Posted on Jun 14, 2018, 9 p.m.
To most the concept of resistance training exercises and fibromyalgia is considered to be an impossible combinations BUT with proper support and exercises adjusted to the individual, female patients have been able to achieve considerable health improvements.
Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden researchers say if a woman has a goal to improve strength and health that the condition shouldn’t make them be afraid of exercise, it just needs to be done the right way. Popular thought is that fibromyalgia will make people feel more pain as a result of resistance exercise and it won’t work, according to researchers that is not true.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that is characterized with widespread muscle pain increased sensitivity, reduced physical capacity, fatigue, and limitation of daily life activities with 9 out of 10 cases being women affecting an estimated 10 million people within the USA alone.
130 women between the ages of 20-65 with fibromyalgia were studied, at random half of the group were selected to participate in a program of personalised progressive resistance exercises led by a physical therapist; the other half participated in more traditional relaxation exercise therapy programs. Training programs and exercises were held twice weekly for 15 weeks.
Resistance training exercises began with very light weights which was determined individually for each person, beginning at 40% of max strength staying at that level for 3 weeks before increasing to 60%. More than 6 of 10 women were able to reach a level of 80% of their maximum strength, with 1 of 10 at 10%, and the other were below 10% and they chose to stop due to pain. As a whole the group had 71% attendance at exercise sessions, improvements were significant for everything measured including less pain, gained muscle strength, improved pain tolerance, and improved health related quality of life with less limitation of activities. Some of the women who did not manage the exercise program became worse.
The control group with more traditional exercises had small improvements that were not as significant which included some hand and arm strength improvement, mostly due to relaxations exercises leading to reduced muscle tension in arms and shoulders allowing the women to develop a bit more movement and strength.
Findings for the resistance training exercise group were affected by several factors including degree of pain and fear of movement before and after the exercise session. Progression as a whole can largely be attributed to mind over matter and the individual one on one person centered approach, with exercises and loads adjusted to be catered to the specific person with support of a physical therapist.
More on muscle strength and resistance exercise for women with fibromyalgia and the personal centered approach can be found here: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/55397
Materials provided by University of Gothenburg.
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