Some of us were born to exercise—we just can’t get enough—while others loathe the thought of working out. We may make half-hearted attempts to find a walking partner, or urge our spouses to nudge us into reluctant physical activity when we lack the impetus. Of course, you can pay for motivation—wealthy people can hire a personal fitness trainer to prod them into taking better care of their physical well-being—but the bottom line is that most of us just don’t have the means to pay for this luxury. On the other hand, those people afflicted with fibromyalgia, more than most, can’t afford to slack off. Exercise has been proven as an effective means to improve daily functioning and quality of life for fibromyalgia sufferers.
Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have what seems to be a brilliant idea for getting fibromyalgia patients into the swing of regular exercise: motivational telephone calls! For this purpose, the researchers are seeking 200 diagnosed fibromyalgia patients to see if phone reminders might serve to encourage those with the condition to partake of regular exercise.
Up to 5% of the American population is deemed to suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome. While the condition isn’t life-threatening, it tends to have a devastating effect on quality of life. Fibromyalgia syndrome causes chronic muscle and joint pain. Chief among fibromyalgia complaints are body pain, chronic sleep disruption, stiffness, and headaches. While each case presents with its own complications and associated disorders, regular exercise is deemed across the board, to be helpful for all fibromyalgia patients.
The initiative by the Indiana University researchers is receiving federal funding and aims to examine whether a support system employing the telephone as a motivational vehicle might not lead those with fibromyalgia to keep on track with positive lifestyle changes. Regular exercise can lead to a reduction of symptoms which in turn can improve the functioning and productivity of fibromyalgia sufferers bringing reduced costs in health care, disability payments, and insurance claims.
Those fibromyalgia patients participating in the study will receive 6 phone calls and be assessed at four points during a 36 week period. Those eligible for the study are fibromyalgia sufferers from ages 18-65 years. Participants must have no contraindications for participation in a directed form of moderate physical activity. The study’s end-goal is to assess whether motivational phone interviews lead to regular exercise in fibromyalgia patients.