Two friends walking with one arm around the other

Can a Short Walk Help Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain?

Two friends walking with one arm around the other

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 2% of the adult population in the country has fibromyalgia [1]. The condition causes widespread chronic pain all over the body. As well as impacting one’s quality of life and sleep, it can cause emotional and mental distress. For those with this type of chronic pain, it’s important to have many tools they can turn to in order to find some relief. One of them is taking a six-minute walk each day.

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New Research Findings

Shared findings from a study conducted in which those with fibromyalgia engaged in a program of exercise and receiving information [2]. They started the study with 75 participants who had fibromyalgia. Each participant was given information regarding the condition and put on a program in which they would walk for six minutes per day for a period of six weeks.

When the program ended at the six-week mark, there were 43 people who were still participating in the program. They found that there was a small-to-moderate improvement. Those who participated for the whole program did have short-term benefits from their efforts.

Six months later, researchers followed up with the participants to see if there was any difference. Of those who finished, there were two who had what is considered a minimal clinically important difference at the six-month mark.

 

Physical Exercise Provides Relief

Prior research backs up this idea that physical exercise can help bring some relief from the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. In a 2017 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review, researchers concluded that evidence indicates that aerobic exercise probably provided people with an improved quality of life [3].

Additionally, a study published in the March 2018 issue of the journal BMJ found that engaging in tai chi regularly had helped to improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Those who engaged in it for longer periods of time had the most benefit from it [4].

These studies are good news for those who have chronic pain due to fibromyalgia. By engaging in regular exercise, they can expect to have at least slight improvements in symptoms, and they may experience a better quality of life.

There are plenty of options to choose from, including taking a daily six-minute walk or doing some tai chi to help fibromyalgia. The more options that people have, the more they will be able to find relief from their pain.

 

Sources:

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fibromyalgia.
  2. Disability and Rehabilitation. The effects of a group exercise and education programme on symptoms and physical fitness in patients with fibromyalgia. March 2021.
  3. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review. Aerobic exercise training for adults with fibromyalgia. June 2017.
  4. BMJ. Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia. March 2018.

 

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About Dr. Steven H. Richeimer

Steven Richeimer, M.D. is a renowned specialist on issues related to chronic pain. He is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has written or co-written a large number of scientific articles about pain medicine. He recently published an instructive book and guide for pain patients. Dr. Richeimer has given numerous lectures to medical and lay audiences throughout the U.S.