Fibromyalgia is a condition that is known for the widespread pain that it causes. There are also some other signs and symptoms that go along with fibromyalgia:
- Deep muscle pain
- Tender points
- Stiffness upon waking in the mornings
- Problems sleeping
There’s no doubt about it. The pain, fatigue, and other symptoms of fibromyalgia can make it quite difficult to do any sort of physical activity- even something as simple as walking. However, exercise- if done properly and you don’t overexert yourself- can actually be a very effective treatment for managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Treatments for Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms
There are several things that you can do to manage the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia. Your doctor may recommend one or several of the following:
Medications- There are several medications that have been approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms like Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella.
Changes in lifestyle- You can do things such as: learn to manage stress, get more sleep, exercise more, eat better, and other changes you can make to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Physical therapy- Treatments such as massage therapy, ultrasound, heat therapy, hydrotherapy, and many more things are being used to assist in controlling the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Mental/emotional therapy- Visit a trained counselor or join a fibromyalgia support group- it helps to know that there are others who are experiencing the same things you are. If there’s not a group in your area, consider starting one.
Changes in diet- Know that there are specific foods that are thought to trigger fibromyalgia flares– you will want to get these out of your diet for good!
Alternative treatments- Try things such as acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, and more are being used in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms- just make sure that you go to a trained professional.
Yes- exercise. It can actually be an extremely effective way to treat the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain and problems with sleep. Exercise can offer a plethora of benefits including:
- Boosting energy
- Decreasing muscle stiffness/tension
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Improvement in mood and overall feeling of well-being
- Promoting a deep and restorative sleep
- Muscle strengthening
- Support of a healthy immune system
How to Begin an Exercise Program to Treat Fibromyalgia Symptoms
One of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia signs and symptoms is participating in a regular, and low-intensity exercise program. However, as with any other fibromyalgia treatment program, you will need to consult with your physician, physical therapist, or a certified personal trainer. He/she will be able to come up with an exercise plan that is just for you. Since it will be tailored to fit your needs and abilities, it is one that you will be much more likely to stick with in the long run.
Additionally, it is vital that you start out slow with your new exercise plan. Of course, over time, you can increase your level of physical activity, but you don’t want to rush into anything. This is especially necessary if it’s been awhile since you have been physically active or if you have never participated in an exercise program before. You will want to take the time to build up your strength and stamina.
Keep in mind that you will most likely experience some increase in your pain and soreness when you first get started with your fibromyalgia treatment exercise program. That is completely normal. In a few days, this exercise-related pain should dissipate.
Over time, you’ll begin to notice that the fibromyalgia treatment exercise program is having a positive impact on both your physical and mental health. The mental benefits are likely to be pretty significant. Taking part in an exercise program will boost the levels of endorphins in the brain, which can help with pain reduction as well as reduce any anxiety/depression you may be experiencing.
Exercises You can Do to Manage Fibromyalgia Symptoms
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends that adults aim to get at least 150 minutes each week of aerobic exercise of moderate intensity. This includes things such as swimming or walking. Additionally, adults should be getting two or more days each week of muscle strengthening exercises. This includes things such as push-ups and light weight lifting. Adults must also work in some exercises to promote flexibility. This includes exercises such as stretching, gentle yoga, and even Pilates.
Of course, you can keep this CDC goal in mind, but you must also pay close attention to your body. If you can’t quite reach the 150 minutes per week- that’s perfectly fine. It’s something you can try to build up to.
To ensure that you are participating in a well-rounded exercise program to help manage the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia, you should try to incorporate a mix of the three: flexibility, aerobic, and strengthening exercises.
Exercising to Help you Thrive with Fibromyalgia
You really don’t have to spend hours in the gym to be able to manage the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia. Know that the more you get into exercising, the more you will experience the benefits of the exercise.
It is possible that your physician may make some other suggestions in addition to exercise for managing the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, there’s truly nothing quite like regular exercise. Also, there are very few side effects with exercise. Sure, you’ll feel tired- but at least you’ll be able to sleep! Just make sure that whatever you do, you pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel that you need to stop- then stop. Don’t overwork yourself and trigger a fibromyalgia flare- then, you’ll be setback and have to start all over.
Take some time to discuss with your physician about incorporating exercise into your personal fibromyalgia treatment plan.