What is it?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterised by long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in muscles, tendons, joints and other soft tissues. Other symptoms of the condition may include fatigue, sleep problems, morning stiffness and an enhanced perception of depression, anxiety and physical exertion. People suffering this disorder commonly have an impaired functional capacity, social isolation, low self esteem and a poor quality of life. The cause of this debilitating condition is largely unknown but the possible/suspected triggers or causes of fibromyalgia include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Infections e.g. virus
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Abnormal pain response; the pain receptors in these clients act differently to healthy individuals
Studies have indicated that approximately 2-10% of Australians suffer from fibromyalgia and it is 2-5 times more common than rheumatoid arthritis. The disease affects both men and women; however 80% of those affected by the condition are females aged between 20-55yrs
Benefits of exercise
Many individuals with the fibromyalgia are general sedentary and de-conditioned due to the pain experienced with physical exertion. However exercise can result in the same general benefits for people with fibromyalgia as with healthy individuals’ e.g. Improved cardio-respiratory function, reduced risk of cardiovascular/metabolic illness or death and improved physiological wellbeing.
The main goal for fibromyalgia suffers is to restore and maintain functional ability, inducing benefits such as:
- Improved sleep and reduced fatigue
- Reduced general pain
- Decreased pain at tendons and joints
- Greater and more meaningful social interactions
- Greater quality of life
- Reduced feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Stay tuned for part 2 which contains exercise recommendations for people who suffer from Fibromyalgia