Women with fibromyalgia (group of common rheumatoid disorders (not involving the joints) characterized by achy pain, tenderness, and stiffness of muscles) seem to have less physical strength and endurance than healthy women, so they might benefit from an appropriate training programme, suggests a new study by Finnish researchers. Fibromyalgia, which is characterized by pain, fatigue and difficulty in sleeping, is most common to women after menopause.
Some research in pre-menopausal women has found lower-than-normal muscle strength and aerobic capacity, the researchers add, but fitness has not been investigated in postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia.
The study found that there was no difference between fibromyalgia patients and healthy women in upper body strength, but the women with fibromyalgia did have less muscle strength in their legs.
Upon exercise testing, the women in the fibromyalgia group reached exhaustion at a lower maximal heart rate, but oxygen uptake was the same in both groups. This suggests that the fibromyalgia patients were less able to stand physical loading and resist overall fatigue.
The results suggest that more attention should be paid to train muscle performance, together with overall training of physical fitness, when developing rehabilitation programmes for postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia.
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