(Bio Med Central) Researchers in Europe report an exercise regimen that includes regular workouts in a heated pool provided significant relief from pain and associated symptoms for patients suffering from fibromyalgia. The randomized controlled study involved 33 female patients, 17 of whom took part in the exercise regimen and 16 who did not. The patients who partook of the aquatic workouts did one hour of supervised exercise three times a week for 8 months. They reported a reduction in pain and improved quality of life in general over the group which did not exercise.
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic disorder which causes extreme pain and tenderness in a patient’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments. No specific cause of the disorder has been identified and there is no known cure at this time. Ninety percent of all fibromyalgia patients are female.
Often debilitating, pain is usually located in the shoulders and the neck area and is often accompanied by feelings of depression and anxiety. Fibromyalgia patients frequently report problems sleeping as well.
Standard treatment to date has included painkillers and sometimes a low-dosage antidepressant. Relaxation techniques and exercise are also often prescribed for the disorder, too, but symptoms often return once the exercise program is stopped.
Researchers Narcis Gusi, faculty member of the University of Extremadura’s Sports Sciences department in Caceres, Spain, and Pablo Tomas-Carus, of the Department of Sport and Health at the University of Evora, Portugal, consider exercise to be a readily accessible and cost-effective form of treatment for fibromyalgia but have not compared the aquatic exercise program against other less expensive exercise alternatives such as walking, tai-chi, and low-impact aerobics.
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While warm wayer therapy may help some people with fibromyalgia to alleviate their pain, I found it did not do so for me. I took such a class 2-3 times a week for several years. It helped with my flexibility and was a good social network, but was not effective for my pain.
Treatment for fibromyalgia patients, unfortunately, is still an elusive thing. It involves trial and error. What works for some may not work for another. I've concluded, after 25 years with the disorder, that additional research into the condition needs to be done before a more universally effective treatment is found. And I know there is no miracle drug or treatment out there yet for this disorder.