Today’s health news concerns itself with a baffling condition that seems to be on the rise: fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a little mysterious in that doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes it or triggers it to progress into a full-blown health problem. What they do know is that fibromyalgia causes pain and fatigue—so much so, that those with the condition often become sedentary.
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This can be a huge problem when it comes to recovery. The body was designed for movement. When we don’t exercise, all sorts of health problems can start to creep in, and for those already suffering from fibromyalgia, this can be enough to keep someone bed-ridden. So, how can we get around this troubling dilemma?
Researchers at Indiana University think they’ve found a solution: motivational interviewing. The researchers had already determined that regular exercise is associated with significant benefits in people with fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, not many people stick with an exercise program long-term. It’s very rare, the researchers say, for someone to continue to exercise on their own after attending a structured program.
This led the research team to try a technique called motivational interviewing. A total of 216 patients with fibromyalgia were randomized to six motivational interviewing sessions or an equal number of fibromyalgia self-management lessons. The researchers set two goals: to motivate the participants to exercise in 30-minute intervals; and to trigger an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms.
The researchers measured the participants’ physical impairment scores, assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and three-month and six-month follow-ups. They found more motivational interview participants than controls exhibited meaningful improvements in symptoms at six-month follow-up (62.9% vs. 49.5%). Compared with control participants, motivational interview participants also displayed a larger increment in their six-minute walk test. In addition, motivational interviewing was better for increasing the number of hours of physical activity immediately after the intervention and in reducing pain severity, both immediately and at three-month follow-up.
The best advice for those with fibromyalgia might be to get on an exercise program, and get some support around sticking with it.