Fibromyalgia and Physical Therapy

Fibromyalgia and Physical Therapy

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problem and fatigue. It is often difficult to diagnose and affects almost 5 million people in the United States which is about 2% in adult population. The cause is unknown, but the relations was shown to changes in how the nervous system processes pain which might be triggered by trauma, infection, arthritis, or major emotional stress. People with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or ankylosing spondylitis are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia are usually complex involving many different signs and symptoms such as spots on your body that are tender to a firm touch; these “tender points” may move around or come and go, fatigue and others. To be diagnosed, other conditions other than fibromyalgia should be ruled out, such as rheumatologic or infectious disease, Lyme disease, hypothyroidism, metabolic disease, or side effects due to medication.

Living with fibromyalgia can be challenging and there is no definite cute of this condition at this time, however, physical therapy can help!  Physical therapist can help you: understand and manage your pain, reduce your fatigue, improve your range of motion and improve your function and quality of life.

Physical therapist will design an exercise program that’s right for you to reduce fatigue level, improve endurance, improve strength and flexibility for improved quality of life. Physical therapist may use manual therapy techniques to apply pressure on specific areas of the muscle, followed by stretching or contracting your muscles, to relieve pain.

Also, massage therapy can be used to promote muscle relaxation and to increase blood flow to decrease muscle pain and stiffness and break up scar tissue.

If you have fibromyalgia and not sure how to manage pain and to start exercise program, we are here to help. The multidisciplinary team at Oahu Spine and Rehab can offer wonderful care and is ready to help you.

Brosseau L, Wells GA, Tugwell P, et al. Ottawa Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for aerobic fitness exercises in the management of fibromyalgia: Part 1. Phys Ther. 2008;88:857-871. Article Summary in PubMed.

Goldenberg DL, Burckhardt C, Crofford L. Management of fibromyalgia syndrome. JAMA. 2004;292:2388–2395. Article Summary on PubMed.

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