Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex chronic pain condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness to touch. Approximately 10 million Americans (2-4%) have FM, with a ratio of four to one, women over men. The literal translation of the word fibromyalgia is pain in the fibrous muscles, ligaments and tendons. There is currently no cure for FM and getting an accurate diagnosis can take an average of two years.
From the perspective of an individual that has FM, it is so important for you to know that we, as Cypress physical therapists, do not doubt that your pain or diagnosis is real. FM has existed for centuries, yet diagnoses based on symptoms, cultural attitudes, and stigmatization of people with chronic pain, have often caused those with FM to become withdrawn from family and friends. Our approach to partnering with you for management and relief of pain is holistic. We understand that fibromyalgia is life altering — from poor sleep quality to the aggravating pain and fatigue that may limit family activities, and cause employment challenges.
HOW CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP?
The benefit of physical therapy is that it allows a person with FM to work closely with one of our therapists who can design an individualized program. These activities may include:
- Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Developing a low-impact aerobic plan, such as walking — even a 5-10-minute walk, at a pace that is comfortable for you, can be very helpful.
- We can make recommendations to improve posture and body mechanics to limit strain at the fibrous connections (muscles, tendons and ligaments).
- Identify areas that lend to your fatigue and implement energy saving strategies. Everyday tasks can be exhausting, so simplifying and setting realistic goals is crucial. Pacing yourself is taking care of yourself.
- Making recommendations for improved sleep health.
- Resources to implement a balanced, healthy diet.
- Incorporating breathing and relaxation techniques to improve your self-care.
We understand that you will do best with an individual program that starts slow and gradual. If you should have any questions, please call our office and request a consultation with one of our physical therapists.