Exercise- fibromyalgia

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition characterized by widespread pain and fatigue.

The exact cause of FM has not been identified. The most popular theory currently is that it is a central neurotransmitter dysfunction issue.

The following information comes from the Arthritis Foundation and the Fibromyalgia Network

Facts about Fibromyalgia

• It is estimated that 10 to 11 million Americans, most frequently females, manifest symptoms characteristic of fibromyalgia.

• The median age at onset of FM is between 29 and 37, while the median age of medical presentation is between 34 and 53.

• Twenty percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis also have FM, while both migraine and non-migraine headaches have been shown to occur in up to 58 percent of patients with FM.

• The most frequently reported symptoms of FM include: 1) aches and pains similar to flu-like exhaustion, 2) multiple tender points, 3) stiffness, 4) decreased exercise endurance, 5) fatigue, 6) muscle spasms, and 7) paresthesis (burning or tingling of the skin).

• Irritable bowel syndrome, Raynaud’s phenomenon, chronic fatigue syndrome, dysmenorrhea, mitral valve prolapse, temporomandibular joint syndrome, yeast infections, anxiety and clinical depression also have been associated with symptoms of FM.

Common sense might suggest that individuals with FM should not exercise and, in fact, many do limit their physical activities because of the fear of exacerbating symptoms. The reality is that individuals with FM cannot afford to not exercise.

Appropriately applied exercise interrupts the downhill spiral of muscular and cardiovascular deconditioning and resulting loss of function that many individuals with FM experience. Deconditioning makes the musculature more susceptible to micro-trauma from any given physical activity which increases symptoms.

Additionally, many individuals have postural imbalances, tight muscles and poor range of motion, all of which place additional strain on the body and its ability to effectively move about.

Chronic pain syndromes and their accompanying loss of function frequently lead to depression. Physical activity has been shown to be an effective modality for improving mental outlook.

Finally, exercise increases endorphins and helps stabilize other neurotransmitter problems permitting less pain to enter a patient’s life.

Exercising safely with fibromyalgia

Prior to increasing your physical activity level, it is a good idea to discuss your plans with a knowledegable physician. Because postural imbalances and tight, inflexible muscles are common in individuals with FM, every activity session should begin and end with mobility (flexibility and range-of-motion) activities. These exercises should be done slowly, emphasizing quality of movement, and never be taken to the point of pain.

Once you are able to comfortably perform the basic movement exercises, strength training can be added to the regime. Sessions should be two to three times a week and consist of light weights. The goal is not how much you can lift but the ''quality'' of the movements you take your muscles through.

Using too-heavy resistance and/or doing the movements improperly will make you prone to muscular micro-trauma and potentially worsen your symptoms.

Aerobic exercise should also be part of your activity plan, but should not be high impact (such as certain aerobics classes). Warm water provides an optimal medium for beginning your exercise program. Many communities have facilities that offer warm-water exercise sessions for arthritic individuals and these classes can serve as a starting point for individuals with FMS.

Walking while convenient may cause too much impact. An exercise cycle or elliptical trainer might be better tolerated. Other types of exercise (cycling, stair-stepping and other popular machines found in fitness facilities) may increase symptoms if correct posture is not maintained, appropriate instruction is key prior to starting.. Aerobic activities should be undertaken at a moderate intensity a minimum of three times per week (daily when possible) for 20 to 40 minutes.

The key to exercise success for individuals with FM is consistency over time. During periods of flare up it is OK to back off or take a day off. Just don't let inactivity continue for long periods at a time.

With appropriate mobility exercises, strength training and aerobic conditioning you can expect to see improvement in your functional status and overall outlook on life.

Get more information about exercise fibromyalgia and related issues as well as...

• Insider arthritis tips that help you erase the pain and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis almost overnight!

• Devastating ammunition against low back pain... discover 9 secrets!

• Ignored remedies that eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms quickly!

• Obsolete treatments for knee osteoarthritis that still are used... and may still work for you!

• The stiff penalties you face if you ignore this type of hip pain...

• 7 easy-to-implement neck pain remedies that work like a charm!

• And much more...

Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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