What is Fibromyalgia and How Can PT Help?

treatment room EMH Physical TherapyFibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that is composed of a group of symptoms.

The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are varied and may include:

  • Musculoskeletal pain that is widespread
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders
  • Loss of memory and cognitive difficulties
  • Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Tension headaches
  • IBS
  • Joint pain and morning stiffness
  • Dysmenorrhea and urinary problems
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea

The cause of fibromyalgia is still largely unknown; however it has been linked to injuries, illnesses, repetitive injuries, infection, surgery, trauma or stressful events, and possibly genetic factors.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, there are some things you can do to help control fibromyalgia symptoms, which include:

  • Gradual and regular exercise performed in moderation
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep
  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Eat healthfully

Chronic pain found in fibromyalgia may be initiated by trigger points, and after this pain is generated, the central nervous system amplifies the pain and results in hypersensitivity. This means that pain symptoms from specific causes are increased exponentially and even some sensations that should not be painful are interpreted as painful. So in order to decrease symptoms of pain, it is important to treat the causes to allow the nervous system to unwind from tension. Trigger points, tender areas in the body, and musculoskeletal imbalances are treated by physical therapists to help manage fibromyalgia pain and improve quality of life.

For further information on fibromyalgia:

National Fibromyalgia Association: http://www.fmaware.org/

American Chronic Pain Association: https://theacpa.org/