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Fibromyalgia

Updated: May 5, 2022


What is it?

Fibromyalgia is a condition which presents normally with widespread body pain. There is no root cause as to why these symptoms present, clinicians will often refer to this as 'no organic cause'; meaning a scan or blood tests will come back with nothing found. This makes fibromyalgia difficult to diagnose and often by the time people are diagnosed they have often been through a lot! To add to this, people tend to also exhibit fatigue, memory, sleep and mood difficulties. It is unclear if this is due to the chronic pain.


Who is affected most by it?

9 out of 10 people with fibromyalgia are female

The typical age of onset is between 20 and 65, with the average age begin 35 years old

People with a family history of fibromyalgia (people with a first degree relative with fibromyalgia are 8 times more likely to have the condition)


How can physiotherapy help?

  • Listening and understand each induvial condition and journey

  • Explanation of disorder

  • Reassurance of condition and symptoms - treating the person like a person and not a patient

  • Activity management - Pacing, self-monitoring, rest breaks, AVOID exacerbations, set realistic activity goals, etc.

  • Relaxation Techniques - Minimize environmental stress, deep breathing, healthy & active lifestyle habits, adequate sleep, therapeutic massage, etc.


Treatment techniques physiotherapists use to help assist people with fibromyalgia through their rehabilitation journey to independence:

1. Aerobic and Resistance Exercise

2. Manual / Passive Therapy - ie. soft tissue release, myofascial and lymph drainage

3. Aquatic Therapy & Balneotherapy

4. Stretch therapy

5. Yoga/Pilates

6. Uses of equipment and aids to promote independent living



Myths about fibromyalgia:

  1. It's all in someone's head

  2. People with fibromyalgia will always remain in unmanageable pain


Truths about fibromyalgia:

  1. Although there is no organic cause of symptoms, these symptoms are real and felt by the person with fibromyalgia

  2. People will not always be pain free, but they will be able to continue with their life's and have a good quality of life after the right holistic guidance from physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals

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