La fibromyalgie et le sport : comment faire de l’exercice de manière sécuritaire

Fibromyalgia and sport: how to exercise safely

Sep 13, 2023

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease characterized by widespread muscle pain and persistent fatigue. This complex and still poorly understood disorder is often considered a chronic generalized pain syndrome. Although the causes of fibromyalgia remain unclear, exercise appears to be a promising way to help manage symptoms.

“Sport is a non-drug therapy that proves effective in improving the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia,” notes the scientific journal Arthritis Research & Therapy .

This article aims to explain in detail what fibromyalgia is , show how exercise can be beneficial, and give advice on how to exercise safely for people with this condition. .

  • What is fibromyalgia and what are its symptoms?
  • How sport can help manage fibromyalgia?
  • What exercises are recommended and how to practice them safely?

This guide draws on the latest scientific and medical research to provide accurate and useful information. It is important to note that each individual is unique and the effectiveness of different approaches may vary from person to person. Therefore, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease characterized mainly by diffuse musculoskeletal pain, intense fatigue and sleep disturbances. It is often associated with symptoms such as cognitive impairment , headaches , increased sensitivity to touch and other stimuli, and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

It is considered a central pain sensitization disorder, meaning that the patient's nervous system overinterprets pain signals, amplifying them and transforming them into chronic painful sensations . The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, although several factors such as genes, infections, and physical or emotional stress are often involved.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that affects approximately 2 to 4% of the world's population.

Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult because there is no specific test for this disorder. It is usually diagnosed based on patient-reported symptoms and a physical examination, after ruling out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms. Management of fibromyalgia generally focuses on symptom management, which may include medications, cognitive and behavioral therapies, and lifestyle modifications, including regular exercise.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by a series of symptoms which, although diverse and varied, share a common characteristic: they affect the general well-being of the patient. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be both physical and psychological, making diagnosis more complex.

The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain that affects different parts of the body. This pain, often described as a burning or pulling sensation, can vary in intensity and duration, but is usually chronic.

Severe fatigue associated

Fibromyalgia patients may also experience severe fatigue . This fatigue can be so overwhelming that it interferes with the patient's normal daily activities. It is not uncommon for patients to feel exhausted even after a long night's sleep.

Morning stiffness is another common symptom of fibromyalgia. Patients may feel stiff and clumsy upon waking, a feeling that can last for several hours after getting up.

Fibromyalgia can also affect the mental health of the patient. Sleep problems , such as insomnia or unrefreshing sleep, are common. Additionally, many patients experience cognitive impairment , such as difficulty concentrating or remembering, which is often referred to as "fibromyalgia fog."

It is important to note that the presence and intensity of these symptoms may vary from patient to patient. Therefore, treatment must be individualized and adapted to each specific case.

Summary of symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, often accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances and depression. Although the exact cause of this condition is unknown, some research suggests that it may be linked to a variety of factors, including physical and emotional stress, sleep disorders, abnormal activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, and 'heredity.

A recent study found that regular exercise can help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. This is because physical activity helps strengthen muscles, improve flexibility and promote better sleep, which in turn can reduce the pain and fatigue associated with this condition. However, it is essential that these exercises are performed in a safe and progressive manner to avoid any injury or worsening of symptoms.

The following table provides a summary of symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia:

Symptoms Description
Generalized musculoskeletal pain The pain can be felt throughout the body, but is often more severe in certain areas, such as the neck and back. It can be described as a dull, stabbing or burning pain.
Fatigue Fibromyalgia patients often feel exhausted, even after a good night's sleep. Fatigue can be so severe that it interferes with daily activities.
Sleeping troubles Sleep disorders are common in patients with fibromyalgia. They may have trouble falling or staying asleep, and their sleep may be interrupted by severe pain.
Depression Chronic pain and fatigue can lead to mood disorders, including depression. It is important to talk about these feelings with a healthcare professional.

It is important to note that the presence and intensity of these symptoms may vary from patient to patient. Therefore, treatment must be individualized and adapted to each specific case.

Fibromyalgia and sport: how to exercise safely

The link between fibromyalgia and exercise

Fibromyalgia , a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, is often associated with increased sensitivity to pain, severe fatigue, and sleep disturbances . However, despite these potentially debilitating symptoms, exercise can actually play a crucial role in treating this condition.

Scientific studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce pain and improve physical function in people with fibromyalgia. Indeed, exercise appears to have an analgesic effect, meaning it can reduce sensitivity to pain. Exercise has also been shown to help improve sleep quality , a common complication of fibromyalgia.

It is important to note that the type , duration and intensity of exercise should be tailored to each individual. For some people, strenuous physical activity can cause increased pain or excessive fatigue. Therefore, exercise should be gradual and moderate, starting with low-intensity activities and gradually increasing the intensity level as physical condition improves.

Additionally, regular exercise can help improve mood and reduce stress, factors that are often associated with fibromyalgia. Endorphins, commonly known as happy hormones, are released during exercise, which can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety often associated with this condition.

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before beginning an exercise program, as certain medical conditions may require specific adjustments in the type or intensity of exercise.

The benefits of sport for patients with fibromyalgia

Regular participation in physical activity can provide many benefits to people suffering from fibromyalgia.

First , there is evidence that exercise can help alleviate chronic pain . This is because movement stimulates the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that act as natural painkillers.

Second , sport can help improve sleep quality , which is often disturbed in fibromyalgia patients. Regular exercise actually promotes deeper, more restful sleep, which can help alleviate fatigue and improve mood.

Third , regular physical activity can play a crucial role in weight management . Several studies have shown a link between fibromyalgia and obesity. By helping to maintain a healthy weight, sport can help reduce the risk of complications linked to this disorder.

Finally , sport can also have a positive impact on mood and mental well-being . It is commonly observed that physical exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety, two symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia.

It is important to note that the benefits of exercise for fibromyalgia patients may vary depending on the individual . Some may find significant relief from their symptoms, while others may see more modest improvements. Regardless, simply engaging in regular physical activity is a positive step toward managing this condition.

Fibromyalgia and sport: how to exercise safely

Pain management through sport

Pain management is a major challenge for people with fibromyalgia. However, it has been shown that exercise, when done appropriately, can play a crucial role in this management.

This is because exercise stimulates the production of endorphins , natural hormones that act as painkillers. These chemicals may help reduce the perception of pain in people with fibromyalgia. They are often called "happy hormones" because they also help improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety, factors that can intensify feelings of pain.

Besides producing endorphins, exercise helps improve muscle strength and endurance , which can help prevent muscle fatigue. This can be particularly beneficial for people with fibromyalgia, as muscle fatigue can make pain symptoms worse.

It is important to note that the approach to exercise should be progressive and tailored to each individual. It is recommended to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercise. The goal is not to push to the extreme, but to find a balance that allows you to obtain the benefits of exercise while avoiding worsening the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

What types of exercises are recommended for people with fibromyalgia?

It is important to understand that everyone with fibromyalgia is different and the intensity of symptoms can vary. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise for people with this condition. However, certain types of exercise are generally well tolerated and can help manage symptoms.

Low-impact aerobic exercises

These exercises are often recommended for people with fibromyalgia because they place less strain on the joints than high-impact exercises. Activities such as brisk walking , cycling , swimming or aquagym are interesting options that allow you to work on cardiac endurance without putting excessive strain on the joints.

Stretches and flexibility exercises

Stretching and flexibility exercises can help improve joint mobility and reduce muscle stiffness often associated with fibromyalgia. Yoga and tai chi are examples of activities that combine stretching, gentle movements, and controlled breathing, which can also help reduce stress and anxiety.

Muscle strengthening exercises

Muscle-strengthening exercises can help improve strength and endurance, which can help manage some fibromyalgia symptoms. However, it is important to approach these exercises with caution and start with light weights and limited repetitions to avoid worsening symptoms.

It is essential to emphasize that the introduction of any form of exercise must be gradual and tailored to each individual. It is strongly recommended to consult a health professional before starting an exercise program, in order to develop a suitable and safe plan .

Fibromyalgia and sport: how to exercise safely

Mistakes to avoid when exercising with fibromyalgia

It is crucial for people with fibromyalgia to avoid some common mistakes when exercising, so as not to worsen their symptoms or cause injury. Here are some points to consider:

  • Ignoring pain: Pain is a warning signal from the body. If exercise causes increased pain, it is essential to slow down or modify the activity.
  • Omit warming up and cooling down: These phases are essential to prepare the body for exercise and to recover afterwards. They can help minimize muscle soreness and stiffness after exercise.
  • Pushing too hard: People with fibromyalgia should avoid strenuous exercise that could exacerbate their symptoms. It is best to adopt a gradual and moderate exercise program.
  • Neglecting rest: Rest is an important aspect of managing fibromyalgia. It is essential to rest between exercise sessions and get enough sleep each night.
  • Not listening to your body: Each person with fibromyalgia is unique and may respond differently to exercise. It's important to listen to your body and modify your exercise program accordingly.

By avoiding these common mistakes, people with fibromyalgia can enjoy the benefits of exercise while minimizing the risk of additional pain or injury.

Conclusion: sport, an ally in the fight against fibromyalgia

In short, sport, practiced adequately and safely, can be a valuable ally in the management of fibromyalgia. It not only helps combat pain and fatigue , but also strengthens general physical condition and improves patients' quality of life . With the help of health professionals, it is possible to build an exercise program tailored to the needs and abilities of each individual.

It is therefore crucial for people with fibromyalgia to understand the importance of sport in their treatment. They must also be aware of the mistakes to avoid in order to prevent any form of injury or overwork. It is by adopting a careful and progressive approach that sport can become an effective therapeutic tool.

Fibromyalgia remains a complex disease and research continues to better understand its mechanisms and develop more effective treatments. However, exercise, when properly integrated into the care plan, offers a promising avenue to help patients regain control of their lives and live with minimal discomfort.

Plus d'articles

Retours au blog

Vous avez encore plein d'articles à découvrir !