Fibromyalgia is chronic musculoskeletal pain condition that, unfortunately, it is much too common (reported in nearly 5 million people in the US). It is characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain.
Patients with fibromyalgia complain of aches and pain all over their bodies. They often complain of fatigue — even on arising from sleep. Even if the sleep all night, people with fibromyalgia do not get good restorative sleep, causing them not to feel rested in the morning. Depression, cognitive dysfunction or “fibro fog”, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and other pain symptoms are commonly seen in patients with fibromyalgia.
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. The prevailing theory is that is due to an abnormal pain processing in the central nervous system resulting in hyperexcitability. This hyperexcitability results in a hypersensitivity to stimuli to both things that are usually painful but also things that should not cause pain.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Nor is there any specific treatment that that will address all of the fibromyalgia symptoms. Instead, the mainstay of treatment has always been control of symptoms and pain with medicines.
Based on more than 100 published studies regular exercise is more commonly being recommended in the management of fibromyalgia. The studies have shown a benefit with exercise training in patients with fibromyalgia. Basically, those who participated in an exercise program were more likely to have reduced levels of pain, fatigue, depression, and have an improved quality of life and physical fitness.
For the best treatment efficacy the treatment of fibromyalgia should include a combination of both traditional and alternative treatments. Specifically a combination of medication, exercise and behavioral techniques should be used.
Blotman, E. N. (2010). Aeorbic exercise in fibromyalgia: a practical review. Rheumatology International (30), 1143-1150.
Busche, A. J. (2011). Exercise Therapy for Fibromyalgia. Current Pain Headache Report (15), 358-367.
Randy Neblett, M. L. (2012, June). Fibromyalgia: An Overview of Etiology and Treatment Options. Practical Pain Management , 21-26.