Here, Dr. Perkash addresses a question submitted by a member of the TRX Community who's fiancée has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally and socially.
My fiancée was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a few years ago. I have been experimenting with different techniques to use with the TRX Suspension Trainer to help her because with this condition, her muscles are much weaker and have a tendency to tear easily. Any suggestions on how to help? In particular, it would be beneficial for her to strengthen her core muscles, since that's where she is weakest.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves pain throughout the body, especially in the joints, muscles, tendons and spine. The pain can affect some parts of the body, such as the neck or back, more than others at any given time. Patients report stiffness throughout their body and joints. People with Fibromyalgia tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness, which generally improves during the day with activity and gets worse at night, although some patients have pain constantly throughout the day.
There is no definitive "cure" for Fibromyalgia. Treatment involves managing the symptoms of pain and other symptoms in order to live a more functional life. These treatments can involve physical therapy, cardiovascular and fitness training exercises, stress relief, improving the sleep cycle and possibly medication. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, avoiding caffeine and regular acupuncture treatments are also strategies that may help some patients with symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
The TRX Suspension Trainer is an excellent tool for general body fitness, and indeed, for helping to manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Exercises using the TRX can help with cardiovascular, strength and core fitness goals in patients with Fibromyalgia. In general, patients with Fibromyalgia who exercise regularly feel fewer pain symptoms and are more functional than those who do not exercise regularly. It is well known that exercise involves the release of endorphins, which can help decrease generalized pain of any kind in any given person.
She should start with basic TRX exercises and move through progressions as her body allows. Here are some basic core stabilizing exercises that she can try initially on the TRX Suspension Trainer:
My advice for any Fibromyalgia patient would be to begin slowly in order to see how her body responds to exercise. The target should be a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day three to five days per week and at least two to three days of strength/core training per week. As her body strength and endurance tolerates, she can gradually build up to these goals and even exceed them. She should seek the guidance of her physician to help her manage the dynamic and often changing symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
Have a question for the TRX Doctor? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on how TRX Suspension Training bodyweight exercise is a safe, scalable and effective solution for you or your patients, visit our Sports Medicine page and download our White Paper. Be sure to check the Blog every Thursday for another TRX Sports Medicine post.
NOTE: Any medical information in this blog is of a general nature and not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. If you need medical advice, see a doctor.