Exercise Therapy for Fibromyalgia

December 26, 2016 in STSMPT

Fibromyalgia is a very common, chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in multiple specific points. Exercise therapy has long been established as a potent treatment for fibromyalgia – comparable to pharmacological interventions.1 Exercise is known to help reset central sensitivity syndromes such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and with the guidance of an experienced physical therapist, exercise therapy can prove particularly beneficial. Studies using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) have even demonstrated how exercise therapy normalizes the connectivity between areas of the brain involved with pain processing, pain regulation, and the subjective rating of pain – especially in people with fibromyalgia. Research with thousands of patients with fibromyalgia has shown how exercise therapy can reduce pain, increase a person’s sense of well-being, improve physical function, reduce depression, and reduce tender points.2 Exercise therapy for fibromyalgia commonly involves graded exercises that start at a baseline, achievable level. Then, with the assistance of a knowledgeable physical therapist, the exertion levels are safely increased gradually to levy a greater effect on the fibromyalgia.


If you know someone who struggles with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and could benefit from a supervised exercise plan, please tell them about to give us a call today.



  1. Clauw D. Fibromyalgia: a clinical review. JAMA. 2014; 311 (15): 1547-1555.
  2. Gustafson J, Hostetter J. Does physical therapy improve symptoms in fibromyalgia? Evidence-Based Practice. 2015 October; 18 (10): 10-11.
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