Fibromyalgia is a common disease characterized by a generalized chronic sensitivity to painful stimuli. Along with chronic pain, the clinical manifestation of the disease usually involves a series of physical and psychological symptoms, such as increased physical fatigue, anxiety, and poor quality of sleep, among others. The symptomatic features of fibromyalgia have an impact on an individual’s daily life and well-being, limiting their ability to perform daily tasks, work, and social activities. The global impact of fibromyalgia is greater on physical health than on psychological. For example, compared to other people who do not have fibromyalgia, the fitness of people with fibromyalgia is clearly affected.
Currently there is no valid and unique treatment to alleviate the prevalent symptoms of fibromyalgia, but there are alternative treatments that reduce its impact, such as physical training programs.
In a study carried out by a group of researchers from different universities, including the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) in Spain, the University of Las Americas (UDLA) in Santiago de Chile, the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid (URJC) in Spain and the University of Extremadura (UEX) in Spain, a physical exercise intervention program focused on strength training, progressive and gradual in volume and intensity, oriented to daily activities, has been carried out.
After 24 weeks of application, the team led by Dr. Cristina Maestre (UPM) has shown that it is a valid option to mitigate some of the determining symptoms of fibromyalgia, which affect quality of life to a greater extent, such as pain, sleep quality and physical condition.
Patients applying phase 2 exercises (strength work with elastic bands) and phase 3 of the program (strength work with external and proprioceptive loads). (Photos: UPM)
The study also supports the idea of fibromyalgia as a multidimensional condition, so its conclusions indicate that we cannot generalize that all physical exercise is useful, valid and effective to alleviate all and any symptom, but that the programs they should be oriented, as far as possible, to those symptoms that we want to improve. That is why, as has been shown, there are symptoms such as anxiety that strength training alone is not enough to reduce its symptomatic impact. Perhaps with multidisciplinary interventions that combine exercise and cognitive behavioral therapies, greater benefits could be achieved in the treatment of this symptom.
The study is titled “Gradual Strength Training Improves Sleep Quality, Physical Function and Pain in Women with Fibromyalgia.” And it has been published in the academic journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. (Source: UPM)