A Regular Dip Could Benefit Those with Fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia could benefit significantly from regular exercise in a heated swimming pool, a study published in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy shows. The findings suggest a cost effective way of improving quality of life for those with this often-debilitating disorder.
Fibromyalgia is a common, painful syndrome, with no known cause and no accepted cure. Symptoms usually involve chronic pain and tenderness in muscles, ligaments and tendons. Along with pain, patients also report problems with sleep, anxiety and depression.
Narcís Gusi of the Faculty of Sports Sciences, at the University of Extremadura, in Cáceres, Spain and Pablo Tomas-Carus of the Department of Sport and Health at the University of Évora, Portugal have carried out a randomized controlled trial with a group of 33 female fibromyalgia patients. Seventeen of the patients took part in supervised training exercises in warm water for an hour three times a week over a period of eight months and the remaining 16 did no aquatic training.
Gusi and Tomas-Carus found that this long-term aquatic exercise program was effective in reducing symptoms and improving the health-related quality of life of the participants. In an earlier study, the researchers had shown that even a short-term exercise regime could reduce symptoms but pain would return once the patients stopped the exercise course.
"The addition of an aquatic exercise program to the usual care for fibromyalgia in women is cost-effective in terms of both health care costs and societal costs," the researchers conclude, "appropriate aquatic exercise is a good health investment."
This article was adapted from a press release issued by BioMed Central.
Gusi N, Tomas-Carus P. Cost-utility of an 8-month aquatic training for women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Research & Therapy. e-pub February 22, 2008.