Quick Look: Science: Exercise was found to reduce inflammation – by decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Conclusion: Fibromyalgia symptoms improve when inflammation is reduced.
Why is exercise beneficial in the treatment of fibromyalgia?
Science: Exercise was found to reduce inflammation – by decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Conclusion: Fibromyalgia symptoms improve when inflammation is reduced.
Mild to moderate exercise is often recommended as a treatment for fibromyalgia.
In the study summarized below, researchers followed changes in both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels over an eight month program of exercise.
Results at the mid-point were not significant, but by the conclusion of eight months there was a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and an increase in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.
Health related quality of life improved for these patients.
The factor most critical to fibromyalgia symptom reduction appeared to be a reduction in inflammation – as evidenced by a reduction in the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Aquatic exercise improves the balance between pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines in fibromyalgia patients.
Summary of the Abstract
An understanding of fibromyalgia as an inflammatory condition is among the current hypotheses on the origin of fibromyalgia.
This study evaluated the effect of an aquatic exercise program over the course of eight months, with two 60 minute sessions per week. The production of inflammatory cytokines in fibromyalgia patients was investigated, as was serum concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP.)
First, it was determined that monocytes from fibromyalgia patients generated more of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1, TNF and IL-6. Those with fibromyalgia also had higher levels of CRP in circulation.
After completing half of the exercise program (at 4 months) fibromyalgia patients were found to have higher IL-6 levels and lower TNF.
At the end of the program, lower overall production of pro-inflammatory cytokines was observed. IL-1 and IL-6 production was similar to that of healthy controls, TNF production was lower than that of controls and IL-10 (an anti-inflammatory cytokine) was produced at levels greater than found in healthy controls.
The aquatic exercise program also resulted in better health and an improved quality of life for fibromyalgia patients.