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Burning pain, pins and needles, searing pain…
Aching all over your body, electric zings, skin that feels like it’s been sunburned…
The kind of pain that just doesn’t make sense — or changes rapidly throughout the day.
One day you feel fine and the next day you can’t get out of bed because of the pain… you’re okay one moment and the next you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.
If you identify with those feelings, you’re most likely living with the often debilitating pain of fibromyalgia.
To top it off, you could be dealing with the other issues that come part and parcel with fibromyalgia like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, foggy thinking and even short-term memory loss. The truth is that the list of symptoms that go along with the condition is a monster — a monster that can leave you depressed, frustrated, exhausted and isolated.
And unfortunately, fibromyalgia is still an incredibly difficult condition for doctors to diagnose much less treat.
But, there is good news.
You can achieve relief from your fibromyalgia symptoms and you can do it naturally. Better yet, you’ve got two effective options to choose from…
Pain relief and improved quality of life
The study performed by researchers at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) involved 75 sedentary women between 18 and 60 years old who had fibromyalgia.
They were divided into two groups: 39 practiced freestyle swimming and 36 undertook moderate open-air walking in order to determine whether or not swimming could be as beneficial to fibromyalgia sufferers as walking (which, in previous studies, has proven to reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve depression).
Both groups did 50 minute sessions, three times a week for 12 weeks. The volunteers were evaluated according to several parameters, including pain intensity and quality of life both before and after the 12-week training period.
Here’s what they found…
Pain intensity fell from 6.2 to 3.6 on average in the walking group (with 0 representing no pain and 10 representing unbearable pain) and from 6.4 to 3.1 in the swimming group.
Quality of life improved as well in both social interactions and mental health in both groups, with a larger improvement seen in the swimming group once again.
These results make both walking and swimming great options for those with fibromyalgia pain who want to overcome their pain and depression naturally. However, swimming could be a better option for fibromyalgia sufferers who also live with knee, hip, foot or back problems.
Overcoming your fibromyalgia pain
So, if you’re ready to beat your fibromyalgia symptoms, it’s time to either get walking or jump into the pool. After all, it may be winter but indoor pools are easy to find at your local gym.
Remember, in the study, the participants experienced relief with swimming or walking three times a week for 50 minutes.
My favorite way to do any kind of exercise is with a partner. If you get into the routine of walking… or swimming at your local Y or clubhouse, it’s harder to give up on yourself. So keep that in mind.
If your pain level is such that you’re not ready to begin walking or swimming, try the following techniques to improve your fibromyalgia symptoms so you can start soon…
- Use moist heat – Moist heat improves your circulation to areas of your body where you experience pain. Try warm baths and showers as well as moist heating pads to help you feel better.
- Get a massage – Light massage can be beneficial to relieving pain and depression as well as improving range of motion.
- Try acupuncture – One study showed that acupuncture could provide immediate pain relief for those living with fibromyalgia pain.
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- Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. (2016, August 19). Swimming is an effective part of the treatment for fibromyalgia, study suggests. — ScienceDaily
- Acupuncture in fibromyalgia: a randomized, controlled study addressing the immediate pain response — Revista Brasileira De Reumatologia