Fibromyalgia and exercise?
How can exercise be beneficial to people who experience chronic pain or fibromyalgia?
The National Fibromyalgia Association defines fibromyalgia (FM) as a chronic pain illness characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue, and sleep disturbances.
The most common sites of chronic pain reported include pain in the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle, and hands, but any body part can be affected. Fibromyalgia patients experience a range of pain and fatigue related symptoms of varying intensities.
Fibromyalgia and Exercise Recommendation
It appears that muscle weakening occurs when people with fibromyalgia neglect regular exercise in order to "avoid" pain. Weak muscles use excess energy to accomplish activities of everyday living. The use of excess energy may contribute to greater fatigue and make the muscles susceptible to greater trauma. Pain can be a result of greater trauma and fatigue. This cyclical process leads to atrophy and greater effort performing various activities. Exercise can help to counteract this weakened state, especially for folks over fifty, by improving oxygen delivery, increasing cellular metabolism, reducing muscle tightness, and eventually relieving pain.
Evidence suggests low intensity exercise is extremely beneficial for managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Most folks with fibromyalgia feel exercise may be an impossible feat; however, folks with fibromyalgia report general pain relief and improved strength as a result of appropriate, low intensity, exercise. Bottom line … aerobic and low intensity exercise is an effective way for many individuals with fibromyalgia to manage or reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia and prevent declining muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular functionality.
Other reported benefits include:
- Pain Relief
- Reducing Impairment
- Improving Flexibility
- Weight control
- Improved Sleep
- Improved Energy
- Stress Reduction
- Improved Well-being
This and any article in our website on chronic pain, fibromyalgia, injury, disease or dysfunction is intended to inform - not to diagnose, treat or advise.