Different Types of Exercise Affect Different Components of Fibromyalgia, Study Shows

Different Types of Exercise Affect Different Components of Fibromyalgia, Study Shows

Different types of exercise offer different fibromyalgia benefits, a Brazilian study shows.

Stretching improves patients’ physical functioning and quality of life, while resistance training helps combat depression, researchers said.

They reporting the findings in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. The article was titled “Muscle stretching exercises and resistance training in fibromyalgia: which is better? A three-arm randomized controlled trial.

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder characterized by chronic pain, sleep disturbance, and fatigue. Despite a lot of effort, scientists have yet to develop an effective treatment. The therapies available at the moment can only help patients manage their pain and improve their quality of life.

Because movement can increase fibromyalgia’s pain, many patients develop an inactive lifestyle. But in the long run, this can lead to both physical injury and emotional distress.

Exercise can benefit fibromyalgia patients, studies since the 1970s have shown. A key question last unanswered was the benefits of specific types of exercise.

Researchers at the University of São Paulo wanted to see how stretching and resistance training could help fibromyalgia patients.

The study covered 44 women, aged 30 to 55. Researchers randomly assigned them to a stretching group, a resistance training group, or a control group.

The stretching group went through a 12-week supervised training program. Twice a week they would take 40-minute stretching sessions without a therapist’s assistance. The trainers increased the intensity of the workouts over time.

Trainers put the resistance group through a similar 12-week, twice-a-week program. The patients did eight repetitions of resistance exercises, adding more weight each week.

The control group received standard fibromyalgia treatment but no exercise.

At the end of the 12 weeks, those in the stretching group were able to endure pain better and showed significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life. The resistance training group showed both physical and symptom improvements.

An analysis indicated that stretching significantly improved patients’ ability to deal with pain and  to function better physically, while the biggest of resistance training was reducing patients’ depression.

The controls had the highest morning-fatigue and stiffness scores of the three groups, and the lowest score for vitality.

Researchers concluded that stretching had the biggest impact on patients’ quality of life, while resistance training had the biggest impact on fibromyalgia symptoms and on patients’ physical functioning, vitality, social interaction, and mental health.

“The muscle stretching exercise program was the most effective modality in improving quality of life, especially physical functioning and pain, and resistance training was the most effective modality in reducing depression,” the team wrote.

“In clinical [doctor’s office] practice, we suggest including both modalities in programs of exercise therapy for fibromyalgia,” they wrote.

 

6 comments

  1. Denise Bault says:

    It only makes sense that stretching would do the most good. My muscles feel like they are constantly being restricted. That’s why I enjoy swimming. I can get in the pool and stretch and float. Best exercise by far for me!

  2. Carol Spitzer says:

    After living with FM for 18 years you learn to adjust you learn what to do and what not to do in order to live with the pain
    Everything in FM is by trial and error summer successful others are failure this is how we learn I like hearing from others and their successes thank you

  3. CAHIR O'Doherty says:

    Can the stretch training help S.F.N. Patients ??? As we seem to have no other help except for large doses of”Pain Killers Galore ” which do little to defuse our situation but just leave us “High” enough not to care any more ??????????

  4. Sally Van Nostrand says:

    I’ve been stretching every morning for many years. I was beginning to walk all bent over and realized that I’d moved to a different city and stopped going to yoga classes. I’d lived just across the street from a city-owned building which offered various kinds of classes and I’d been going to yoga 3 times a week and to Tai Chi twice a week. The gentle movements had been very good for me. After moving and not doing either of these, my body was tightening up very badly. I tried doing Tai Chi but didn’t remember it well enough by then to do it by myself. So I started trying the yoga stretches that I remembered as being ones that had really felt good. I developed a routine to do before I ever get out from under the covers so that my muscles are still warm while I do them. I stretch every muscle in my body, using first straight stretches and winding up with some very slow, gentle twisting ones. When something causes me to get out of bed in a hurry so I don’t stretch, I find that I move much slower all day and really ache badly most of the day.

  5. Liska Janelle Moody says:

    I went to the 3 week
    Pain Rehabilitation
    Clinic at Mayos . We started everyday with 41 stretches. Then were scheduled for strength , cardio and resistance throughout the 8-5 days. .
    We also had OT, 3
    Hours of lectures on every aspect of living
    With a chronic illness, distraction therapy , biofeedback, and our own nurse! They not believe in meds so they locked up
    All the ones they could take from us . It was a well-Oiled machine as all of mayos is. Insurance covers so just call the mayo of your choice
    And they take it from
    There! I went to Jacksonville . Runs all
    Year . I found it on the
    Mayo web site . I saw near miracles happen . We were a group
    Of 8-10.
    Jan Moody

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