Exercise Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Exercise therapy can be beneficial for those who suffer from fibromyalgia. Although some exercises may cause more harm than good, it is important to keep joints limber and muscles stretched. Following are some considerations when using exercise therapy for fibromyalgia.

Exercise is important for everyone but may be especially important for those with fibromyalgia to keep joints flexible and strengthen muscle tissue in an effort to reduce pain and increase range of motion. Pain and fatigue can lead to less activity which can cause already stiff joints and sore muscles to feel worse.

Exercise therapy may help symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as with pain management, improved mood and a more restful sleep. Even light to moderate activities, when engaged in on a consistent basis, can have a positive effect on these fibromyalgia symptoms.

High intensity workouts have been shown to be less effective in treating symptoms of fibromyalgia. For one, those with fibromyalgia often experience fatigue which makes it harder to engage in high intensity workouts. Also, stiff joints and sore muscles can feel worse with high intensity workouts and may make it more difficult to get around afterward.

Stretching exercises increase range of motion for those with fibromyalgia. Many find that gentle stretching gradually increased over time works the best to improve not only range of motion but with pain management and enhanced mood. Many exercise therapies incorporate forms of stretching, such as yoga and tai chi.

Water exercises are beneficial to those with fibromyalgia. The water helps take the strain off of stiff and sore joints. Exercising in the water also provides for a very low impact workout without putting excessive pressure on the joints that activities such as running or high-impact aerobics would have. Exercising in water can also have a soothing effect to help improve mood and improve sleep.

Due to fibromyalgia symptoms, many sufferers aren’t able to engage in moderate to high intensity workouts. Looking at other options for activity may not increase heart and lung function as aerobic activity, but can improve quality of life by helping with range of motion and flexibility, reduced pain, increased stamina and reduced fatigue, improved mood and better sleep.

If you have fibromyalgia and have had a hard time with exercise therapy in the past, speak with your doctor about different forms of exercise that have been show to help many others with this often debilitating syndrome. With the different options currently available, you may still benefit from a different type of exercise therapy for fibromyalgia.

Further Reading:

Kin Dupree Jones, et al., Oregon Health & Science University; A comprehensive review of 46 exercise treatment studies in fibromyalgia (1988-2005); PubMed