What is Fibromyalgia?

  • Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain.
  • Symptoms other than pain may occur, leading to the use of the term fibromyalgia syndrome.
  • Other symptoms include feeling tired to a degree that normal activities are affected; sleep disturbance and joint stiffness. Some people also report difficulty with swallowing, bowl and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling.
  • Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety, and with stress-related disorders. Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms.

Can Pilates benefit Fibromyalgia?

  • Conventional treatment for fibromyalgia involves multiple medications to treat specific symptoms: analgesics for pain, antidepressants to improve mood, muscle relaxants, and short-term sleep aids.
  • Pregabalin is the first drug specifically approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. About half the time it may reduce pain and improve function.
  • However, the side effects are multiple: dizziness, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, weight gain, dry mouth, and swelling in the hands and feet.
  • In other words, Pregabalin may aggravate many fibromyalgia symptoms, while helping others.
  • Other medications similarly have both mild and serious side effects that can be concerning.
  • Pilates is a non-invasive intervention that can be beneficial as a substitute for or complement to drug interventions. Pilates is minimal-impact to no-impact exercise and can be individualised to accommodate specific painful symptoms and physical limitations.
  • Pilates improves awareness and functioning of the torso, which enables a client to perform the activities of daily living, such as bending, lifting, sitting, rising, reaching, and many others.
  • It is especially appropriate for maintaining or restoring range of motion and function following underuse or misuse of a joint due to fibromyalgia symptoms.

Can Yoga benefit Fibromyalgia?

  • Women with fibromyalgia can reduce symptoms of the disease and improve their function by practicing the mind-body techniques of yoga, a new study says.
  • Researchers in Oregon who enrolled 53 women aged 21 or older for the study say that women who participated in a “Yoga of Awareness” health program showed significantly greater improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms. Their findings are published in the November issue of Pain, the journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain.
  • To participate in the study, the women had to have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia using the American College of Rheumatology’s criteria for at least one year, and to be on a stable regimen of prescription or over-the-counter medications for at least three months.

Can Rehabilitation benefit Fibromyalgia?

  • Some investigators believe that a successful fibromyalgia rehabilitation program involves not only a multidisciplinary team of professionals (eg, physician, medical psychologist, physical and massage therapists, exercise physiologist) with expertise in the treatment of soft-tissue disorders but also includes various modalities (eg, exercise, education, cognitive behavioral therapy) individualized for each patient.
  • Traditional therapy or rehabilitation may worsen the patient’s symptoms. Monitor the progress of the patient in rehabilitation.
  • As goals are met and symptoms change, modify the rehabilitation prescription to meet the individual’s current needs.