Request For Information: Does Cellulite Hurt?

 

Soon after the aforementioned cellulite fitting room crisis,  I came to another realization: cellulite hurts.

Not only is cellulite unpleasant to look at, but when I took the time to pay attention I could feel it was also tender to the touch.  It’s amazing how a small detail like this can escape one’s notice.

 

Why We Overlook Painful Cellulite

Cognitive studies show that people have an overwhelming tendency to discount information that does not fit in with what they expect to see.  It’s not that we see what we want to see, we see what we expect to see.

The belief that cellulite is purely a cosmetic condition is deeply ingrained in our cultural knowledge.  Most doctors believe it so blindly that if a woman reports that her cellulite hurts, they assume the pain must be a result of a different condition and not cellulite  (for example, see the response to this question about painful cellulite on WebMD).

This does not change the fact that many women have noticed that cellulite hurts.  And it doesn’t explain the fact that my cellulite no longer hurts now that I’ve been working on healing it.

 

Why Does Cellulite Hurt?

In this month’s cellulite book-of-the-month, The Cellulite Secret: Why You Have It and How to Lose It, Shonagh Walker acknowledges that cellulite can be painful. She also offers an explanation.

As described in our Cellulite 101 Series, cellulite develops when fat and fluids accumulate in subcutaneous tissue, the fatty tissue just below the skin.  This tissue is connected to the skin through fibrous bands called septa.  Cellulite forms when these bands become rigid and pull down against the connecting fat cells, creating an uneven appearance on the skin.

As Shonagh explains, nerve endings can also become compressed and tender in this process which accounts for the pain many women experience with cellulite.

 

How You Can Help Solve The Mystery of Painful Cellulite

So in light of the widespread belief that cellulite is purely a cosmetic issue, I’m sending out this Request for Information to see how this belief corresponds with your experience of cellulite.

Does your cellulite hurt?  Please share your experience in the comments section below.  Or to get started healing your cellulite right now, visit our virtual cellulite treatment rooms.

 

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Start healing your cellulite right now by visiting our Cellulite Treatments page.  Please come back and let us know how it’s going along the way!

Or to make the most of your time and effort, why not first take a few minutes to get smart on cellulite theory by reading Cellulite 101?

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Comments

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Rosy says:
9/14/2009

The cellulite on my rump hurts if I poke it or bump it into things, and it isn't a normal hurt. It almost feels like stabing pain, and it lingers. The stuff on my thigh isn't as tender. I don't really bruse to easily. I could alo poke myself on say my belly and not feel the same lingering pain, as my rump, and both have a layer of fat, but only my rump has the cellulite. Never thought of it before now, thanks!

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Hi, Rosy! Welcome to The Cellulite Investigation! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who realized that cellulite hurts. I think a lot of docs (like our dear Dr. Oz; Love that guy!) find it easy to dismiss our concerns about cellulite because they see it as an aesthetic condition. But if they knew that it's actually painful, maybe they would take it more seriously.

Thanks for contributing to the cellulite case file! Please check back next weekend to see if you won the free dry brushing kit.

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Victoria says:
11/26/2009

Yes, cellulite does hurt. I don't have too much cellulite, but out of the spots that I have, it's the outer thigh that hurts the most. When I press down on it, it almost feels like a tight ball. And it isn't a consistent pain. It just flares up once in awhile. But when it does, it is definitely noticeable.

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Hi, Victoria! That's funny because I noticed something very similar. The outer side of my right leg is definitely the most painful area for my cellulite, and it does seem to come and go. I wonder if it has something to do with the level of lymphatic congestion in my system at the time. I don't feel it nearly as much now that I've been treating my cellulite for awhile. In any case, the fact that cellulite can hurt is strong evidence that it's not something we should ignore. Thanks for contributing to the investigation!

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Anonymous says:
12/9/2009

Cellulite is very painful! I am a young woman and am very thin, but I struggle with cellulite. It is very painful when I get a massage.

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You poor thing! Your cellulite must be very tender indeed if even a massage is painful. Does the massage only hurt on the areas with cellulite? Thanks for sharing!

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ladyjailer says:
2/28/2010

Yes,cellulite does hurt. I've been stuggling with it since 17 years of age. I am now 37 and have lived with he pain and discomfort for along time. I usually find it hard to sleep, I have to change slleping positions all night long because I always end up hurting after sleeping on one side for too long. Is there no help for us??

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Ladyjailer –thanks for responding to our RFI! I had the same problem with cellulite while sleeping. The best way I can describe it is it felt like my legs were being strangled from the inside out –like a constricting feeling. They were also very tender to the touch in certain spots, almost like a bruise.

And yet, I do think there is hope for us! I launched the Cellulite Investigation after I saw amazing results with dry skin brushing. I thought, if such a simple technique can ease the pain of cellulite, what other solutions could I uncover if I gave it my full effort? Since then, I've also found things like massage, yoga, and especially a nutrient-dense diet are important parts of treating cellulite. I hope you will join along in our investigation!

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worried says:
4/12/2010

I am so tired of my hurting thighs! I can't sleep nights because I have to alternate the side I sleep on. If I stay too long on one side, it starts hurting. However, just to make it even harder, sometimes the thigh on top, the one I'm not lying on hurts. It just plain hurts, I can't give any other description. But the hurt is deep inside – touching hardly hurts at all.

The same areas is also very sensitive to cold. If once my thighs are cold, they don't warm up again. I frequently have to squat sideways in front of a heater to get circulation going again.

My doctor said it might be bursitis and wants to try steroid shots. What do you think

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worried –this is a tough one. It must be so frustrating for you not to be able to sleep soundly because of the pain in your thighs. I'm not a doctor, so I don't want to tell you not to listen to your physician. But if you are at all hesitant about his/her advice for steroid shots (which I would be too!), it is always smart to get a second opinion, or a third/fourth until you find a treatment option that resonates with you.

The shots might help you feel better in the short term, but I don't see how they could be an effective long term treatment. What is your doc's long term treatment advice? Does s/he have any idea what is causing the condition? I would seek a health care professional who can answer these kinds of questions.

From what I've read of bursitis, it is often caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, combined with a diet that is low in minerals and poor digestion. Dr. James Howenstine explains it better in this article:

How Should Bursitis Be Managed"

Two easy steps you could take are adding homemade bone broth (for minerals) and pastured liver (for B12) into your diet. I'm not a fan of liver, but I found that liver from pastured calves is quite tasty sauteed in butter and onions. Also, dry skin brushing is an excellent way to jump-start the circulation. There's lots more to say about all this so email me or leave another comment if you have any more questions. Best of luck. Thanks for stopping by the Cellulite Investigation. Hope to see you around again!

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Anonymous says:
4/16/2010

I have celltite on the back of my thighs and it hurts. I had my husband to take a rolling pin to the lumps and bumps back there. It hurts the most when it is messaged. But I do believe that exercise incresing the circulation will cause it to diminish.

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I've heard that a rolling pin actually works! My friend just told me a great story about that the other day. I am planning on writing a post about it soon. Thanks for contributing to the case on cellulite!

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Anonymous says:
4/20/2010

I too suffer from painful cellulite! I am a professional dancer and very slim and fit but I have had it on my thighs and butt for years and no matter what I do it stays put! It really hurts when massaged!

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I've heard that professional dancers develop a different kind of cellulite that is harder to the touch. Is this true? Most women are incredulous when they hear that even professional athletes can have cellulite (we assume WE have it because we are lazy and out of shape). But cellulite is a lymphatic problem, not a laziness problem. Women like you are living proof of that! Thanks so much for stopping by the Cellulite Investigation!

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Heather S says:
7/24/2013

I found your sight because I googled “why is my cellulite painful”..my hurts horrible if massaged by hand or one of those rubber cellulite massager things..outside of thigh is most painful..so much I can’t take it! I’ve never asked a dr about it or anyone else. Only hurts if rubbed or massaged.

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Charlene says:
7/20/2010

That makes sense. It hurts in more way than one though!! :-)

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Very true, Charlene!

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Anonymous says:
8/10/2010

Yes! I found this article because I typed "does cellulite hurt" into the search engine. I just had twins 3 months ago and gained close to 40 pounds during the pregnancy. I have lost 30 pounds and I swear the rest is cellulite! I have not had it before and it hurts!!! I have it on my butt and the back of my thighs. I can feel the pain all day long and especially when I sit down. I can't wait to get rid of it! I told my Mom that it hurts, but she said it must be something else. I told her it wasn't! Once I am done nursing the twins, treating the cellulite will be my next concern!

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Julie says:
5/18/2011

I am the same way! Everything your explaining is me! It even hurts to sit in a hot bath. I feel your pain. Congrats on the twins!!!!

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rosy says:
10/10/2013

I always wondered why my fat hurt. Guess its my cellulite. Even when my cat walks across my legs it realy hurts. I cant go for a massage, as it hurts too much on my lower back, legs, butt and upper arms. I bruise almost instantly and could never figure out why. Ive tried over and over again to lose but seem to go up and down. Not sure what to do.

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Congratulations on the twins! How exciting!! A lot of women report in increase in cellulite after pregnancy. But I've also heard reports that it goes away with breast feeding. Let's hope it works for you! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It's so nice to hear from new cellulite investigators.

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sue fajardo says:
10/4/2010

I have a cellulite dimple on my buttocks in it is so painful, it’s been painful for 3 years now. it’s a deep pimple and i have to massage daily but the pain won’t go away. what can i do to minimize this pain? or to treat my cellulite overall?

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My cellulite was painful in certain spots, too. This went away once I started taking better care of my lymphatic system and eating a nutrient-dense diet. I started with dry brushing. It won’t cure all your cellulite, but it’s a simple and effective treatment to start with. We’ve discussed lots of other steps you can take to treat cellulite here at The Cellulite Investigation, so please poke around the site and see which ideas resonate most with you. Thanks for stopping by!

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Nic says:
10/24/2010

I to have the pain in my legs from what I belive it to be from cellulite. I was wondering if the pain could be caused by rapid weight gain? Most of the time
hurts to just wear clothes or to have anything touch my skin. I just started
having this pain within the past year. I going to try and lose about 6 to 10lbs
over the next couple of weeks to see if that will help relieve the discomfort.

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I didn’t have any weight gain associated with my painful cellulite. It was from poor circulation which I’ve been able to remedy since launching the Cellulite Investigation (see, the Elusive Anti Cellulite Diet to read about the dietary changes I’ve made since then). This might sound counter-intuitive, but we’ve received many reports –both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence –that weight loss often makes cellulite worse. I definitely wouldn’t have thought that before I started this blog!

Thanks for contributing to the case on cellulite, Nic! Please keep us updated on how it goes for you!

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Art says:
12/2/2010

This is a billion dollar industry and I am baffled that this fact is treated like an urban myth. Areas with Cellulite hurt when the skin is pinched between thumb and forefinger. Areas without cellulite do not. Researchers need to investigate the significance of this fact.

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My thoughts exactly, Art! Noticing my cellulite was painful was one of the main reasons I launched the Cellulite Investigation in the first place. We’ve been at it for over a year already, but there is so much to learn. We’re just getting started. Thanks for your comment. So glad you found the site!

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Marie-Eve says:
2/4/2011

Hello,
I have just maybe discovered something very interesting while I was doing an elimination diet to see if I am lactose intolerant.
I stopped eating dairy for 2 weeks and then had 1/2 liter of cow’s milk to see if it would trigger any problems… Well, the same night, I was extremely gassy and my elimination became very disturbed. So I’m preety sure that my body doesn’t really like dairy (but I do!!). The one other thing I noticed the day after is that MY CELLULITE was VERY PAINFUL, wherever I have it. Around my legs and behind my arms. Then I did some research to see if dairy and cellulite were connected in any way, and I found that: (are you ready for this…?)

Excessive and partially digested proteins, highly refined foods, excessive sweets, and DAIRY increase lymphatic congestion. Limiting these foods improves lymph function.

Cellulite is well known to be linked to lymphatic congestion!!! What do you think? would this be why cellulite sometimes hurt and sometimes it doesn’t? It’s all based on our diet?

take care:)

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Yes, Marie-Eve, you are definitely on to something! How fascinating that you could feel the difference in your legs directly. You are not the first women I’ve heard from who noticed that dairy affects cellulite. The lymph theory of cellulite is a focal point of your investigation –and yes, I agree that the causes and cures for cellulite are primarily based on diet (see Treating Cellulite With Food).

You bring up a very interest subject here. I haven’t written too much about milk yet, but processed milk from the grocery store is one food I make every effort to avoid. I believe milk can be a healthy and nutrient-dense food, but only if the cow is healthy. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most grocery store milk. Even “organic” milk is usually from unhealthy cows, which is why it has to be ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized milk is particularly difficult to digest. Yogurt is a part of my regular diet, and I am a big proponent of kefir, another type of cultured milk product.

One of the books on my reading list is The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid. You can also learn more about healthy milk at http://www.realmilk.com.

Thanks for contributing your experience to our investigation!

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Jo says:
12/20/2010

Yes cellulite hurts! I suffer from fibromyalgia but the cellulite on my legs is my most painful area. I often have bruises for no apparent reason and even clothes brushing against my thighs feels like a cigarette has been pushed deep inside my leg.
I also have “flareups” when it’s worse than other times. During these times my thighs, especially outer, feel lumpy and hard, almost like growths, and are soooooo tender it makes me cry.
Cellulite hurts, it really does!

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Suzi says:
2/2/2011

Totally agree – cellulite hurts!!! I’m 40 and have been struggling with this since I was a teenager and at the time I was a skinny toothpick. My cellulite hurts the most when I’ve stopped exercising for a while and then begin again.

I’m curious about the lymph connection also because I’ve often had blood work done to check my lymph nodes due to other symptoms, but they always come back normal. I am also cold all the time when everyone else is fine. Any insight on that?

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The Cellulite Investigation has lead me to a lot of research on thyroid issues. A consistent feeling of being cold is often associated with hypothyroidism. Doctors commonly use blood tests to check thyroid levels, but as Dr. Broda Barnes pointed out decades ago, blood tests are not an effective way to diagnose patients who are hypothyroid. He recommends taking your waking body temperature to gauge whether or not you might have a sluggish thyroid. I wrote more about that here:
Broda Barnes Self Test for Thyroid Deficiency.

I like monitoring my waking body temp because it can tell you a lot about your body. It’s been essential for my experiments with Lunaception, an intriguing technique for regulating hormones. I hope you find this info useful.

Thanks for your comment, Suzi. And thanks for contributing to the case on cellulite!

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Nyuki says:
2/19/2011

My cellulite hurts really bad since my son was born last July. I cannot wait to get rid of it any way possible. I can’t even wrestle with my husband anymore because every time he touches my thighs even slightly, that annoying, lingering pain comes through. Ugh! Complete turn off.

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Pregnancy can have that effect, unfortunately. I hope you find some good ideas here for treating the dreaded blight, Nyuki. Let me know if you have any questions/suggestions and thanks for your comment!

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Terri says:
3/8/2011

I see that the 1st post was in Sept. of ’09.. I don’t know if you’re still searching for the answer if “cellulite hurts’ but if you found an answer and ways to relieve the pain/ or cellulite itself I’d love to know the answer….. I too am a cellulite pain sufferer!

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Thanks for contributing to the case, Terri. Yes, we are always looking for more evidence to add to the files. We have found answers, too. I am happy to report I no longer experience painful cellulite. You can read all about the effective treatments we’ve uncovered from any of the links on the left sidedar, especially How To Get Rid of Cellulite. Let me know if I can be of any assistance in your quest!

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I just saw your post on dry brushing with a link over here. Yes, my cellulite and fat pocket areas would hurt. I lost weight and now they don’t. I also dry brush and detox bath now too. After dry brushing I would also get a red, raised rash on my chest for the first month. Not itchy. Other people who started with me noted the same symptoms.

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Thanks for corroborating my experience, Natasha! I read that dry brushing can cause a rash in the beginning, but I hadn’t heard from anyone else who experienced that until now. Did the other people you mentioned develop a rash on the chest area, too, or did it vary by individual? I am confident the canker sore I developed was caused by the dry brushing, as well. It’s amazing how powerful such a simple technique can be.

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I just checked back in :) Yes others reported the same rash right between the breast at chest level slightly towards the right side. I have been meaning to find out why it would occur there? My initial thoughts where some type of sugar or yeast something??? Canker sores would be from the release of toxins too. I have the “Pho” blog, and also have another weight loss blog with 2 detox bath recipes that do WONDERS for me and cellulite, skin tightening and over all well being- check the recipes if you are interested :)http://phasestoforever.blogspot.com/search/label/detox%20bath
This detox baths combined with dry brushing, healthy eating and the diet has made me so aware of my body and what is happening daily inside me. I am much more in tune and sensitive to what I need to stay healthy and full of energy.

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Yes, my initial though is something yeast related, too. I have a family member who is recovering from yeast overgrowth. One of the symptoms is that he gets a rash on his back when he sweats (he was waring polyester shirts, too, which of course were not helping). Now the rash is only along his upper spine in the very center of his back. Very strange.

I’m all about the detox baths and dry brushing!! Have you tried oil bathing, too? It’s the same thing but you rub oil into your skin before getting into the tub and then scrap it off (with a spoon or whatnot) before you get out. It’s amazing. I will have to try your recipe with the ginger. I have some ginger root I need to use but never thought of putting it in the bath. Thanks!

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Weird how it comes out along the spine. There has to be a reason. It is almost like a shingles type rash and reaction. The place it is coming out of has to be carried along there.
I was just reading your blog about the oil bathing. I have not tried but will surely keep it on my list. I have done the oil pulling (mouthwash thingy) that really works too!

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Oil bathing is one of my favorite discoveries from CI thus far. I don’t know how I ever lived without it!

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lj says:
9/14/2012

strange, I just started dry brushing and I got the same rash! (well, not rash, more like a few bumps). That is so interesting!

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Hi, lj. Thanks for sharing. How is the dry brushing going? Did the rash subside?

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Lj says:
10/7/2012

Yes the rash did subside. I haven’t had one since but I do believe it’s a clue to something.

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Kerry says:
4/18/2011

I have said for ages that i bruise so much easier on my thighs (where i have cellulite) and find it more painfull when I knock them to if i knock another part of my body. I also find it extremely hard to warm my thighs when cold i always thought it was because they were bigger than other body parts.

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kristi says:
4/29/2011

Painful indeed! I thought I was the only one! I can’t do certain exercises, because lying on the side of my thighs is literally unbearable. It’s a similar feeling to applying pressure to a terrible bruise. I will never forget the pain of the one Pilates mat class I took! The horrors. There is definitely something toxic about this blight. I suspect if it were more common in men there would be a cure already. I too shriek in pain when my guy goes to squeeze my thigh. He has no idea why. Ugh.

I have to say that I’m still skeptical about the fibrous bands bit. My own cellulite is very large lumps, and this doesn’t seem like it could be caused by loads of tiny hardened bands. It feels more like fat cells that are bloated with toxins or fluid of some type. Does anyone know where does this theory actually comes from? Have these hardened, fibrous connective tissues ever been observed? I’d like to see a cross section of tissue with this condition.

I once read about a Dr. in the South whose technique was to perform a mini surgery on each major dimple by surgically cutting these ‘bands’. I wanted it to make sense to my desperate mind:), however, I am a skeptic first and foremost. I figured if everyone wasn’t rushing to perform this same technique in NYC, where I lived at the time, then it must not be very effective- if at all. He is nowhere to be found now. I will see If I can dig up the info on my hard drive…..

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Kristi, are you referring to subcision? I wrote a post about it last summer. The thought of it makes me skin crawl. You are right, there is a good reason this procedure is not popular.

About the fibrous bands, yes, they have observed those in scientific studies. I need to look up the references for you. The bands are called septa. Dermatologists like Amy Newburger believe you can predict which women will develop cellulite from birth based on the density of septa bands in their skin. Lymphatic congestion plays a major role in the formation of cellulite, too. I believe it is what causes the hardened septa bands by restricting circulation of critical nutrients.

Thanks for adding your experience with cellulite to our files here! It is important that we realize cellulite is not purely a cosmetic condition!

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Kristi says:
4/29/2011

Ack! Yes, subcision! And that’s exactly the doctor I’m talking about! Scary.

Well, I guess I have to accept this septa business now:) I just don’t understand how they can cause such large lumps. I can understand the orange peel look, but what about the type which is comprised of big lumps and large deep dimples?

As for predicting cellulite, what about babies that already have visible cellulite? Is that even cellulite? Is it a foreshadowing of an adulthood spent battling the beast? I’ve always wondered that.

My brother has cellulite too. He’s quite a bit overweight, so that can’t help… but it’s there. I’ve seen it. Yet my mother has very little. Nothing compared to me. Mind you, she has lived a VERY pure life. The biggest difference between her and I is that she has never consumed alcohol in her life.

But the other thing is that I have had at least one BIG dimple on my thigh since childhood. And of course it’s just worsened with every year that goes by. I have been aware of cellulite and very self conscious of it since the age of 11 or so. I just didn’t know what it was called until I was in my 20’s. And I can tell you it has always hurt. You are so right. It’s imperative that we make it known that it is definitely more than a cosmetic issue.

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More great questions, Kristi. I wish I knew the answers to them, too. There hasn’t been much research on cellulite because the medical community does not consider it to be a serious issue. The studies that are out there are usually conducted to test a certain treatment or product. (btw, I just remembered this study about septa bands, on guinea pigs no less.)

I wonder if the size and shape of the dimples depend on the type of substances that are causing the lymphatic congestion. Perhaps it depends on how the membranes around the fat cells are being disrupted. I’ve wondered about the baby cellulite. I need to investigate that one more. If you come across any relevant info, please let me know.

I have one large dimple on my thigh, too. It’s so stubborn. I know I will be fully recovered when that one is gone. I noticed Britney Spears’ cellulite has the same dimple (see the picture of her in the yellow shorts). I wonder why that is…

I’ve read that men can develop cellulite if they have too much estrogen in their system. (See the section under Gender, Fat, and Cellulite). As for our mothers, their generation grew up in a different world. It might seem like alcohol is the biggest difference, but there are so many other differences we don’t even notice because they just seem “normal” now. The food supply and the environment have undergone major changes that most of us barely notice. Our parent’s generation did not have nearly as many pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other cellulite-contributors to deal with.

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Julie says:
5/18/2011

I have cellulite on the back of my legs. Every couple of months it begins to hurt and it’s very painful to even sit down. Tender to the touch and even hurts to pull pants on any suggestions or clues? Please help.

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Yes, cellulite can certainly be painful. I couldn’t believe it took me so long to notice that. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to heal painful cellulite. My cellulite no longer hurts, but it took a few months to reach that point. I started with a simple technique called dry skin brushing. Adding healthy fats, such as coconut oil, to your diet and even on your skin externally is another simple way to give your legs some relief.

You’ll find a lot of other ideas on the following post: How to Get Rid of Cellulite. Or, embark on a “choose your own” cellulite adventure by choosing a room in which to launch your anti cellulite strategy: Start Your Cellulite Treatment Here. Have fun, and please let me know if you have further questions!

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Angela says:
5/30/2011

I have had cellulite since I was 11yrs old. I was always thin but I was never 100% well, immunity or physically. I had bowel surgery when I was 7 for volvulus and I started to have headaches when I was 8 or 9 which turned into full blown migraines when I was 14yrs old.

Around 17yrs old I was told I had FMS, CFS, TMJ, Chronic pain etc. It has been a never ending battle in my life and I am only 34yrs old. There is no way to explain to someone the pain that one endures unless they have gone through the same painful ordeals.

I have always noticed cellulite on my arms, legs, stomach and butt and thats where I have so much pain. I always thought that it was my muscles, tendons and nerves sticking together because of the FMS but maybe its not. Maybe its painful Cellulite?

After having surgery 4yrs ago for stage IV Endometriosis I can feel lumps and bumps all over. I never had the cellulitey looking stomach or arms, just my butt and upper back legs but I guess things change when you get older.

I too have been prone to yeast infections since I was 15 but in the last year or so I have had none just issues regarding lack of estrogen because I am on the pill continuously to prevent the endometriosis from growing.

I also suffer from anxiety which after doing years of research I really believe that my physical state is caused by worry and stress from Childhood until now.

So in a nut shell YES cellulite hurts. Does it hurt more for some people? YES I believe it does.

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Angela. It is helpful for women to be able to read about other women’s experiences with cellulite. I do hope you will be able to find some relief, either on the pages of this blog or elsewhere. Best wishes!

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Michelle Emanuel says:
1/17/2015

I found this site looking for painful fat…I’m 53 yrs old and in relatively good health…but I don’t go to the doctor so who knows..lol…However for several years now I’ve been finding lumps that are soft and squishy but harder than the surrounding fat tissue…They vary is size from 1 inch to around 3, and lately I have noticed that just poking my body in areas that have more fat is pretty painful…a deep stabbing pain…so just yesterday I noticed that near my nose it was sore, the fatty tissue on the apple part of the cheek just next to the nose…when I pinched it up in my fingers I could feel how painful it was, then I pinched the other side…and realized it was sore too….I guess I should say I am about 50 pounds over weight and the older I get the more I actually see cellulite, but did not see it so much when I was younger even though I was over weight then too, just not as much. I also had toxoplasmosis when I was in my 20’s so I’ve often wondered if the lumps or cysts don’t have something to do with that but like I said have not seen a doctor….any advice or comments would be appreciated :)

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mary says:
6/5/2011

Thanks for opening up this issue! Yes, it hurts, and that’s the difference between cellulite (even beginning cellulite) and regular fat. Gentle massage helps, but it must be regular.

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Holly says:
6/24/2011

I am almost 33 yrs old and pretty fit but HAV not worked out in a few months becuz I fell and was jus not able to but I get massages on a regular basis and my girl said that Th pain I feel on Th back of my legs mainly right above my knees ya know closer to my thighs hurts sooooo bad when she rubs there and she said it may be fibermaialgia (I can’t spell it but u get it don’t u) setting in but I think it’s really bad cellulite becuz this yr it has gottig a lot worse. I even HAV it in my side a little and my stomach and I’m a size 10!!! Arggggggggg!!!! I hate it! So ugly and makes me depressed…. :(

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Holly says:
6/24/2011

I got all of this out of a magazine but HAV yet to try it….

Loofah in shower to penetrate product

Retinol-based cream in firm circular
Roc multi correxion skin renewing serum for cellulite 

Chase that w/ coating of cream spiked w/ caffeine try fat girl slim by bliss 

2 daily

Spider veins 
40-mg dose of horse chestnut seed extract

Asclera vein treatment r gold standard in small spider veins it collapse Th vein $500 each session but if u r prone u may get them in other places

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Great to hear from you, Holly! The problem with these types of recommendations is that magazines are so dependent on skincare companies for their advertising revenue. Notice how all their cellulite remedies revolve around products or expensive treatments?

You could do a vein treatment for spider veins, but it’s not fixing the problem at the source. You will end up developing new ones unless you figure out the cause of the spider veins (usually diet-related). I have tried some variation of these suggestions in combination with all the research we’ve uncovered about anti cellulite diet. But you’ll never heal cellulite completely unless you eliminate the source –we call it “identifying your kryptonite.”

My experience with horse chestnut did not go well because it thins the blood and I ended up with a lot of bruising on my legs. It does seem to increase circulation, though.

Laurie came up with a great recipe for a homemade coffee anti cellulite cream with coconut oil. It’s cheaper (and better!) than anything you’ll find at the store and you can personalize it with your own essential oils if you want to.

Retinol is a form of vitamin A. Instead of putting it directly on my legs, I’ve been pumping it into my diet with a high quality fermented cod liver oil and other foods rich in Vitamin A.

As for the loofah, I finally had to admit they don’t do much for me. I love the idea of them, but they really don’t exfoliate my skin well. After much investigating, I came across oil bathing, an ancient and very effective technique for exfoliating and detoxifying the skin and increasing circulation. Simply rub your skin with oil (coconut, jojoba, olive, etc) before soaking in a hot tub for about 15 minutes. Then scrape the oil off. You can use a large spoon, or some women have gotten really creative (pan scraper, cookie cutter…)

I hope this gives you a few ideas to get you started!

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Terri says:
6/24/2011

Has anyone tried the Joey Atlas cellulite reduction program? I think it may work for ridding cellulite.. I just haven’t had the motivation to do so = (

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I would like to know if anyone has tried this, too. He seems to take a simplistic approach to cellulite, focusing on exercise to burn it away. This theory has never worked for me in the past. When I tried to work my cellulite off with exercise, I wasn’t getting to the source of my cellulite which was chronic fluoride poisoning. I never would have discovered that fluoride was the cause of my acne, too (see How to Heal from Fluoroderma Naturally). If you don’t eliminate the source of cellulite, how can you prevent it from occurring in the future? Another thing I really don’t like about that program is their marketing technique. For me, that is a strong reason not to take a program seriously.

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Tee says:
11/17/2011

Yes, I have the Atlas programm and it is very good! It works your legs and butt from every angle and doing these exercises regularly does make shapely legs and hence the skin and fat stretches over the new muscle tissue. It works, to a degree. But, as we know here, exercise alone won’t do the trick, if your lymphatic system is troubled. Dry skin brushing with exercise was agood combination but again, not enough. I just got my bellabaci cups and started to do some cupping, and yes, cellulite is bloody painful! Let’s see, if this type of deep massaging brings further improvements. And if somebody wants great exercises for free, google “bodyrock.tv” and “Workouts with Rumi”. They have the best and most effective anti cellulite exercises and all for free (and damn, these women are beautiful and in shape)

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Awesome, Tee! Thanks for the intel on this! So you noticed tender spots with the cupping, too? My calves were incredibly tender when I first started but now that has gone away completely. My upper thighs have several tender spots now. I hope that means the lymphatic congestion is working its way out through the normal lymph pathways. I just Googled workouts with Rumi and it looks like she is charging $40 now for her videos. Still seems like a good price considering she probably put a lot of work into them. Are they worth the investment? I love the tag line for the bodyrock site: The Home Workout Movement. That site is amazing! They have so many workouts. Do you have a favorite one for cellulite?

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Tee says:
11/17/2011

These exercises are great because noo need of gym, you work with your own body weight and the workout is brutal (high intensity interval training) but short so you don’t overtrain = most efficent for fat loss and toning! But hasn’t Rumi still her free youtube videos, also on her page? If you type “cellulite” in the search engines of both sites it should give you all relevant exercises. they are all good, i thing most important are lunges, leg presses and hip extensions (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/single-leg-hip-extension) they all target the cellulite zones especially. I would think either Rumi or Joey Atlas are worth the expense. But bodyrock gives you alot for free

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Tee says:
11/17/2011

Oh sorry, me again. Have you heared of Callanetics? It’s like pilates meets ballet training. It does apparently wonders in toning up and reducing cellulite and is less strenuous than HIIT. Google the before and after photos. If they are true, it’s amazing…
Another very good blog is the “Fitness Black Book”. The guy is very good with critical thinking regarding fitness myths and researching the latest fitness and nutrition finding.
I mean, hey, getting and staying in shape is a key element in reducing cellulite, right 😉

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Thanks for the tips, Tee! This site looks fantastic: http://fitnessblackbook.com/ And yes, I’ve heard of Callanetics. It’s similar to Physique57 (I think P57 was based on callanetics). It does seem like an ideal exercise for cellulite. I wrote to the company and asked for a product to review on the site, but I didn’t hear back from them. It can quickly get expensive testing all these cellulite treatments so I really have to be selective when the company doesn’t provide a product to review for the investigation. Do you think Callanetics is worth it over Rumi or Joey Atlas?

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Update: We sent out a Request for Information to hear from women who tried the Joey Atlas program and the feedback wasn’t promising. You can read the comments here: Request for Information: The Joey Atlas Exercise Program.

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Noura says:
7/9/2011

Mine hurt too! :-) I have extremely toned lower limbs but this year I kind of stopped exercising on regular basis, that’s when I developed cellulite on my thighs.

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I read that women with really toned legs, such as ballet dancers, get a form of cellulite that is harder and typically more painful than the soft kind. Would you say your experience with cellulite supports that claim? Thanks for your comment, Noura!

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Ashley says:
4/8/2012

Hi Melissa! This is so interesting to read, cause I am a ballet dancer with cellulite. I’m a petite girl with a toned body and I’m in activity at least 5-6 hours a day, and have a healthy diet. I’ve always been skinny, but started getting it already at 16-17. I just don’t understand why it came, and why it won’t go away.. It’s painful too, but being a dancer I’m used to pain, so my biggest concern is the appearance, especially since a ballet leotard doesn’t hide a lot..;) Anyone has experience with a deep tissue massage? Any other tips, except surgery?

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Hi, Ashley. Great to hear from you! Thanks for your comment! I had long heard and suspected ballet dancers can have cellulite, but it’s always good to gather extra evidence. Cases like yours are really interesting because they disprove a lot of the commonly held notions about cellulite. It’s CAN’T be all about fat, muscle tone and exercise.

Based on our investigation so far, the most plausible theory is that cellulite is caused by toxins stored under the skin. In the last few years since I launched this site, I’ve learned that I suffered from fluoride toxicity as a child and now my skin reacts whenever I consume food or drinks that contain fluoride (wrote all about it here: Everything You Need to Know about Fluoride and Acne, aka Fluoroderma). I suspect in cases like yours, it’s possible you are experiencing something similar. It might not be fluoride toxicity, though. Perhaps it’s a food intolerance you don’t know about or something like that. Everyone is different.

I can see why deep tissue massage sound enticing (I love a strong massage!), but the best ones for cellulite seem to be the gentle, surface massages. Cellulite develops when lymphatic circulation is impaired. The lymph vessels under the skin are delicate vessels, sometimes only one cell thick. Lymphatic massage is one option but it takes a skilled practitioner and can be pricey. We are seeing positive results with cupping massage, a form of decompression therapy you can easily do at home. Dry brushing is another natural treatment that gets rave reviews in the cellulite department.

You’d think surgery would work because it’s so darn expensive and a surprisingly popular treatment, but I haven’t heard from anyone who was happy with surgical efforts to get rid of cellulite. Lipo might be able to get rid of fat, but it often makes cellulite look worse!

I hope this is enough info to get you started, Ashley. Please let me know if you have any other questions or comments!

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michelle says:
8/25/2011

when my brother pokes my thigh it really hurts. sometimes i put a bit more pressure with my finger on my thigh and it hurts. i have thick legs but you can’t really see the cellulite unless the skin is pinched together. It hurts and it sucks to have sensitive thighs!

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What a meanie he is! Yes, it does suck. Fortunately there is much you can do to make them less sensitive! See How To Get Rid of Cellulite. Following the ideas on this page did the trick for me. My legs are no longer sensitive. Hooray!

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Gunesh Asci says:
11/2/2011

Melissa, thank you, for this great information. I too, have been suffering with cellulite all my life. Could you, please tell us, what to eat, and what not eat, to help to minimize the condition? I have a good idea, about nutrition, however, I want to make sure, that what I am doing, is the right thing. Thank you, your help, will be greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful day. Gunesh Asci.

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Hi, Gunesh. Diet is SO important when it comes to an effective anti cellulite strategy. Here is a summary of what we’ve learned so far regarding the best and worst foods for cellulite: Treating Cellulite in the Kitchen. Sugar and transfats are bad. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that saturated fats, such as butter and coconut oil, are actually good for cellulite! They provide all the fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids that the body needs to repair damaged fatty areas. It’s also important to find out if you have any food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, corn, soy ,etc). These will sabotage you’re anti-cellulite effort if you are sensitive to them.

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Beatrice says:
12/9/2011

I found your site today as my cellulite was really aching and I was wondering whether this was normal! I have been doing a lot of yoga this year and therefore I’m far more intune with my body than I used to be.

Yesterday I tucked into a tub of Haribo sweeties mix. I usually try to have a healthy diet (thanks to Weston Price and Sally Fallon) but fell of the wagon big time (I blame the colder evenings at home ;D). Anyway, I wonder if the aching today is related to my sugar overdose yesterday?

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It’s certainly possible! Sugar is one of the chief suspects in our investigation. See, The Cellulite Investigation’s Spotlight on Sugar. Please let us know if you’re able to figure this one out. It would be interesting to see if you notice this cause and effect relationship again in the future.

By the way, what is Haribo sweeties mix?!

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Andrea says:
3/5/2012

Hi there

I have been struggling with cellulite as well and I noticed that the cellulite spots on my legs are most painful when i try and massage them. I actually tried loosening the fat issue with my home vacuum. I heard that massaging the area is suppose to help so I thought why not try the vacuum. It is painful at first, however, I am hoping that with time I will notice improvements. I keep active, use the sauna, however, this cellulite appears to be never ending. Well see what the vacuum experiment will hold. Any thoughts?

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My first thought it, ouch! Did the vacuum cause any bruising? If so, I would try to find a better option. You’re on the right track with the suction, but something like cupping massage would be much gentler and probably more effective. You can read more here: Results of Our Cupping for Cellulite Challenge.

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Andrea Shattler says:
3/9/2012

Thanks…no I was gentle with the vacuum lol I heard about the cupping and will look into that totally…thanks so much and happy to hear from you. I like this site btw…very cool.

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Thanks, Andrea!! It’s always nice to receive positive feedback on the site. I’m working on fixing things up around here to give the site more of a professional feel, but I’m happy with how it’s turning out so far. Hearing from women like you from all over the world is what really makes it special.

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Michelle says:
3/15/2012

Wow. I am glad I found this website. I have had the same problem for about 3 years. I have pain in the fat on my stomach, mainly on the right side. At first I thought it was gall bladder related or something else, but never had problems with any foods or anything like that. I had recently had breast cancer and had just had 30 radiation treatments. (along with lumpectomy and 15 lymph node removal.. on the same side as the pain) I went to the dr. and he said he thought it was muscle/skeletal but still ordered xrays and complete abdominal ultra sound. Everything came back normal. The pain is not constant, but comes and goes. Kind of feels like a sore muscle spasm and sometimes like a cramp or a sharp pain. I have noticed it more when I sit with my torso twisted. Really hurts when I pinch the fat in that area.
When I read the relationship between lymph and celluite and dairy it made sense. I had never noticed any pain directly after eating dairy, but maybe a day or so later. So if it’s caused by lymphatic congestion that is probably what’s going on. I already have 15 fewer lymph nodes on that side, and this problem didn’t start until after they were removed. Thanks for the insight.

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Hi, Michelle. Thanks for your comment! It’s always nice to hear when someone finds info from the site useful. Yes, conventional dairy can be tough on the lymphatic system. I drink milk if I can get my hands on fresh, organic, pastured milk from a local farm, but the stuff on the grocery store shelves is a sad reflection of what milk should be. Have you tried dry skin brushing? It would probably be a good treatment to start with for something like that. Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

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jane says:
5/27/2012

OMgosh…….finally finally I have found someone who understands what I am talking about!! I have seen several doctors and NO ONE understands what I am saying! the pain in my left thigh is so painful it hurts to barely touch it. I had the tests on my legs to see how my veins were and that was fine, the surgeon cant explain it, my family doctor has no idea. So what is the answer?????

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Hi, Jane. Thanks for your comment! Great question. With conditions involving poor circulation, everyone seems to immediately think of the blood circulatory system. One of the most important theories we’ve uncovered at The Cellulite Investigation is that the lymphatic system is a key component in the formation (and reduction) of cellulite. It parallels the blood circulatory system throughout the body, but instead of circulating nutrients and oxygen to the cells, it’s main purpose is to remove cellular waste.

If you suspect you have lymphatic congestion that is causing tenderness in your legs, one simple yet effective treatment to try is dry skin brushing. You could also see a lymph drainage specialist (a type of light touch massage) or even cupping therapy used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I hope that’s enough to get you started!

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Barb says:
6/6/2012

I have painful cellulite on my thighs. I was rubbing my thigh and found a deep pit and what felt like a lump next to it. I pushed the lump and felt a squishy popping. It wasn’t necessarily painful so I pushed with my thumb in another area and same thing! I have not gotten rid of the cellulite but the area is smoother than before and the pits are not as deep. I may be bruised tomorrow! Anyone else have the same experience?

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I haven’t heard of anything like this before, Barb! Really interesting! Did you notice a continued improvement in your cellulite afterward? Thanks for sharing. :)

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Angela says:
6/8/2012

Hi, Im really keen on giving the dry body brushing and coconut oil a go .. anything to try and get rid of cellulite. Im uk size 8 but riddled with cellulite from my bum right down to my knees! Ive been exercising and trying to eat a better diet but it seems to be getting worse. If I dry brush do I have to do my whole body or can I focus on my bum and thighs? Also when u say start from your armpit but go towards your heart do u do the ehole of your arms also? Sorry if these seem like really daft questions but I want to try and get it right! Thanx x

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Hi, Angela. Great questions. If you’re going to take the time to dry brush, I would definitely brush the whole body. You can spend the most time on the cellulite-y parts, but since the lymphatic system runs throughout your entire body, you’ll get a better effect if you brush the whole thing.

For the arms, I start above the breast and work in and down. Then under the breast, brushing in. Then I do the upper arm, brushing up to the shoulder. Then the lower arm brushing up to the elbow. Then the hand.

I hope that helps! Please let us know how it goes!

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Carolynmarie says:
8/10/2012

I have hard lumps on the front and sides of my thighs. They don’t bother me when I’m sleeping, but they are painful if I press down on them. They seem to be pressing on the nerves. They don’t change shape or hardness. I don’t have them at all on the backs of my thighs or on my buttocks or lower legs. I tried looking on medical websites for information but couldn’t find anything even remotely like what I am describing.

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Silvia says:
8/18/2012

I actually have a question about the pain associated with cellulite. I have had cellulite since I was 13, and it always hurt quite a bit. I have tried to get rid of it in every imaginable way through the years, but I have had very little success (I am now 37). More recently, I started using both the cups and the foam roller, and in just a couple of weeks the cellulite stopped hurting completely. I now feel no pain at all no matter how hard I press on my legs (at the beginning I could hardly handle the pain when using either the roller or the cups), and I have noticed that I no longer get bad bruises on my legs like I used to. However, I wouldn’t say that my cellulite looks any better than before. I am wondering if the absence of pain could still be a sign that my cellulite is improving and that it might actually start looking better if I keep up with my new habits (I have also improved my diet quite a bit and I have been dry brushing). Has anyone noticed that their pain disappeared first and then the “look” of cellulite actually improved? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Great question, Silvia! The pain and bruising were the first to go for me, too. It makes sense since the cupping and rolling are very effective at increasing circulation at the extremities of the lymphatic vessels. I noticed a major improvement in my cellulite in the beginning, but I hit a plateau a couple years ago and haven’t been able to break through. I know my body is still detoxing fluoride and I think the appearance of cellulite will be the last to go.

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Lisa says:
8/19/2012

I am so happy to find this site. I have had this pain on my outer thighs for awhile now. It’s got to be going on more than a decade but I thought it had to do with the birth of my daughter. My lower back has some pain when touched and so did my thighs so I always wrote it off as being related to the epidural. As time has gone on, my lower back pain has improved greatly as my twisted pelvis was corrected, the pain subsided though still not 100%. My outer thighs, however, yikes! Hurt badly. My kids will experiment and poke me in my thighs and I can just about hit the ceiling it hurts so much. I am so happy to figure out that it’s cellulite that is causing this. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever even think of that! I was so excited to read what this is that I haven’t read how to alleviate the pain. I will do that now!!!.. and report back.

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Desiree Trapana says:
12/10/2012

Has anyone been diagnosed with Lyme Disease or a Co-infection? I’m trying to figure out if that is why it hurts…… Anyone else?

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Tonya says:
3/16/2013

I have very painful thighs and can feel very small “lumps” under my skin. I’m overweight by about 50 pounds and sometimes it feels like my thighs have shooting pain from nerves being pressed on. I have recently been researching Dercums disease. A very interesting disease with fatty tumors called lipoma under the skin that can be very painful!

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Margaret says:
5/19/2013

I have cellulite on my inner thighs. At one point it almost felt like knots under the skin. I tried to gently rub them out. I experienced an intense pain that stayed with me for a couple days. Has anyone else had a similar experience? If so, did anything help? Thanks.

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Cherelle Lucas says:
10/14/2013

hi I am so glad I have come across this page I have been so worried about the pain in my legs and thighs but finally looks like I may jave found an answer lol started since having my little boy nearly 4 months ago :-) think will waig till I finally get some energy back then start excersizing lol thanks guys :-)

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Mihaela says:
2/14/2014

Never gave attention to cellulite before because i had few due to the fact that i used to exercise a lot and play basketball. I totally freaked out today while massaging my legs with body lotion because it hurt and i had no clue why…than i correlated the pain with the areas with cellulite and search the Internet. Thanks for the article it was really useful in solving my problem.

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nicole says:
2/27/2015

I have fat arms and a butt and you talking about sore when touched it’s not my whole butt just the top very painful

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Pat Evetts says:
8/4/2015

I asked my physician why my cellulite was painful and she looked at me like I was crazy. It is the most painful where the cellulite is visible, my upper thighs, my hip and buttocks, my upper arms and my stomach area. And, I am about 120lbs overweight.
It is getting to when I go in for a check-up, I dread the blood pressure monitor as the squeezing is actually VERY painful. Likewise, if someone pokes or grabs me suddenly, it is also VERY painful.
Thank goodness for this site……Now I know I’m not alone or crazy………!!!!!!!

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Faye says:
8/23/2015

The cellulite on the right outer thigh hurts…Since I was young I always bumped into counters, tables, etc. on the right side. I can feel the cellulite and lumps under the skin. I feel a vessel (I think) which hurts when pressed in one area. The skin has dimpled terribly. Not Pretty! Wearing shorts…not an option! Thanks for this site. I don’t feel like the one and only!

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