By Louise Drysdale, Physiotherapist
Fibromyalgia is a condition causing widespread pain and mental fatigue. The cause of fibromyalgia is largely unknown, although from what is understood, those with the condition process pain differently. Typically, the condition affects adult women. There is no medical cure to date.
In 2018, a systematic review was published, examining the effects of strength training in those with fibromyalgia. A systematic review involves researchers gathering data from several smaller clinical trials and summing up the cumulative effects.
The review found that strength training can reduce pain and fatigue, number of tender points, dependence on pain medication and improve quality of life and mental health for those with fibromyalgia.
The length of interventions ranged between 3 to 21 weeks. Generally, the longer the programs were adhered to, the greater the benefits. As Physiotherapists, we aim to help you make exercise part of your lifestyle for long term health. Importantly, even those participating in short term programs observed differences in pain outcomes.
Most of the studies prescribed exercise twice a week for participants. Some were only strength programs and some involved cardiovascular exercise as well.
As well as treatment rooms, Pondera also houses a well-equipped Rehabilitation and Performance Studio featuring a range of Pilates, strength and gym equipment.
Clients can attend supervised exercise sessions to help rehabilitate injuries at their own pace, manage pain and move to the best of their ability. Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists are experts in prescribing exercise for people with pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. Given research is beginning to prove the benefits of strength training for those with the condition, it is well worth “giving it a go”.
For more information about fibromyalgia, you can visit https://www.msk.org.au/fibromyalgia/
Establishing a good relationship with a GP and/or rheumatologist you trust is also key in diagnosing and managing your symptoms.
Article for reference:
Andrade, A., de Azevedo Klumb Steffens, R. , Sieckowska, S.M., Peyre Tartaruga L.A., Torres Vilarino, G. (2018) A systematic review of the effects of strength training in patients with fibromyalgia: clinical outcomes and design considerations. Advances in rheumatology, 58(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s42358-018-0033-9 Read the abstract here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30657077