What causes the soreness, fatigue and heavy feeling in your muscles?
To answer this question, we need to understand a little bit of the biology of muscles.
Simply put, oxygen and nutrients for the muscles are carried through the bloodstream to the mitochondria. The mitochondria is like the power cell that gives energy to the muscle. Muscles have many mitochondria and the more energy a muscle needs, the more mitochondria it will have.
As things are moving along smoothly, your muscles love to be exercised because exercising your muscles causes your body to send a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle; keeping it healthy.
Your mitochondria will pick up the oxygen and nutrients needed from the bloodstream; then they will use these nutrients for continuous repair and rebuilding of the mitochondria. They then send, into the muscle, the nutrients needed to do necessary repairs to the muscle, the energy needed for the muscle to contract and release and the antioxidants to wash such things as lactic acid and waste products out of the muscle. This is referred to as the “aerobic” process of supplying energy to the muscle.
When there is a lack of nutrients being supplied from a healthy blood supply to the muscles, there is another way for energy to be supplied to the muscle, but this way is very inefficient and causes a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle (which causes pain). This is referred to the “anaerobic” process of supplying energy to the muscle and this energy comes from sugar.
When an athlete has been running a long time, they will recognize this change from aerobic energy to anaerobic energy as a signal to stop and take a break. After a short break, they will feel their energy returning again and know that it’s time to continue with the run. This short break has given the body time to catch up so the blood flow can once again efficiently supply the nutrients and oxygen needed by the muscles.
You may have also noticed this same idea when you have been doing a lot of reading and your eyes begin to tire. After you’ve rested your eyes for a few minutes, you can return to your reading again.
Because of the lack of the blood supply needed at this time, your muscles will not be receiving their energy from the aerobic source as before, but will switch to anaerobic. The muscles cannot work as efficiently using the anaerobic energy source and pushing yourself to go on instead of resting will cause the muscles to not be able to wash the lactic acid and waste products out; resulting in pain and exhaustion. This inefficient energy supply is bad for the muscle in many ways.
Without the oxygen and nutrients needed to repair the mitochondria and the muscle, the muscle will eventually become covered with scar tissue (which causes pain) and the mitochondria (the power factory for the muscle) cannot be repaired properly.
Now this brings us to the reason why people with fibromyalgia suffer so much muscle pain and what they can do to help prevent this problem.
Causes of Fibromyalgia Muscle Pain
It is suspected that in fibromyalgia there is either a lack of the necessary blood flow to the muscles or the inability to absorb the necessary oxygen from the blood; this causes an inappropriate switch from aerobic mitochondrial production of energy to the inefficient anaerobic production of energy; this results in pain. A normal person would stop and rest when this happens and within a few minutes the pain would subside.
This does not happen with fibromyalgia because the sufferer is stuck in this anaerobic situation. The buildup of lactic acid causes a breaking down of the collagen that holds the cells together and causes muscle damage in people with poor antioxidant systems.
This is why it is so important for fibromyalgia sufferers to rest “before” they are tired and to not use an exercise program that is based on repetitive muscle action.
This mitochondrial failure is believed to be one of the major causes of chronic fatigue syndrome. Mitochondrial failure can be caused by many things, such as poor antioxidant status, poor thyroid or adrenal hormonal control, improper protein function or a lack of much needed nutrients such as vitamin B3, D-ribose, Co-Q10, PQQ, acetyl l-carnitine and lysine, antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C, and the combinations of magnesium/malic acid, and arginine/malic acid. You should allow at least 4 to 6 hours between lysine and arginine consumption because they use the same receptors and magnesium/malic acid dosages are best taken an hour before or after other supplements.
People who have fibromyalgia have significantly lower amounts of intramuscular collagen protein in their bodies than the average person does. This was revealed in specific scientific studies on the collagen and muscle pathology in fibromyalgia patients at the Parker Institute’s Department of Rheumatology and the Danish national Library of science and medicine in Copenhagen Denmark.
Each time a person exercises, their muscles are subjected to a kind of injury. The body then uses collagen to repair the injury to the muscles in order to make them stronger than before; putting the body in a constant state of repairing itself. This is how we get stronger as we exercise.
Because the bodies of collagen-deficient fibromyalgia patients take a longer time to repair these micro injuries, the repeated use of a muscle will result in pain and soreness.
In this same study they also found a defect that showed fibromyalgia patients do not experience a normal increase in blood flow when the patient becomes more active. Because of this their muscles take longer to relax and recover then an average person’s would; hence the need to take frequent breaks.
With this in mind, it is easy to understand why that although it is important that you exercise to keep your muscles healthy and to keep them from atrophying, it is also important that you exercise or move in ways that will not increase demands on the muscles. Using such repetitive movements can cause undue stress in the body’s muscle groups, resulting in a flare-up that can last for several days to several weeks.
moderate exercise, such as walking, not only keeps your muscles healthy, but it also makes it easier to move without putting unneeded stress on your body.
Discuss with your doctor or therapist just what kind of exercise program would be right for you.