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Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal syndrome associated with chronic pain, muscle and joint stiffness, and fatigue. It is most prominently found in women and can occur at any age. Due to the nature of this chronic pain condition, many fibromyalgia sufferers also experience poor quality of sleep, which tends to exacerbate their symptoms.
Unfortunately, this is an incurable condition with most patients having to learn how to cope with and manage the pain for the remainder of their lives. The signs of fibromyalgia can’t be seen and often this condition goes undiagnosed for a long period. This condition has often been associated with osteoarthritis, bursitis and tendinopathy.
It is often diagnosed by pain felt on palpation of points located in different areas of the body. Everybody has these tender or trigger points, which are usually somewhat tender but for people with fibromyalgia, applying minimal pressure to these tender points causes high levels of pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include aching, stiffness, tiredness, and widespread muscle pain. This in turn can lead to cases of depression, anxiety and social isolation. Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Physiotherapy and exercise can be very beneficial in treating fatigue, pain and muscle weaknesses caused by fibromyalgia. Patients are often reluctant to start an exercise program, as they may be afraid that it will make their symptoms worse.
Physiotherapy techniques such as dry needling, massage and joint mobilisation can help to improve muscle tightness and tenderness while a tailored exercise program can help to improve fatigue levels and act as a mood booster.
A chartered physiotherapist can tailor a specific exercise program depending on the individual to help them manage their fibromyalgia pain. Increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles will reduce fibromyalgia pain and help to improve the lifestyles of its sufferers. This can be done through activities such as walking, Pilates, stretching and strengthening exercises. Low impact water based and aerobic activities such as swimming and stationary bicycles are recommended for fibromyalgia patients, as they are less stressful on the joints.
Regular exercise and physiotherapy treatments can help fibromyalgia patients improve their sleep patterns, eating habits, energy levels and overall general health.
Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our physiotherapists are expertly trained in helping individuals suffering with fibromyalgia to manage their pain. If you would like to book an appointment, contact us here.