By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News
Jan. 26, 2005 -- People with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions may be more active than they think they are, according to a new study.
"When you ask people with fibromyalgia about their level of function in terms of activity levels, they'll report a lower function than almost any other group," says researcher Dan Clauw, MD. "The surprising thing that we found was that their average level of activity was about the same as someone who didn't have fibromyalgia."
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In the study, researchers followed 38 people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or both, and a comparison group of 27 healthy adults without those conditions. Each participant wore an actigraph, a small watch-sized device that measures movement in various directions rather than just one direction like a pedometer, to measure physical activity levels.
. . .
" . . . the study showed that pain and fatigue preceded lower exercise levels rather than followed increased physical activity. Researchers say this finding may help doctors encourage their patients to remain active without increasing painful symptoms.
"We've probably been thinking about fibromyalgia incorrectly," Clauw says. "This group was impaired, but they weren't impaired in the way they thought they would be."
Worth reading all of it (it's short) -- and interesting implications. I fear the major one is that people aren't getting nearly the exercise they should. I also wonder about the activity history of the subjects. I used to swim 20 laps a day; compared to that, I barely move now -- and that influences, no doubt, how I measure my current activity level.