Exercises in Water Best at Easing Pain of Fibromyalgia, Review Suggests

Exercises in Water Best at Easing Pain of Fibromyalgia, Review Suggests
Water-based exercise may be more helpful in easing pain and improving quality of life for adults with fibromyalgia than exercises done outside a pool or no physical excise at all, a review study found.  The review, “Pool-based exercise for amelioration of pain in adults with fibromyalgia syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the journal Modern Rheumatology. Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain, fatigue, and muscle rigidity. Its chronic pain is typically managed through the use of both conventional medications and non-pharmacological interventions such as physical therapy, psychotherapy, and electric stimulation.  Exercises such as walking, yoga, and pilates have all been shown to help reduce pain and fatigue, improve life quality, alleviate sleep disruption, and boost the mental health of fibromyalgia patients.  Exercises done in a pool also provide a low-intensity workout that has been shown to ease pain, and relax and strengthen muscles while lessening joint stiffness and muscle spasms. The appropriate combination of pharmaceutical and alternative treatment varies from patient to patient, however, and many alternative approaches, used as add-on therapies, do not significantly control fibromyalgia symptoms.  Researchers at the Federal University of Maranhão in Brazil performed a systematic literature review and a meta-analysis — an assessment that combines multiple prior studies — of the impact of water-based exercise compared to either non-water activity or no exercise in adults with fibromyalgia. Potential eligible studies, published since 1991 in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, investigated physical exercises undertaken in pools in this population. Studies without a control group or in which patient
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