Fibromyalgia is a common condition associated with pain and fatigue in joints and muscles. People with fibromyalgia feel widespread pain. Researchers believe this is because the condition influences the way our nervous system processes pain.
Various events may trigger fibromyalgia. It may start to develop following a surgery, trauma, or a major psychological stress. The symptoms may not show up at once and only accumulate over time. Since there are no distinct symptoms, the condition can be hard to diagnose.
There is no known cure for fibromyalgia although treatments targeted to ease its symptoms may help patients manage and live their everyday lives normally.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia may include the following:
- Pain over the entire body
- Impaired focus or concentration
- Trouble sleeping
- Migraine or headaches
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Feeling nervous or depressed
- Numbness in face, arms, and legs
Fibromyalgia Causes and Risk Factors
The causes of fibromyalgia are unclear that’s why it’s often misunderstood. A person’s chances of developing the condition may be influenced by various factors.
- Fibromyalgia may run in the family.
- The condition tends to be more common in women.
- Anxiety or depression. This can trigger the onset of fibromyalgia.
- Painful diseases such as arthritis. These types of health conditions may aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical abuse. People that have experienced physical or emotional abuse may be more likely to acquire fibromyalgia.
- Physical trauma. Accidents or severe injuries may also trigger the condition.
- Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise may also increase a person’s risk of developing the condition.
Fibromyalgia and Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists can teach you how to reduce pain and stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is complex, but your treatment can be broken down into parts, so you can improve your strength and mobility. Your physiotherapist can also help you manage your day-to-day activities so you can prevent the onset of pain.
Physiotherapy programs are designed to help you focus on changes you can make so you can manage pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Part of your treatment is education. Understanding symptoms of fibromyalgia and how it impacts your life can help you reduce anxiety.
Relaxation and mobility exercises are also incorporated into your treatment programs. These exercises seek to show you proper posture, reduce muscle tension, and improve flexibility. Along with appropriate exercises, you can also improve your eating and sleeping habits. This translates to better physical and mental health.
Physiotherapy Tools and Treatments for Fibromyalgia
- Deep tissue massage. The application of intense pressure to reach deep tissues and ease muscle tensions.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to help promote blood flow to affected tissues and in turn relieve pain.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS. The TENS machine blocks pain signals and encourages the release of endorphins, hence helping ease muscle pain and stiffness.
- Controlled resistance exercise. These exercises help you improve muscle strength and flexibility without putting additional pressure on affected joints.
- Heat therapy. This procedure is simple and can also be done at home. Dry or damp hot towels are used to soothe painful muscles and joints.
- Another way to relieve sore muscles is by soaking in a tub of warm water. Doing this before bedtime can also help improve quality of your sleep.
Benefits of Physiotherapy for Fibromyalgia
Licensed physiotherapists are experts in the study of movement. They’re also highly-knowledgeable in issues that include acute and chronic pain, stiffness, sports injuries, and stress factors.
During your physiotherapy sessions, you’ll be working with a physiotherapist to develop a treatment program tailored to your case. Your physiotherapist will be there every step of the way to monitor your progress. They’ll also check if you’re able to perform treatments and exercises from home.
One-on-one sessions with your physiotherapist help you feel more comfortable throughout the treatment program. You’re also given undivided attention during your every visit to the physiotherapy clinic.