Best 5 Exercises for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localised areas. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it's believed to involve a variety of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It affects more women than men and is often diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 30 and 60, though it can occur at any age.
Does Fibromyalgia Really Exist?
Fibromyalgia is a recognised medical condition. However, it’s not a disease. It’s not an infection. It’s not a degenerative condition. There’s no medical treatment for it. There’s no drug for it. There is no conventional therapy for it. There’s no injection for it. It cannot be seen on a scan. There’s no blood test to detect it.
Then why did my GP diagnose it? Probably because they have no idea what else to do for you, so they use the fibromyalgia to give you a reason to explain your pain. Some people are empowered when giving a diagnosis which starts them on a journey of learning how to manage it.
The prevailing view in the medical community is that fibromyalgia is a real condition, possibly related to abnormalities in how the nervous system processes pain. It's believed to be a central pain processing disorder, where pain sensations are amplified by the brain. Lots of people disagree, and many put it down to a psychological issue.
There’s no medical treatment. When medicine cannot provide the solution, seek physiotherapy and osteopathy to improve your health and lifestyle, and to look at you holistically.
Physiotherapy and/or Osteopathy
Therapists will look at your body and help you to exercise, reduce sedentary lifestyles, look at your workplace set up, look at what may be contributing to your pain (both physically, and possibly mentally and emotionally too). They may even provide some manual therapy for therapeutic relief (although this is not a recognised treatment too). However, the real benefit is by using your physio or osteopath as your health coach.
Seek a good talking therapist or psychologist to support your recovery. Accept that everyone feels pain. Everyone gets aches. Since I turned 35, I sit on the floor, and when I get up, I feel like all my joints have seized up. This is not abnormal. Things hurt. My back aches. My neck aches. Just realising that most people get pain, but we just have to be resilient. In some cases, pain can be traced back to deep trauma in the past, especially childhood.
Best 5 Exercises for Fibromyalgia
1. Relax, breathe, be mindful
I actually help people learn to control their pain through training your perception of pain. Try relaxing deeply to reduce stress. Close your eyes, be mindful. Slow your breathing. Practice gratitude, and look for ways to be content in life.
2. Deep breathing
Calm your body. Improve your breathing. Slow your breathing. Take deeper breathes. Use your diaphragm to breathe effectively. The power of breath must never be underestimated. Breathing is an incredibly powerful tool to balance oxygen and carbon dioxide, to reduce stress, and to feel generally better.
At Surrey Physio, we offer both mat Pilates, and reformer Pilates at our sister site: www.backinshape.co.uk. Pilates is really good for a lot of things including strengthening your body, reducing pain, getting stronger, reducing stress, releasing feel-good endorphins, and being more flexible. Exercise is good. Let’s look at two great Pilates exercises:
Yoga is brilliant for deep breathing, mindfulness, getting strong, getting flexible, and being generally zen. I spent a month doing yoga in Thailand, and while I found it brutally hard, it certainly made me think more about my body. Yoga will make your mind and body better conditioned.
5. Strength and Resistance Training
Just get into a gym and build strength in your body. Use light resistance to start with, and build up to compound exercises. Seek advice from a physio or personal trainer on what you should do. Exercise is, as I said before, good.
We can support how you think about fibromyalgia, and how you manage pain, at Surrey Physio. Drop us an email on info@ surreyphysio.co.uk and we’ll direct you to the best person to see. If you are a therapist reading this article, then check out www.rehabmypatient.com for exercise prescription.