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Fibromyalgia Symptoms Improve with Short Bursts of Activity

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A study shows that patients who suffer from fibromyalgia can find significant symptom relief with short bursts of physical activity. 'Lifestyle Physical Activity' (LPA) was shown to reduce pain perception and improve physical function in a group of study participants diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

A team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center investigated the effect of LPA and relief of fibromyalgia symptoms that included pain, physical function and other measures of disability, finding that short bursts of activity, like taking the stairs, walking or gardening for 30 minutes most days of the week could significantly improved the perception of disability and pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Moderately intense activity that can be incorporated into daily activities was found to increase daily steps for fibromyalgia patients by fifty four percent in a study of 84 participants.

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Kevin Fontaine, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who worked with the team of researchers says Fibromyalgia is estimated to occur in 2% of the U.S. general population, affecting about eight times more women than men. Although exercise has been shown to be beneficial, the symptoms often create obstacles that deter many from exercising consistently enough to derive benefits".

For the current study, patients with fibromyalgia were taught to exercise moderately, without becoming short of breath to the point of not being able to converse. The patients were also counseled to recognize barriers to Lifestyle Physical Activity, monitoring of LPA, and finding ways to incorporate short bursts of activity into their daily lives.

Compared to the control group, fibromyalgia patients who incorporated short bursts of activity into their daily lives experienced less pain and perceived less disability at the end of the study. The authors conclude that by incorporating short bursts of Lifestyle Physical Activity into their daily lives, fibromyalgia patients can get” a little more physically active, and that this seems to help improve their symptoms".

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