Finding relief and empowerment: A physiotherapist’s guide to managing fibromyalgia.
Recently, Kamloops Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre was honoured to host an educational series presented by a local Rheumatologist. We are always happy to learn and collaborate with our specialists in town. As Physiotherapists we see many patients with different types of arthritis. We are very fortunate to have a lot of time available in our sessions to take a holistic approach. Physical therapy can play an important role in managing symptoms and function in people with arthritis.
In today’s blog I wanted to highlight a rheumatological condition: Fibromyalgia.
Living with Fibromyalgia can be challenging and overwhelming. It impacts your daily life in every aspect. Physiotherapy management centers around empowering you to take control of your condition and improve your quality of life.
First off, what is Fibromyalgia? It’s a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties, which isn’t explained by any other condition. It can overlap with other pain conditions such as rheumatic disease or osteoarthritis. It affects millions of people worldwide, and primarily affects women. The cause remains unknown, but it is believed to involve a complex interaction of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Diagnosis is made by medical specialists based on your symptom presentation.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are difficult to treat. Non-pharmacological (no drugs) treatments are usually recommended as a first line approach. Physical and psychological therapy can be used in combination. Physical therapy focuses on improving physical function, reducing pain, and enhancing overall-well being. A step-wise approach starts with education, defining realistic goals of treatment, and exercise therapy.
Education and goal setting provide key understanding to improve self-management. This can include education about fibromyalgia, pain neuro-science, pain management techniques, energy conservation and pacing, stress reduction, and ergonomic considerations. This allows you to take charge of your fibromyalgia.
Exercise therapy is a main component of Physiotherapy. Regular exercise is important for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. A Physiotherapist will develop a tailored exercise program based on your individual needs and limitations. This may include low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, as well as flexibility and strength training. Gradual progression and pacing are essential to prevent overexertion and flare-ups.
Other treatments provided by Physiotherapists include Manual Therapy, such as joint mobilizations and soft tissue techniques. In addition, Acupuncture and Dry Needling can be beneficial. These can help relieve pain and stiffness in fibromyalgia, improve joint mobility, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation.
Overall, fibromyalgia is a complex condition that requires a multidimensional approach to management. Physiotherapy can play a pivotal role, offering specialized treatments tailored to your individual needs. In working with a Physiotherapist, we hope to help you better understand your condition, alleviate pain and stiffness, improve physical function, and regain control over your life.
Tim Schmidt works out of our Valleyview clinic location. To book an appointment with Tim, call the clinic at (250) 314-0788, or book online HERE. You can also book online with any of our therapists using this link.