Yoga, pilates and tai chi: These gentle activities can be particularly helpful for people with fibromyalgia, to help improve flexibility, strength, balance and feeling of relaxation.
Answer: Many of my fibromyalgia patients tell me their pain worsens when they exercise – particularly if they are just starting an exercise program. The truth is you will have to stick with an exercise program for about six weeks, exercising two or three times per week, to start feeling or seeing any benefit.
Experts typically recommend any low-impact aerobic activity, such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Your doctor may advise you to work with a physical therapist on exercises specifically aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and improving function.
Exercise May Change How the Brain Processes Pain
“Exercise may also be disease-modifying,” she says, meaning it may change the course of fibromyalgia. "They developed fibromyalgia symptoms, and even some elite runners had pain and tenderness, depression, and anxiety," says Jones.
Exercise. As extreme tiredness (fatigue) and pain are 2 of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, you may find that you're not able to exercise as much as you would like. But an exercise programme specially suited to your condition can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health.
Physical and emotional stress are the most common triggers of fibromyalgia flares. Other triggers include lack of sleep, weather changes, and hormone imbalances.
Regular gentle exercise is one of the most effective ways that fibromyalgia flare ups can be avoided or diminished and pain managed. Exercise in moderation may increase pain at first but may help prevent or improve pain over time and build up endurance, muscle strength, avoidance of depression, and boost moods.
Strength Training and Low-Impact Exercise
And don't rule out strength training. Although doctors once believed that strength training could worsen pain in people with fibromyalgia, new research suggests that this is not the case.
Strength training can significantly improve the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia, according to a 2018 review of 22 studies . Strength training includes resistance exercises and weight lifting. It's important to increase intensity slowly and use light weights.
Fibromyalgia can be associated with ocular symptoms (foreign body sensation, irritation) and visual disturbances (blurred vision), coexisting with dry eye syndrome and reduced corneal sensitivity. Cases of scleritis, including the necrotizing form, accompanying fibromyalgia have been reported.
You can use resistance machines or bands, lift free weights, or try bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats. Evidence suggests that low, moderate, or high-intensity strength training can be safe for people with fibromyalgia.
Stretching with fibromyalgia just feels good:
Stretching helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system, helping you to relax. It also helps release endorphins that make you feel good by helping to mask pain, and it gets you moving and increases blood flow, helping you to feel more awake and alert.
Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men.
“Pushing through exhaustion can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms and leave you feeling more sluggish.” 2.
Work up to 30 minutes to an hour of walking, three to four times a week. If you start to struggle, walk for a comfortable length of time for several days before increasing again. If you want a more intense workout, try alternating walking with slow jogging.
Conclusions. This study concludes that aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises are the most effective way of reducing pain and improving global well-being in people with fibromyalgia and that stretching and aerobic exercises increase health-related quality of life.
How Can I Get Started Exercising With Fibromyalgia? If you have fibromyalgia and want to start exercising, it's important to start slowly. Begin with stretching exercises and gentle, low-impact activity, such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. Muscle soreness is typical when you are just starting an exercise regimen.
Exercise is an important part of fibromyalgia management (Goldenberg 2004; Hauser 2010a; Rooks 2008) because individuals with fibromyalgia are often deconditioned by low cardiovascular fitness (Turk 2002), muscle strength, and muscle endurance (Bennett 1989; Bennett 1998).
By engaging in regular exercise, they can expect to have at least slight improvements in symptoms, and they may experience a better quality of life. There are plenty of options to choose from, including taking a daily six-minute walk or doing some tai chi to help fibromyalgia.
Women with fibromyalgia may be deficient in magnesium, studies suggest. And magnesium may help relieve fibro pain and other symptoms.
Specifically, laser photo-biomodulation therapy has reportedly been effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. Evidence suggests the benefits of laser therapy in female fibromyalgia patients. The treatment was designed to improve patients' pain outcomes and upper body range of motion.
This makes adequate rest especially important when your fibromyalgia symptoms increase. Getting eight hours or more of rest has to be a top priority. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day to help reset your body's sleep cycle.
Fibromyalgia was formerly classified as an inflammatory musculoskeletal disease but is now considered to be an illness that primarily affects the central nervous system.