Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness throughout the body. It can also cause fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory and mood issues, headaches, temperature dysregulation, digestive problems, anxiety and depression.
It’s not known why people get Fibromyalgia, in certain cases it can be triggered by a physically or emotionally traumatic event such as a car accident or an illness. It can also be due to certain conditions, (for example Osteoarthritis), stress and life changes, it is also more common in females with the onset often occurring after the age of 40.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia can come and go, when they are present they are known as flare ups.
Triggers for a flare up can be from emotional stress, changes in routine or diet, not eating enough nutritious food, hormonal changes, sleep disruption, weather changes or getting ill.
Sadly, there’s no cure for Fibromyalgia but it is possible to manage the condition and limit flare ups through diet, gentle exercise, talking therapies, mindful practises such as meditation as well as talking to your health care provider about suitable medication.
Pilates as an exercise practise can be very beneficial in helping control and support symptoms of Fibromyalgia as it involves slow, controlled movement with a focus on posture, alignment and stability, building strength and flexibility throughout the body. Creating personalised sessions and tailoring exercise programmes to the individual can help reduce pain, relieve tension, conserve and balance energy levels.
Working with clients that have Fibromyalgia on a one to one basis using the Pilates equipment in my experience works well as we can establish a suitable, individualised exercise programme.
It’s important to remember that clients with Fibromyalgia may have differing levels of exercise tolerance, on different days certain exercises may cause pain and on others may be manageable.
Starting slowly and building a foundation of core exercises is useful, then adding in suitable exercises according to energy levels, pain and movement.