I am currently training a client with fibromyalgia. Can you give me information on this condition and any training tips that may help her?
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a disorder characterized by chronic achy muscular pain that has no obvious physical cause. FMS mainly affects females. It most commonly affects, but is not limited to the lower back, the neck, shoulders, the back of the head, the upper chest, and/or the thighs. The pain is usually described as burning, throbbing, shooting, or stabbing and is greater in the morning hours.
Some symptoms of FMS may include:
- Numbness or tingling
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
- Chronic fatigue
- Painful periods
- Memory impairment
- Irritable bladder
- Skin sensitivities
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Frequent eye prescription changes
- Impaired coordination
Activities such as lifting and climbing stairs may become difficult and painful. The most distinct symptom of FMS is the existence of trigger points (tender points). These trigger points exist around the occiput, lower cervical, trapezius, supraspinatus, second rib, lateral elbow epicondyle, gluteal, greater trochanter and knee muscles.
There are no known contraindications associated with FMS. However, it is recommended that individuals consult their physician prior to exercising. Keep in mind that symptoms and abilities vary widely within each individual. Mild to moderate cardiovascular fitness programs are recommended. Individually modify exercise mode, intensity, duration, frequency and progression according to your client’s abilities. Stretching to the point of tension not pain is a good tool to help relax tight muscles. Always monitor workload and monitor soreness!
During all physical activity, use good posture and body mechanics, avoid maintaining one position too long, incorporate interval training, use light weights and minimize the eccentric component.
Also, avoid changes in temperature because coldness can cause fatigue in FMS clients.
Recommend your client visit a nutritionist or a registered dietician for nutritional advice. Malabsorption problems are common for individuals with FMS. Thus, they may require a higher dosage of vitamins and minerals. In addition, chemical and/or food sensitivities may be possible involvements in FMS. Advise your client to eat four to five small meals per day to maintain sufficient energy supplies, along with drinking plenty of water to help flush out toxins. Also, suggest that your client stay away from caffeine, alcohol and sugar because it may interfere with sleep and increase fatigue and pain occurrences.