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HEALTH & EXERCISE


Exercise Programming for Fibromyalgia


By Jennifer Salter, MSW


condition although its etiology is unknown. Statistics Canada reports that 343,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with FM, although the organization Fibromyalgia- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Canada believes that this number is grossly underestimated— they believe that upwards of 700,000 to 1.2


F 48 canfitpro NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013


ibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic health condition characterized by widespread body pain that is often felt from head to toe. The pain, felt in muscles and tendons, is considered a rhematological


million Canadians are living with FM, or 3.5 to five percent of the Canadian population.


Diagnostic Criteria for


Fibromyalgia As stated above, FM is characterized by


widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. Tender points refers to tenderness that occurs in precise, localized areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. Sleep distur- bances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, cognitive problems (“brain fog” and memory impairment), headaches, sleep disorders, muscle spasms,


reduced coordination, multiple chemical sensitivity, and decreased physical endur- ance are often co-occurring.


Exercise and Fibromyalgia It is difficult to study the effect of


exercise on fibromyalgia, as many study participants drop out during the course of the research. Exercise protocols modelled after the general guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), often utilized in research, are too challenging for these participants. This exacerbates pain and fatigue.


That being said, there is good evidence


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