Over the last 200 years, medical science has really come into its own. New diseases, conditions, and disorders are being discovered every day, and our ability to combating and cure these, as well as already established ones have never been greater. However, as far as we have come from a medical point of view, there are still many mysteries to be solved.
Take fibromyalgia for example. While doctors, scientists and researchers are still baffled by the direct cause of this condition, the reality remains, that its impact is very real.
People who suffer from fibromyalgia typically have a pain or tenderness throughout their body. This can result in trouble sleeping, morning stiffness, headaches, overly painful menstrual cycles, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, as well as cognitive problems with thinking and memory; aptly refer to as “fibro fog.”
For people who suffer from this condition, life can difficult. For many, this involves the taking of multiple anti-inflammatories and pain killers just to experience enough relief to get through the day. However, a new study suggests that medication might not be the only source of relief.
“Physical exercise is an essential component of any treatment for fibromyalgia, and plenty of studies have demonstrated that low-impact aerobic exercise offers the most benefits. However, not everyone likes or is able to do the same kind of physical activity, so our group decided to test alternatives,” said Jamil Natour, a professor of rheumatology at the Federal University of São Paulo.
Among those alternatives, was swimming.
“Swimming hadn’t been evaluated with proper scientific rigor. The results of this clinical trial showed swimming was as beneficial as walking, whose positive effects have clearly been demonstrated. Swimming can be a preferable option for a person who suffers from both fibromyalgia and knee arthrosis, for example,” Natour went on to say.
So how did they show this? Well, the study involved 75 sedentary women aged between 18 and 60 years who had fibromyalgia. They were divided randomly into two groups: 39 practiced freestyle swimming and 36 undertook moderate open-air walking. The results?
Participants in the study reported that their pain intensity fell from 6.2 to 3.6 on average in the walking group and from 6.4 to 3.1 in the swimming group. According to Natour, a decrease of at least 2 on the pain scale is considered clinically significant.
This is very significant given the climate of our medical community and its heavy reliance on narcotic pain relievers. With a growing a addiction rate and a general public outcry for alternatives, this study is proving a great indicator of a shift in our medical community.