Fibromyalgia – How to Manage This Chronic Condition
Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome marked by widespread muscular tenderness and pain. Those with FM commonly experience disturbances in sleep, mood, and cognition, as well as having neural symptoms also.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by 18 tender points (9 pairs) throughout the body. These tender points are located in the hips, neck, chest, elbow and knee.Fibromyalgia sufferers will have at least 11 tender points and will have had symptoms for >3 months.
It is accepted that the treatment of Fibromyalgia is multimodal. Generally, this encompasses relaxation, meditation, exercise, physiotherapy, acupuncture, nutrition, medication and laser therapy.
Resistance training is a great way to build up muscle strength, power, and endurance. Studies have shown that after 16-21 weeks of beginning a resistance training programme, the tenderness and pain levels in female Fibromyalgia sufferers reduced. The training helped to improve overall well-being, physical function, and muscle strength.
After 12 weeks of beginning a flexibility programme, overall muscle and joint pliability and flexibility improved. And, doing 20-30min walks @ approx. 60-70% max heart rate has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns.
Evidence suggests that acupuncture can provide short term benefits to Fibromyalgia patients, generally up to one month within treatment. The acupuncture needles are placed on the 9 pairs of Fibromyalgia tender points. Its effects have been further enhanced when combined with other modalities, like exercise or laser therapy.
Laser has many benefits for those with Fibromyalgia. It is a painless intervention for those with Fibromyalgia. Laser stimulates cell growth, increases cell metabolism, invokes an anti-inflammatory response, promotes oedema reduction, stimulates nerve function, reduces the production of substance P, and stimulates the production of endorphins. Laser is applied to the area of pain and/or the 9 pairs of tender points for 20-30seconds per point.
Laser helps to improve sleep, improve physical function, increase mobility, reduce pain, muscle spasm and fatigue.
Nutrition is vital in managing Fibromyalgia. Various studies have connected Fibromyalgia to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and a compromised gut function as a result. There are a variety of ways to help cleanse your gut and improve your digestive function. For example: ultrainflamx, omega 3 fish oils, probiotics, turmeric, and vitamin D3 are all very effective in creating a healthy gut. It is also beneficial to either cut out dairy or wheat, depending on which is more sensitive to your gut.
Meditation has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns in individuals with altered sleep and mood swings. Try to find a quiet room, darkly lit, for 10-15mins twice daily to listen to some relaxing music. Focus on taking deep, slow breaths and try focussing on something that makes you happy. The HeadSpace App is very effective in instructing meditation too.
As you can see, Fibromyalgia must be approached using a variety of different interventions. In our clinic, we have expert medical professionals who have experience in dealing with Fibromyalgia. If you think you suffer with this condition, or know of anyone that does, book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!
Yours in Health,
The Spinal & Soft Tissue Experts