What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that is characterized by a
pervasive sensation of pain throughout the body, accompanied by fatigue.
This condition affects nearly 5 million people in the United States. Between
80-90% of those who have fibromyalgia are women who were initially diagnosed
between the ages of 30 and 50.
Unfortunately, the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Current wisdom on
the condition suggests that it is related to changes or interference with
the nervous system’s ability to process pain. Many believe that
trauma, surgery, infection, auto-immune disease, and significant emotional
stress can trigger the condition. People who have rheumatoid arthritis,
ankylosing spondylitis, and lupus erythematosus have a high risk of developing
Due to the limited understanding about the condition, fibromyalgia does
not have a cure, but there are promising treatments that can improve a
patient’s ability to deal with the symptoms.
Fibromyalgia can be categorized aptly as a syndrome involving multiple
symptoms and conditions, rather than a single comprehensive disorder.
Common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include:
- A generalized sensation of pain throughout the body;
- Muscle stiffness;
- Tender spots throughout the body;
- Abdominal cramping;
- Temporomandibular (jaw) pain;
- Disrupted cognition;
- Numbness and tingling;
- Irritable bowel syndrome; and
- Irritable bladder syndrome.
How Doctors Diagnose Fibromyalgia
Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding fibromyalgia, there are no reliable
physiological or biological testing methods that definitively lead to
a diagnosis. Furthermore, since many medical conditions can cause any
number of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, it is vital to undergo
comprehensive medical assessments by an experienced medical professional
to eliminate the possibility that other conditions are causing your symptoms.
Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
A licensed physical therapist with specialized training in current methods
of evaluating and identifying fibromyalgia can make a diagnosis. Dealing
with fibromyalgia can be difficult. Because the symptoms can manifest
in different parts of the body in various ways, it is difficult to craft
a routine treatment plan that directly addresses the symptoms.
Fibromyalgia patients may be tempted to rely on opioid medication since
opiates actively interfere with a person’s pain receptors throughout
their nervous system. However, prolonged opioid use can actually result
in increased sensitivity to pain, as a person’s pain receptors become
more sensitive to stimulation. Given the laundry list of risks that come
with frequent and prolonged use of opioid medication, the interests of
fibromyalgia patients are better served through alternative pain management
Leading research on fibromyalgia indicates that aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening
activities help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. A physical therapist can
guide you through a treatment plan based on these exercises, using methods
of identifying and interpretation pain sensations, so you can begin a
customized treatment program that will not be disrupted by your shifting symptoms.
The following treatments have demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in
improving fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Aerobic exercises
- Muscle strengthening exercises
- Aquatic activities
- Manual therapy
Our Monmouth County Physical Therapists Are Here to Help
If you have been dealing with fibromyalgia, you are confronted with unyielding
pain on a daily basis. Every new day is another battle. At ProFysio Physical
licensed physiotherapists in Aberdeen are ready to assist you. We provide our patients with individualized
attention and care, using the most current treatment techniques in fibromyalgia
care. By providing you with the best therapeutic experience possible,
we strive to maximize your quality of life by teaching you effective pain
contact us online, or call at (732) 333-6360
to schedule a free consultation with our physical therapists in Aberdeen.