We Need Aerobic Exercise
One of the common recommendations we make for patients with fibromyalgia is to get some aerobic exercise. We often suggest going for brisk walk for at least 30 minutes a day. This is a real challenge for some patients, though, as one of the symptoms that accompany the physically debilitating condition is fatigue.
Luckily, a recent study found that practicing Tai Chi may help patients manage their pain as well as, if not better than, aerobic exercise. If you’re not familiar with it, Tai Chi is a highly effective form of exercise that emphases movement control, breathing, balance, and mindfulness. The goal of Tai Chi isn’t necessarily to get the heart pumping or strengthen muscles, but rather to focus and build mental and physical energy.
The study, consisting of 226 adults with fibromyalgia, found that patients attending a Tai Chi class:
- Attended class more regularly (and therefore exercised more regularly)
- Reported significant improvement in their symptoms after 6 months
- Experienced lower anxiety levels
- Felt more confident about self-managing their condition
- Reduced their consumption level of pain relievers
What’s interesting about this study is how close the results are to other studies that examined the effects of yoga on fibromyalgia patients. It appears that there are two key aspects of these exercise programs that can particularly help patients. These types of exercises may or may not decrease overall pain, but they do appear to help patients mentally manage pain by giving them a better sense of self and of control over their bodies. Moreover, these exercises also help patients improve their energy levels, allowing them to more fully enjoy other aspects of their lives.
Give Tai Chi Or Yoga A Try
While treatment for any chronic pain disorder always works best when personalized to the patient, doing Tai Chi or yoga may be a highly effective practice for those dealing with chronic pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Here at PASS, we typically develop a customized treatment plan for each patient that combines a variety of approaches.
Please call Pain and Spine Specialists in Maryland at 301-703-8767, in Pennsylvania at 724-603-3560, or in Virginia 540-433-1905 to make an appointment or use the form on our site to send us a message.