The CDC defines Fibromyalgia as widespread pain throughout the body, specifically at certain “tender points” that is typically accompanied by fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches and emotional/mental distress including depression and anxiety. Individuals with Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis tend to have higher likelihood of developing fibromyalgia. The American College of Rheumatology states that fibromyalgia may be caused by abnormalities in your brain’s processing of pain and sensory signals from the body. Pain locations are specific to the back of the neck and shoulders, collar bones, elbows, buttocks/hips and knees. Your physician will be able to make a diagnosis after discussing your medical history, performing an exam and reviewing blood work to rule out other potential diagnoses.
How can physical therapy help?
The American College of Rheumatology states the current body of research suggests physical exercise is the most effective non-medication treatment method. We will conduct a comprehensive physical exam after discussing your medical history and current activity level. Then, you will be prescribed specific exercises to target muscle, joint and fascia mobility in addition to cardiovascular exercise guidance. The saying “start low, go slow” is an excellent model to gradually introduce exercise. Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress, and lowering stress has been proven to be effective for reducing fibromyalgia pain. The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) recommends an “Active Interdisciplinary” approach, including an active role by you, the patient, and interdisciplinary meaning a team approach by your providers. Our physical therapists are networked with many healthcare providers who offer services such as counseling, pain management, dietary counseling and medical management. We want to be on your team!