Easing Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition represented by widespread pain over the entire body. Other symptoms suffers may experience include tension headaches, fatigue, stiffness and sleep disorders. Researchers report that nearly 7 million people, the majority of them being women, suffer from FM in the United States. Levels from discomfort may vary from person to person, but it can become so severe that people spend entire days in bed due to pain. The cause of FM is unknown and for a long period of time, many doctors didn’t even know how to diagnose this condition and thought it was more of a “mental thing” than a physical issue. Later, a test was designed to specifically report signs of FM through the tenderness of trigger or tender points found in the body. There are 18 points and to be diagnoses with FM you must show extreme sensitivity or pain in 11 of those areas. Some doctors believe that FM is a result of an illness, infection or injury, while others believe it could appear with no reason or warning to otherwise perfect healthy people. Thought the majority of sufferers are women, this condition does not discriminate and all ages, races, and genders are susceptible. Knowing how to ease the pain of FM is very important. One alternative therapy option for reducing pain levels in the use of massage therapy.
Massage Away Pain
Massage therapy, when performed properly, has shown much success in treating FM. Patients report that this type of bodywork is at the top of their list from providing short-term relief and long-term improvement. In one study in the European Journal of Pain documented the impact on connective tissue massage. Twenty-three FM patients were treated and compared to 23 non-fibromyalgia sufferers. Each participant received a series of 15 different connective tissue massage sessions. At the end of the 10-week study participants report a 37 percent drop in pain levels, reduced feelings of depression, lower dependency on pain medication, and overall improved quality of life. The key with massage therapy is consistency. Without regular treatments, pain levels will slowly begin to return to their original place. Be sure to inform the therapist of your condition, as there are specific techniques than can be performed to meet your specific need. Aggressive massage therapy could actually hinder improvement or even aggravate the body and cause an increase in pain. Massage therapy will not only help to alleviate muscle pain and stiffness, but can improve circulation, range of motion, and feelings of stress and tension within the body.
Making a Difference
In additional to starting a consistent massage therapy program, it is important to take other measures to support this positive change and slow impending pain. Along with your massage therapy, a consistent and appropriate workout routine is essential for FM sufferers. Low-impact exercise will help to keep muscles fluid, toned, active, and reduce soreness. Because of pain and overall discomfort, warm water provides and excellent medium for performing your workout. Simply swimming in the pool or participating in a water aerobics class at a local gym, this means of physical activity is productive, active, low-impact, and the water provides a calming factor, as well. One study reported that FM patients that performed water activities at least twice a week for 30 minutes showed improvement in their sleep and reduced signs of depression. Additionally, these workouts helped to improve stability, coordination, muscle tone and strength. Other low-impact workout options for FM patients are yoga and tai chi. Yoga consists of a series of stretches and poses accompanied by deep, relaxing breathes. The idea with yoga is to stabilize and strengthen your core muscles and expel the stress and negativity from your body. Tai Chi is a series of slow-moving, connecting poses that works to stretch muscles and clear mental clutter.
Fibromyalgia pain is very difficult to deal with on a daily basis, so it is important to equip yourself with strategies for ease pain and improving quality of life. While there is no known cure for this condition, there are a variety of treatment options and finding the best pain for your needs is essential for managing this often frustrating disease.