Swimming Away Fibromyalgia Pain

Cost Effective Fibromyalgia Relief

Swimming in a heated pool on a regular basis can improve quality of life for those afflicted with fibromyalgia, according to the results of a recent study from February 2008. This inexpensive exercise, performed on a long term basis, can bring significant relief to those who suffer from the painful and chronic condition.

The Woman's Disease

Fibromyalgia is a condition whose cause remains undiscovered and for which there is, as yet, no cure. The painful syndrome is a common rheumatologic complaint which tends to affect women more than men with some 90% of fibromyalgia patients belonging to the fairer sex. The main symptom is unrelenting pain and soreness throughout the body; in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. While the pain most often hits in the neck and shoulder area, fibromyalgia patients also report sleep difficulties, depression, and anxiety. Exercise and medications such as painkillers and antidepressants help, and so do certain relaxation techniques.

Narcís Gusi of the Faculty of Sports Sciences, at the University of Extremadura, in Cáceres, Spain and Pablo Tomas-Carus of the Department of Sport and Health at the University of Évora, Portugal have furthered our body of knowledge about the disease by carrying out an extensive trial which aimed to find yet another therapeutic approach to fibromyalgia. Gusi and Tomas-Carus formed a group of 33 women with fibromyalgia and had 17 of them exercise in a heated pool for one hour, three times a week, over a period of 8 months while the remaining women did not swim or do aquatic workouts.

Tomas-Carus and Gusi discovered that exercising in water alleviated the symptoms of the participants and gave them, overall, a better picture in terms of their health, when such exercise was performed over a long period of time. An earlier study performed by Gusi and Tomas-Carus had determined that a short course of exercise could alleviate symptoms, but that once the exercise was discontinued, the pain would return.

The two researchers concluded that, "The addition of an aquatic exercise program to the usual care for fibromyalgia in women, is cost-effective in terms of both health care costs and societal costs. Appropriate aquatic exercise is a good health investment."

The researchers would like to see more research done that would serve to compare the effects of various forms of inexpensive and easy to access exercise, for instance, tai-chi and low-impact aerobics.


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