Fatigue Affects Fibromyalgia Patients More Than Pain – Exercise May Benefit Sufferers

Fatigue Affects Fibromyalgia Patients More Than Pain – Exercise May Benefit Sufferers

Heli Valkeinen

(Best Syndication News) New evidence suggests that postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia reached exhaustion while exercising before their non-fibromyalgia counterparts. The patients also had lower than normal muscle strength and shorter aerobic capacity, leading researchers to believe that patients will benefit from an exercise program.

The researchers in Finland did their research on postmenopausal women because they are more likely to experience the condition than other women or men. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but some people are believed to be genetically predisposed to the condition. Symptoms include fatigue and pain and the disorder is generally perceived as non-progressive.

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Previous research has found that exercise improves fitness and sleep and may even reduce the pain associated with the disease. Even low intensity exercise was found to be helpful.

The Finnish researchers compared 23 women with the condition to 11 without it. The average age of the women was 58. They found little difference in upper body strength but the women with fibromyalgia had less strength in their legs.

The women with fibromyalgia reached physical exhaustion at a lower maximal heart rate, although oxygen uptake was the same in both groups. The fibromyalgia group was unable to keep-up and was less able to "stand physical loading and resist overall fatigue."

They also found that the quality of life was worsened by fatigue rather than by the pain. The fatigue is the cause of the limited physical performance, not the pain.

In conclusion the researchers found: "The results suggest that more attention should be paid to train muscle performance, together with overall training of physical fitness, when developing rehabilitation programs for postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia."

The research was conducted by Heli Valkeinen and her colleagues at the University of Jyvaskyla and appears in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

By Marsha Quinn
Best Syndication News Health Writer

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