Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that affects more and more individuals each day and, while there is no cure, those who suffer from it can reduce and relieve some symptoms with the proper treatment. Kitsap County physical therapist and Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS) Nick Clay, notes that physical therapy is one of the most effective and safe ways for individuals to alleviate pain caused by fibromyalgia.
Clay adds that one of the great difficulties of treating fibromyalgia is that the condition can lead to a wide array of physical symptoms such as tender points around the neck and shoulders, stiff muscles, and fatigue. “For many individuals it can be challenging to increase their activity levels. There is often fear of provoking pain and there can sometimes be a misunderstanding of what these episodes of increased pain actually mean. By working with a skilled professional they can help to screen for structural concerns (weakness, stiffness, prior injuries etc…) and work with the patient to develop a plan with manageable intensity and progressions” says Clay.
Clay further notes that in addition to a focus on active treatment a licensed physical therapist can employ passive treatments as needed to help you manage symptoms of fibromyalgia by:
Helping you stay active – Studies have shown that individuals who are overweight or obese have high rates of fibromyalgia. Regular low-impact exercise such as swimming or walking can aid in achieving or maintaining healthy weight, help reduce stiffness and prevent other triggers that may worsen your pain.
Improving your range of motion – Your physical therapist will help you improve your strength and flexibility to make it easier for you to move and reduce stress on your joints. Improved strength and mobility can help people engage in the activities which improve their quality of life.
Decreasing muscle tension and muscle spasms – A physical therapist may use hot and cold treatments, deep tissue massage, hydrotherapy, and other treatments to help you relax your muscles and prevent painful muscle spasms.
Improve knowledge of condition – Your PT can help educate you as to how your nervous system can influence your pain. The improved understanding, combined with the other stated aspects of care, has been shown to help reduce fear, increase activity tolerance and in many case improve overall pain level.
The right treatment plan can help you sustainably and effectively treat your pain. If you are interested in working with a physical therapist to help you manage pain caused by fibromyalgia, we invite you to contact our clinic.