Fibromyalgia is a cluster of symptoms usually involving pain and fatigue. It is thought to be caused by an overactive pain system. The most common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are:
- Pain (usually described as a muscle ache which gets worse after rest or intense activity)
- Extreme fatigue
- Reduced sleep quality
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fibromyalgia is most commonly diagnosed in the following patients:
- Diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis
- Previous recent illness or virus
- Traumatic injury or injury resulting in significant pain symptoms
- Excessive stress or depression
- Females aged between 30 and 50 years
Fibromyalgia does not result in a noticeable change in imaging or blood test results. Therefore, it is often diagnosed based purely on symptoms after other possible causes are eliminated.
One of the best things that someone recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia can do is to stay active. Research has demonstrated the benefits to pain and fatigue following exercise. It is important that a health professional assists with starting an exercise program, as too much too quickly can result in increased fatigue and pain. Start low and progress slow. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight may have some impact on how well you feel.
Exercise for the management of fibromyalgia will include both aerobic and resistance/strength training with gradual progressions factoring periods of increased symptoms.