Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Exercise - Kinetic Edge
 by Heather Pilcher, PTA, ATC

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term Fibromyalgia but do you really know what it is. According to the CDC, Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. Known as abnormal pain perception processing. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, about 2% of the adult population. Experts do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but it can be effectively treated and managed. Fibromyalgia should be treated by a doctor or team of healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment of fibromyalgia and other types of arthritis, called rheumatologists

There are a number of different methods to treat people with fibromyalgia, one important way is through aerobic and strengthening exercise. People with fibromyalgia should stay as active as your health allows, and change your activity level depending on your symptoms. Some physical activity is better than none.

According to the CDC, here’s how you can safely exercise and enjoy the benefits of increased physical activity with these S.M.A.R.T. tips.

  • Start low, go slow.

When starting or increasing physical activity, start slow and pay attention to how your body tolerates it. People with arthritis may take more time for their body to adjust to a new level of activity.

  • Modify activity when arthritis symptoms increase, try to stay active.

Your arthritis symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue, may come and go and you may have good days and bad days. Try to modify your activity to stay as active as possible without making your symptoms worse.

  • Activities should be “joint friendly.”

Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, water aerobics, or dancing. These activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or “pound” the joints too much.

  • Recognize safe places and ways to be active.

Safety is important for starting and maintaining an activity plan. If you are currently inactive or you are not sure how to start your own physical activity program, the Medical Fitness program at Kinetic Edge may be a good option.

  • Talk to a health professional or certified exercise specialist.

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy offers a medical fitness program. Our medical fitness program (MFP) empowers individuals with medical complications to live a healthier lifestyle. Often, people want to be healthier, but they don’t know how to do it. The MFP educates people on how to change their lifestyle and gives them the tools to do so long term.

Different types of activities are recommended by the CDC and are addressed when you join Kinetic Edge for overall health and fitness.

  • Low-impact aerobic activities do not put stress on the joints and include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, light gardening, group exercise classes, and dancing.
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and yoga.
  • Flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga are also important for people with arthritis. Many people with arthritis have joint stiffness that makes daily tasks difficult. Daily flexibility exercises help maintain range of motion so you can keep doing things like household tasks, hobbies, and visiting with friends and family.
  • Balance exercises like walking backwards, standing on one foot, and tai chi are important for those who are at a risk of falling or have trouble walking. Do balance exercises 3 days per week if you are at risk of falling.

Some perceive fibromyalgia as a debilitating diagnosis, but through a consistent, appropriate exercise routine you can lead a full life with less intense and frequent symptoms. Let Kinetic Edge help you exceed your goals by joining our Medical Fitness program. For questions or to schedule contact us online or call 866-588-0230.