Fibromyalgia is a severe form of long-term musculoskeletal
pain, characterized by fatigue and tenderness at multiple
locations. It has only been recognized as a medical condition
for a few decades. The cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown,
and medical treatment using painkilling drugs or antidepressants
has been unsuccessful.
In a 12-week study published in the British Medical Journal,
over 130 fibromyalgia patients performed either progressive
aerobic exercises (on stationary bicycles and treadmills)
or relaxation exercises (stretches and relaxation techniques)
twice per week in one-hour sessions. Self-rated pain and "tender-point
counts" at 18 sites were determined initially, at the end
of treatment, and three and nine months after treatment. Tender
points, or "trigger points," are locations on patients that
produce a sharp pain if pushed on during an examination.
patients were twice as likely to rate themselves "much better"
or "very much better" than relaxation group members, both
at the end of the 12-week sessions and nine months after cessation
of therapy. Patients in the exercise group also showed larger
reductions in terms of the number of tender points.
Aerobic exercise is an inexpensive, effective treatment for
fibromyalgia. Women, the elderly, and those with rheumatoid
arthritis or lupus are at the highest risk for this condition.
If you have symptoms similar to those listed above that have
lasted at least three months, you may suffer from fibromyalgia.
Richards SCM, Scott DL. Prescribed exercise in people with
fibromyalgia: Parallel group randomized controlled trial.
British Medical Journal 2002:325, pp. 185-188.
To read more on the benefits of fitness, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/sports.html.