Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that manifests itself among other things in widespread pain and tenderness, fatigue, weakness in the limbs, poor sleep and low grade fever. A person is believed to have fibromyalgia if he/she has tenderness at certain trigger point sites along with the above symptoms. Of unknown origin, it affects more women than men and has no known cure. Physiotherapists are trained to treat painful conditions, therefore physiotherapy is one of the main components of any fibromyalgia treatment program.
Because fibromyalgia encompasses such a broad spectrum of problems, physiotherapy treatment needs to be tailored to each individual need. For example, in addition to the symptoms listed above, a person may complain of headaches, memory loss, inability to focus and even temporomandibular disorder – TMJ (pain in the head, face and jaw).
Massage Therapy, Hot and cold compression, Yoga stretches, as well as aerobic exercise, form part of the therapy program. The yoga stretches not only relieve stiffness (one cause of joint pain) but provide relaxation which helps relieve stress and promote better sleep. Aerobic activities that raise the heart rate help to improve circulation, reduce pain and increase energy – a key factor in eliminating fatigue. Biofeedback and guided imagery are techniques used during physiotherapy treatment for fibromyalgia to help patients monitor their pain and tune it out by focusing on pleasant things.