Fibromyalgia -- a chronic pain disorder -- has stumped doctors for decades. As the physiological causes of this illness are still under investigation, the condition is incredibly difficult to treat. Your doctor may have prescribed you a combination of painkillers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants, but these medications don't work for everyone. When they do work, they're often not enough to relieve symptoms completely. Luckily, there are lifestyle changes you can implement to further reduce the pain and fatigue you're feeling. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have success with adding exercise to their daily routine. Of course, it's important to remember that certain types of exercise could exacerbate your pain, so make sure you see a physiotherapist for guidance. Here are 3 ways moderate activity could help you deal with the affliction of fibromyalgia.
The main characteristic of fibromyalgia is widespread, recurrent pain throughout the body. As this pain is not caused by inflammation or damage, many traditional painkillers like ibuprofen may not work. Exercising to deal with pain may seem counter-productive at first glance, as many people associate physical activity with sore muscles. However, not all exercise needs to be this intense. Work with your physiotherapist to create a plan of gentle, low-impact stretching and aerobics. Low-impact aerobic exercise can relieve pain by increasing blood flow. Stretching also increases blood flow, as well as relaxing your body and improving your range of motion.
Many people with fibromyalgia live with moderate to severe fatigue as one of their main symptoms. Sometimes lack of sleep can interfere with daily life even more than pain does. Fortunately, exercise can improve sleep and alertness dramatically. One study indicated that 150 minutes of exercise a week improves sleep quality by 65%. 150 minutes may sound like a lot, but it only amounts to half an hour of exercise daily from Monday to Friday. The stimulation from exercise could also improve your memory and reaction times, eliminating some of the "brain fog" associated with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia has been strongly linked to depression and anxiety. People with fibromyalgia have a 90% chance of getting depressed at least once, and many will suffer symptoms of anxiety. Exercise can have overwhelming effects on your mental health. Aside from releasing endorphins to boost your happiness, exercise is a great distraction from the negatives of fibromyalgia. Focusing your body and mind on a positive activity can relieve mental tension and help you forget about the worries of your illness.