2009 2:42 PM (GMT -7)   
very interesting, thanks. yes, it used to be called rheumatism. although i suspect other ailments also got called rheumatism too.
fibro, migraines, ibs

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Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 846
   Posted 9/29/2009 8:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Excellent points, this does make so much sense! When I went to the rheumy for the first time last year, he said that it looked like I had a touch of what the old folk called rheumatism, and I had to laugh at the term. And I often wondered why so many of the upper class women used to have these sickness spells... were they that weak? Was it fashionable to be sickly?

I completely agree with the exercise. I know that if I don't get a bit of a workout at least every couple days, I feel much worse. I am also thankful that I can do the job I have. I waitress, and although it is demanding, during the adrenaline push of the dinner rush, I don't feel very much. I am tired at the end of the night, but still feel much better than if I had a desk job. That I know I could not do.

I wish I could remember where I had seen a wonderful lecture on fibro. It was posted here last year, I think... in the spring?
Anyway, another theory is that our bodies produce excess amounts of this one chemical, that when released, makes us want to take care of ourselves by resting, feeling low energy, feeling ill. It's an old response that would make us want to rest as much as possible when sick to give our bodies time to heal. In fibromites, this happens all the time, making us feel worse and wanting to rest more, which of course is bad for us. So I try to rarely listen to what my body is telling me! lol. Of course, this does get me in trouble sometimes.
possible fibro and trigeminal neuralgia
50 mgs amitriptyline

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17497
   Posted 10/27/2009 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   

Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 10/29/2009 6:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I think your on to something Jeannie. After being in a 2 1/2 yr grief period and not really trying to do much I got upset enough with fibro and looking at my dirty house to become determined to get it cleaned up before Thanksgiving. I have put in some very painful days since my body hasn't been use to doing these things for a long time and have had to resort to some vicodin but I'm noticing that the longer I'm at this and using my muscles the less sore I'm getting. Okay, I'm not expecting hard work to cure fibro and it's not giving me more energy, although I'm still hoping, but if we don't use our muscles we lose them. I'm not one to stick to an exercise routine, never been my thing, I use to keep in shape with plain old hard work and I will use it to try to get back into better shape.
luv and hugs
Forum Moderator Fibromyalgia
Fibro,Sjogrens, Anxiety, Gastroparesis, IBS, Gastritis, Allergies, High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Sodium, Osteoarthritis and Celiac
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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17497
   Posted 10/29/2009 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Two days ago I woke up totally exhausted.  I felt like I had been up for three days straight.  Of course I had the typical fibro pain and stiffness, too.  But, I had earmarked that day to spread some mulch in the back yard gardens.  I dragged myself out and started.  The more I did, the more energy I got and the less pain I was in.  After 2 1/2 hours, I had spread 25 bags...50 cubic feet...of mulch.  I paid for it yesterday and I'm still a little sore today but, boy, does my back yard look great.  I still have 25-30 more bags to spread in the front yard. 
But, this is why I bumped this to the top the other day...the day I did the mulching.  I only expected to spread maybe 5 bags that day because I was so exhausted and hurt but, when I got finished, I was exhilarated!  So, there really is something to this.

Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Post Edited (Sherrine) : 10/29/2009 10:16:08 AM (GMT-6)

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