Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes pain in your muscles and joints. It may also cause headaches, muscle stiffness, body aches and can disrupt your sleep. Stress or lack of sleep can make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. More women than men have fibromyalgia, and the disorder is common--it is seen in up to 5% of the population. However, it isn't life-threatening and it doesn't cause permanent damage.
The treatment for fibromyalgia is usually a combination of medicine to ease pain and self-care. One of the best things you can do if you have fibromyalgia is exercise. Begin with stretching exercises and gentle, low-impact activity, such as walking, swimming or bicycling. Start your exercise program slowly because at the beginning, exercise may make your pain worse. Some muscle soreness is normal when you're starting to exercise, but sharp pain may be a sign that you have overworked or injured your muscles.
As you progress with exercise, it will become more comfortable for you. For exercise to help, you must do it regularly. The goal is to get started and keep going, to gain relief from pain and to improve sleep. Below are some exercises you might want to try:
Walking: Start slowly by walking 5 minutes the first day. The next day, add a minute to this total. Keep adding 1 or 2 minutes a day until you are walking 60 minutes a day. When you reach this point, walk for at least 1 hour, 3 or 4 times a week. If you find yourself struggling as you're working your way up to walking for 60 minutes, go back to a length of time that was comfortable for you, and continue walking for this period of time for several days. Then continue to increase the minutes again until you reach the goal of 60 minutes. Try as many times as you need to reach the goal of walking for 60 minutes.
Walking/jogging: After you feel comfortable walking 3 or 4 times a week, you can alternate walking with slow jogging. Walk 2 blocks, then jog 1 block, walk 2 blocks, jog 1 block, and so on. Do this as often as it feels comfortable. Extend your exercise for longer periods if you feel comfortable.
Bicycling: Stationary bicycles (exercise bikes) offer the benefit of exercising indoors. Keep track of your mileage, or set a goal of bicycling for 60 minutes.
Swimming: Swimming is a great source of exercise that is very gentle on your joints. Try treading water for 1 to 2 minutes at a time, or swimming several laps. Try to work up to swimming laps for 30 total minutes.
The type of exercise you choose is up to you. It's important that you start exercising and keep doing it. Exercise relieves much of the pain fibromyalgia causes. Some people even find that exercise makes all their pain go away. You will also feel better if you have some control over your own care and well-being.
Link found between gray matter and dopamine levels in patients. Changes in the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine may explain brain gray matter reductions experienced by patients with fibromyalgia, a new study suggests.
Previous research found an association between fibromyalgia and reductions in gray matter, but the cause wasn't known, the researchers wrote.
In this new study, Dr. Read More ...
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