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Limiting Your Physical Activity Worsens "Muscle Arthritis"
Last review: 08/12/10
New research may challenge those living with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions that live their lives believing increased activity means more pain.

A study suggested that those living with this condition might be able to sustain more activity than they once thought -- and without increased pain.

While the study revealed that patients with fibromyalgia had similar activity levels compared to those without the condition, it also showed that when it came to higher activity levels (quickly walking up a flight of stairs, walking for several miles or engaging in aerobics) their level was significantly lower than those without the condition.

The measurements in the study were conducted by using actigraphs, wristwatch-sized devices that measure movements in various directions. These round-the-clock monitoring devices allowed researchers for the first time to accurately measure the patient's activity level without having to depend on patients self-reporting their activity levels.

Positive Findings for Physical Activity

People with fibromyalgia tend to report poor physical activity levels and more pain after performing activities because they often think increased activity levels equate to higher levels of pain
Exercise and physical activity promotes further well-being of those with fibromyalgia
Higher activity levels in fibromyalgia patients doesn't lead to higher levels of pain

Researchers are hopeful that these findings will shed some light on the mysteries of fibromyalgia and eventually lead to new treatment options for patients suffering from chronic pain conditions in the muscle and soft tissue regions. Relying on this type of evidence-based research can also provide a better gauge on the amount of activity the patients can endure without experiencing increased pain.

Arthritis and Rheumatism January 2005;52(1):296-303

Medical News Today January 25, 2005


Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Fibromyalgia is a frequently disabling painful muscle condition that affects more women than men and is not always recognized by conventional physicians. Many patients resort to taking over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve their pain. You likely recall a past article I ran on how researchers are experimenting with using a new antidepressant, duloxetine to treat those with fibromyalgia as well.

This above article suggests that people living with fibromyalgia maybe short-changing themselves on the benefits of exercise and don't understand that it could actually help with their chronic pain. However, it is extremely important to understand that one needs to be very careful when implementing exercise with fibromyalgia. This is one of the only conditions I know of that exercise has the potential to significantly worsen the condition if done improperly.

They key here is to listen to your body. If there is pain that persists longer than 90 minutes after the exercise is completed then you have likely done more than your body can tolerate. This appears to be related to dysfunction in cellular mitochondria that are actually unable to produce ATP. I listened to Dr. Steven Sinatra at the A4M conference in Las Vegas in November and he presented some compelling evidence that high dose ribose supplementation is likely to be helpful in eliminating this pain.

Patients with this condition commonly report feeling tenderness, stiffness and pain in classic tender spots on the body. They also may suffer from fatigue, depression, confusion and gastrointestinal problems. If you want a complete list of symptoms for fibromyalgia, I encourage you to go to holistic online. There you will find a breakdown of the minor and major criteria for fibromyalgia.

I'm convinced that natural solutions are far better for fibromyalgia sufferers than taking antidepressants or over-the-counter medications as the drugs offer no more than Band-Aids for the symptoms and which don't address the underlying cause.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, I advise you to consider the following:

Eat healthier by choosing meals based on your personal metabolic type. You may experience reductions in your symptoms by following a diet fit for your body type.

Exercise to gain strength and increase natural chemicals that fight fatigue and depression. Again, you will need to be cautious about the frequency, intensity and duration as you do not want to overdo it as that could make your symptoms worse.

Have a tool to address your emotions. Nearly every person I have seen with fibromyalgia has an underlying emotional component. Rather than relying on an antidepressant that may hurt more than help you, the bioenergetic normalization of previous emotional traumas is the single most effective treatment I know of for fibromyalgia, and EFT is my favorite technique to do this. Use my free EFT manual to learn this effective technique. Please understand though that self-treatment is frequently unwise for the more serious issues that tend to cause this problem and you will want to consider seeking a professional therapist to help you with your challenge.

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