After osteoarthirits, fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal syndrome, affecting more than five million people in the U.S. Yet, fibromyalgia can be difficult and, at times, a frustrating journey to diagnosis and treat because a biological explanation alluded physicians who could not make sense of symptoms that seemed to appear from nowhere. However, further study led to confirmation that fibromyalgia is a legitimate syndrome and may have potential treatment options.
Fibromyalgia pain is different than pain you may experience from a headache or sprained ankle. Fibromyalgia is a specific kind of pain that's chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness.
“Chronic” means that the pain lasts a long time at least three months or longer. Many people experience fibromyalgia pain for years before being diagnosed.
“Widespread” means that it is felt all over, in both the upper and lower parts of the body. However, many people with fibromyalgia feel their pain in specific areas of their body, such as in their shoulder or neck.
“Tenderness” means that even a small amount of pressure can cause a lot of pain.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia vary from person to person. The symptoms can be worse on some days than others. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be affected by your level of stress or physical activity. All these factors contribute to making fibromyalgia a condition that is difficult to diagnose.
Pain symptoms of fibromyalgia
Deep muscle pain and soreness
Sensitivity to touch
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia
Difficulty thinking clearly, also known as “fibro fog” among patients
Difficulty performing everyday tasks
Stress and anxiety
The Benefits of Physical Therapy When You Have Fibromyalgia
While there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, physical therapy may help ease the symptoms of pain. It can also help reduce stiffness andfatigue. In addition toexercise, physical therapists use a wide range of resources from deep tissuemassageto ice and heat packs for hydrotherapy. With these tools, physical therapists can help people with fibromyalgia use their muscles, stretch for flexibility, and move their joints through range-of-motion exercises.
More important, your physical therapist needs to understand the signs and symptoms and the trigger factors to increase the possibility of how to better manage and help you find the right strategies which facilitate the improvement of your fibromyalgia and identify the patterns that contribute to your flare up at that time.