Home > Blog > Physiotherapy > Chronic Pain Physio > Fibromyalgia Physiotherapy
Fibromyalgia refers to a very painful condition where patients suffer from pain within the muscles and connective tissues.
Patients often report that their pain is generalized (global), long term (chronic) and have an increased pain experience to normal sensations especially pressure. Eg a regular touch on a patient with fibromyalgia may lead to a over-bearing and overwhelming pain experience.
Symptoms may not only be pain per se, but also comes often with severe:
- tiredness/fatigability (sometimes misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome)
- inability/difficulty sleeping
- joint/muscle tightness
- very wary of surroundings and fear of being touched/touching things
Some patients report unusual experiences such as
- difficulty drinking
- difficulty swallowing foods
- difficulity with bladder movements
- difficulty with bowel movements
- general sense of numbness/tingling all over
Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is often associated with psychiatric conditions such as
- clinical depression
- clinical post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD)
Every patient experiences fibromyalgia differently (in their own ways), and not all experience the same symptoms nor the same severity or mix. About 3% of global population has this condition, with 90% being female and 10% being male.
Fibromyalgia is often medically classified as a combination of both musculoskeletal and neuropsychiatric (because it's so associated and linked), and patients often respond to a combination of:
- pharmaceutical medicines
- psychology interventions including cognitive behavior therapy
- social interventions including patient, family and caregivers in the process
- physiotherapy and hand therapy for exercise therapy and pain management
Signs and Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, patients with fibromyalgia:
- may experience different types/mix of pains (location, body part etc)
- may experience different severity of the pain mix
- may experience different frequency of the pain mix
- may experience different time of pain
The common defining symptom is that the pain is long term, generalized,
tiredness/fatigability and increased sensitivity to pain with normal touch/pressure.
symptoms that patients also reported includes
- numbness and tingling
- muscle contractions
- muscle spasms
- generalized weakness
- muscle twitchings and flickerings
- bladder and bowel control difficulties
- sleep difficulties (getting and staying and getting back to sleep)
fibromyalgia patients report experiencing a form of brain dysfunction, usually termed as 'brain fog', where they feel or experience
- poor concentration
- short term- and long termed- memory loss
- decreased reaction time
- difficulty in multi-tasking
Almost all fibromyalgia patients report feeling anxious, worried and depressed. (Patient may consider craniosacral therapy and BodyTalk to complement physiotherapy sessions with us)
Other related symptoms include myofascial pain, also known as trigger points, which can cause localized or referred pain to nearby structures, and unfortunately these referred pain may trigger a nervous system response.
Causes of fibromyalgia
- Genetic predisposition ie your family has ever have/had a history of fibromyalgia, your disposition to have it will increase
- High stress may be a "tipping point" that starts the triggering of active fibromyalgia
- Intense cold may also be a tipping point
- Abnormal serotonin metabolism
- Deficient growth hormone (GH) secretion
- Psychological factors eg stress, depression, loss
- Physical trauma such as accidents, falls, injuries, operations etc
Treatments are segmented into three broad categories: pharmaceutics, investigational medicine and physiotherapy.
- currently, Lyrica, Cymbalta and Milnacipran are the three main medications that
are FDA approved. Other medications that are often prescribed also
include antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, dopamine agonists,
muscle relaxants and opioids
- Investigational medications - cannabinoids and the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist tropisetron
- Physiotherapy - regular exercise physiotherapy with our senior physiotherapists will bring a combination of benefits, and the most direct ones are improved strength, stamina and cardiovascular ability will increase your ability to participate in work, life and responsibilities.
It will also improve your pain experience (lower) and improve your sleeping patterns. Patients often report improved energy levels and decreased agitation/hyperirritability. We may prescribe regular clinical Pilates as well, to improve your core strength.
We also recommend regular deep tissue massage therapy (will start gentle) to decrease tight muscle knots as well as desensitive your hypersensitivity to touch (important), as well as craniosacral therapy (CST) and BodyTalk.
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Phoenix Rehab physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist
physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly
trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of
expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to
- accelerate recovery and
- shorten downtime / recovery period required
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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