What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome characterised by “tender points” which are excessively sensitive to pressure with the absence of inflammation.
Pain is mostly widespread throughout the body however in some cases it may be localised.
Fibromyalgia affects approximately 2% of the population with more women than men affected and are most commonly aged 30-50 years.
What’s the cause?
The cause of Fibromyalgia is still unknown. Suggestions of “central sensitisation” have been made supplying the possible explanation of an increased sensitivity of the nervous system causing the pain response to be heightened.
How do you diagnosis it?
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by General Practitioners and Specialists and must exclude other possible diseases as a cause of symptoms and must have a history of widespread pain lasting more than three months and at least 11/18 designated tender points around the body.
What are the symptoms?
-Musculoskeletal (muscle, joint and connective tissue) pain (often described as burning/ gnawing pain): common sites of pain include the neck, shoulder region, arms, knees, thighs and legs.
-Excessive sensitivity to cold
-Muscle weakness and spasms
What are the beneficial Fibromyalgia treatments?
Exercise is not only considered useful to manage pain but also to avoid deconditioning. It is crucial to engage in physical activity when affected by fibromyalgia to reduce the risk of further impairments in muscle function. The management of pain associated with the condition whilst participating in an exercise program is considered through Graded Exercise Therapy approaches to ensure that exercise does not make you feel worse but allows the adequate movement required to enhance your health and well being.
-Various medications may be prescribed to manage the pain and other symptoms experienced by Fibromyalgia patients including tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, amitriptyline, cyclonbenzaprine and muscle relaxants. However you must speak with your doctor or specialist regarding the use of any medications as some may not be the right treatment course for you.
-Behavioural therapies including CBT provided by trained Psychologists to help deal with the stress that comes with having a chronic condition
Unfortunately there are no “quick fixes” for Fibromyalgia however research shows that a combination of the treatments outlined above have been shown to provide significant improvements in pain management and physical function.
Where do I start?
It is important to have a good team around you that can help support and move you forward. This starts with your GP as they are at the core of treatment and have most likely known you for quite a period of time. They can also discuss the treatment options with you that have been outlined above and then make referrals to the appropriate health professionals. Here at Active Health we pride ourselves on the treatment of Fibromyalgia and a range of other conditions that are seen as ‘too hard’ or don’t fall into a traditional box or treatment regime. Our tailored and individual programs are designed for you to initially manage your condition and then progress onwards towards your goals. We teach you guidelines and not rules that you can follow for the rest of your life whichever way it takes you, we don’t want to see you forever (nothing personal), and we want you to be able to move on with your life using the tools we teach you. If you would like to speak to us or find out more just drop us a line.
Experiences of completing the program at Active Health
For almost ten years I suffered the debilitating symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Constantly misdiagnosed I was subjected to repeated medical tests that never yielded any treatment plans that worked. Ultimately the condition became so severe that I was forced to give up a career I loved and was unable to continue working. Some doctors even told me that it was unlikely I would ever be able to return to work, and that I should ‘get used to it’. Finally I was referred to Nathan and Florence at Active Health. Their program for sufferers of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia has given me my life back. I am now exercising up to 5 times a week and have returned to part-time work. The support I received and the knowledge and skills I have gained from their well-researched program has enabled me to again move forward with my life, managing my condition to minimise its impact.