Simple Therapy Relieves Shortness of Breath

by Kristin Thorson, Fibromyalgia Network Editor
Posted: January 31, 2011

Feeling short-winded and hungry for air? This symptom may frequently occur in people with fibromyalgia, but a study shows that two different water therapies can reduce the strain in your chest in just three weeks.* As an added bonus, these nondrug treatment approaches were also shown to significantly relieve fibro pain.

A research team in Turkey divided 56 fibromyalgia patients into three different treatment groups that all received standard physical therapy (i.e., TENS, ultrasound and infrared laser). In addition, two of the groups also received a form of water therapy. One consisted of hydrotherapy, similar to a whirlpool with jets, with lukewarm tap water. The other involved warm water containing minerals, but lacking the jets used in the hydrotherapy group.

All patients in the study were treated daily for three weeks, with the exception of Sundays. Pain scores and lung function tests were measured before the start of the study, after three weeks of treatment, and then at a follow-up period six months later.

Physical therapy by itself, and when combined with the two different types of water therapy, all led to improvements in pain scores at the end of three weeks. However, lung function tests and the perceived ease of breathing were only improved in the two water therapy groups.

The greatest treatment benefits were achieved in the warm mineral water group in which fibromyalgia patients continued to show improved lung function up to six months after the therapy ended. Only short-term (not long-term) benefits were observed in the hydrotherapy group when it came to enhancing lung function and reducing the strain of breathing.

If you are always struggling to catch your breath, especially during the winter cold and flu season, take comfort in knowing that you do not need a fancy whirlpool to ease your breathing difficulties. Soak in warm water for 20 minutes each day, perhaps using Epsom salt if you wish to simulate the mineral water used in this study. Within three weeks you should reap the benefits of easier breathing and significantly reduced fibro pain.

* Kesiktas N, et al. J Back Musculoskel Rehabil 24:57-65, 2011.

3 Responses to Simple Therapy Relieves Shortness of Breath

  1. Marilyn Yeager says:

    How about improving my ability to walk w/wo a walker? Very painfull with frequent loss of control for seconds before a foot will move with a fear of falling.

    I will try the daily magnisium foot soak! How about taking daily liquid magnisium supplement in a breakfast cerieal? My condition followed a stroke two years ago. My daily calcium supplement is always with a counter balancing synergistic Cal/Mag tablet @ a 2/1 ratio from GNC. This optimal combination was proven thru studies published by Adele Davis in the 50/60′s. One frequent Restless leg nighttme problem is still my favored quick fix with a Calmag tablet. Frankly, I think that Magnisium is just now being looked at in its own right again as the necessary agent to help assimilate calcium. Have we not gotton clues from Surgeon reports that they find unassimilated calcium smeared around critical muscles & joints that require the surgeon to litterly scrape it away if possible & not too late as with the heart. Might this be the same “Achllies Heal” for our Fibro Muscles? Now we find others amoung us saying Calcium is useless for its intended purpose.

    Now we are told that we should be taking its cousin “Strontium”. Actually we need to put two & two together as Adel Davies did & recognise Magnisem for more than just a mear “mineral bath” but a major element in our health..

    • Salvatore says:

      I love that. Like you, I always feel guilty for not doing enough or for not finishing something. I could dust and sweep the living room and clean the kitchen and do laundry all day but by the end of the evening I don’t have the energy to get that last load out of the dryer…never mind that it’s the sixth load that day. I still feel guilty for not finishing that task. Focusing on what I have done will help me sleep better. As always, Thank you for the enlightment!Tammy

  2. Pearl Rose says:

    Thankyou for the article on breathing and fibro. I very much appreciate information and guidance related to studies. I almost had a full blown panic attack last night, because I woke up unable to breathe and then when I oriented myself, I could only breath shallowly. Frightening stuff in the middle of the night. Wonder if the massive thunderstorm triggered it?

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