Physical therapy for fibromyalgia
Why on-demand physical therapy?
Meet with the best fibromyalgia physical therapists
With proven techniques and personalized exercise routines, Luna’s experienced physical therapists can help patients suffering from fibromyalgia to restore mobility, reduce pain, and improve their quality of life.
Plus, with Luna, patients can receive treatments in the comfort of their own homes. It’s physical therapy, delivered.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common, chronic neurological disorder defined by pain and tenderness all over the body. Patients with fibromyalgia tend to experience fatigue, a heightened sense of pain, difficulty sleeping, and worsened mood. It affects between two and four percent of the population, and roughly four times as many women as men.
The causes of fibromyalgia remain unconfirmed, and it’s believed that they may vary from case to case. However, doctors and scientists have been able to identify a number of risk factors. First, fibromyalgia is known to run in families, and can be triggered by spine problems, arthritis, emotional stress, or injury.
Second, it’s been established that fibromyalgia is directly caused by a change in the way the body communicates with the spinal cord and brain; because of this, fibromyalgia patients experience pain more intensely. While the condition can negatively impact quality of life, it is not progressive. In other words, the condition does not gradually intensify or worsen over time in the way that, for example, primary progressive multiple sclerosis does. Nor is it known to directly result in heart attacks, stroke, or cancer.
Source: American College of Rheumatology
The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread muscle and joint pain, which can be either sharp and intense or dull and aching. These symptoms will vary from patient to patient, and may come and go from day to day. Some patients will consistently experience pain in certain areas of the body, while others may experience it all over or find that it moves around.
Patients with fibromyalgia also tend to suffer from chronic fatigue. They often don’t feel well-rested when they wake up, and can experience difficulty falling asleep at night. Chronic fatigue can produce memory and concentration problems, as well as anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
Patients may also experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), difficulty urinating, headaches, and numbness or tingling in the extremities.
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Pain and tenderness in the muscles and joints
- Chronic fatigue
- Worsened mood
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
What causes fibromyalgia?
Research has identified several risk factors. Abnormalities in the brain’s pain receptors are thought to contribute to the heightened pain sensations experienced by patients with fibromyalgia. Irregular levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which help the body process pain, may also play a role.
For some individuals, the condition doesn’t emerge until after they experience an emotional or physical trauma, such as a serious injury, surgery, or traumatic life event.
Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia — these include sleep disorders, depression, and rheumatic diseases. Women are also much more likely to develop the condition than men.
The most common causes of fibromyalgia include:
- Abnormal pain signaling
- An emotional or physical trauma
- A pre-existing rheumatic condition
Physical therapy for fibromyalgia
For patients with fibromyalgia, physical therapy can provide an effective means of managing muscle and joint pain. A physical therapy program can help patients control their condition, and mitigate the impact of flare-ups. A physical therapy program will likely include posture and stretching exercises, which can reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility.
Physical therapists can also introduce a number of advanced pain reduction techniques, ranging from deep tissue massage and hydrotherapy to ice and heat techniques. A PT can also recommend an exercise plan that will gently reintroduce the patient to aerobic exercise, which can reduce pain and improve functioning.
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