Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome characterised by widespread pain, chronic fatigue, decreased pain threshold, sleep disturbance and characteristic tender points. Further symptoms include joint stiffness, numbness and tingling, depression and alternate cognitive state. Fibromyalgia is commonly associated with other syndromes including headaches and irritable bowel syndrome
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, however it is believed that the condition is related to abnormal levels of specific chemicals in the brain, as well as changes in the way the central nervous system transmits signals around the body. It is also clear that fibromyalgia is linked strongly to psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. Research has shown that people are more likely to develop fibromyalgia through inheriting it from a family member. Research has also shown that the condition appears to be triggered by a physical or emotional event, this may include an infection, having an operation, giving birth, the breakdown of a relationship or the death of a relative or friend. It may be that an individual develops the condition after experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression.
How can Physiotherapy help people Fibromayalgia?
As fibromyalgia causes debilitating pain it affects the individual’s mobility and function on a day to day basis. Following a thorough physiotherapy assessment the physiotherapist will determine the severity of the condition and develop a treatment program accordingly. Exercise has proven to be extremely effective in managing fibromyalgia in order for the patient to maintain function and mobility. The level of exercise prescribed will depend on the severity of the individual’s fibromyalgia which can be discussed with the physiotherapist at your assessment. Individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia will vary in how they respond to physiotherapy and the physiotherapists at Total Physiotherapy are well trained in determining the level of therapy needed. Treament may involve using exercise to improve muscle strength and functional ability, as well as discussing different coping mechanisms to managing their daily life. Research has shown that acupuncture can be used to manage pain levels which will allow the patient to be more active and as a result more mobile. The physiotherapist may also advise with heat treatment, as well as advising the patient to see a health professional who is trained in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). At Total Physiotherapy we have good links with the local GP’s and can therefore communicate with the patients doctor with regards to the most appropriate treatment methods, this may include medication to treat pain and depression.
If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.