Fibromyalgia and Different Therapies
Fibromyalgia is a common, unexplained, debilitating medical condition that causes long-term, wide-spread body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and soft tissues. Over 6 million people suffer from fibromyalgia. However, there isn’t much known about the condition within the medical community. Nonetheless, there are some complementary therapies that have been shown to improve the symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia. However, before starting any new treatment, you should consult your health care provider first.
There are many therapies that health care professionals can incorporate into your individualized treatment plan in order to help alleviate all or most of your symptoms. However, each patient is very different. So, the treatment plan should be specially customized for you. Some of these complementary, and in some cases, alternative therapies include:
- Physical therapy – This includes the incorporation of stretching, aerobic exercise, and aqua therapy.
- Movement therapy, such as, yoga and Pilates.
- Osteopathic or chiropractic manipulations.
- Myofascial release therapy.
- Applying heat or cold.
- Cognitive therapy.
- Nutritional supplements.
It is important to remember that there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Therefore, the main goal of treatment is to accomplish an overall lessening of pain and other symptoms.
Fibromyalgia and Physical Therapy
Fibromyalgia is a common, unexplained, debilitating medical condition that causes long-term, wide-spread body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and soft tissues. Over 6 million people suffer from fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, there still is not much known about the condition within the medical community. Nonetheless, there are some physical therapy treatments that have been shown to greatly improve the symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia. However, it is important to remember that, before starting any new treatment you should consult your health care provider first.
Physical Therapy Treatments
Physical therapy focuses on the treatment, healing, and prevention of injuries or disabilities. Regular physical therapy programs may help you manage the debilitating symptoms of your fibromyalgia as you focus on daily lifestyle changes rather than on the chronic problems of pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Proper posture, which your physical therapist will help you with, allows for much better muscle function. That results in your being able to avoid unnecessary fatigue and pain. In addition, the therapist may use slow stretching exercises to help you to improve your overall muscle flexibility. Relaxation exercises that the therapist will show you will help you to reduce muscle tension.
Increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles through a maintainable exercise routine are two important ways physical therapists reduce fibromyalgia pain and make life more manageable. Three different options include:
- Stretching – By increasing flexibility through stretching, tight, stiff muscles loosen up, providing fibromyalgia relief. Your physical therapist can instruct you on the proper way to stretch muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The National Pain Foundation recommends keeping the number of repetitions low — 5 to 10, for example. Holding a stretch for 30 to 60 seconds is good for large muscle groups, with possibly only one to two reps necessary.
- Aerobic Exercise – Low-speed and low-impact activities are best. Stationary bicycles and elliptical machines are usually less stressful on the joints.
- Aqua Therapy – Swimming and other water exercises are excellent for fibromyalgia patients. The buoyancy of the water can lessen stress on muscles and joints and improve flexibility. A heated pool may be especially beneficial because the heat can soothe sore muscles.
What is in the Future for Fibromyalgia Therapy?
The key to unlocking the mystery of fibromyalgia has yet to be found. Research scientists have been studying numerous viruses as potential causes for fibromyalgia. Identification of an infectious agent or toxin which causes the disease may one day lead to a laboratory test that can help doctors diagnose fibromyalgia. Specific treatment specifically designed to cure fibromyalgia awaits future research that will finally reveal the exact cause of the disease.
Recent scientific studies suggest that a specific area of the brain called the insula may be involved in the cause of fibromyalgia. New drugs may be developed that block the specific nerve growth factor to relieve pain of fibromyalgia. Many fibromyalgia patients can be helped by improved patient education, proper exercise, and medications. With ongoing research, the future prognosis will certainly improve for those who are affected by fibromyalgia.