Patients living with chronic pain conditions often turn to massage therapy as an effective treatment to ease their day to day life. Facing discomfort on a daily basis can detract from a patient’s quality of life, restricting physical mobility, lowering energy levels, and causing stress. A registered massage therapist can create a world of difference in the life of a patient suffering from fibromyalgia. This condition, characterized by chronic pain, is the cause of widespread and persistent body aches which are believed to be the result of a combination of psychological, genetic and neurobiological factors.
Fibromyalgia, also sometimes referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a musculoskeletal condition causing chronic muscle and joint pain. Women are ten times more likely to have this condition than men, although it is not completely understood why. The cause of fibromyalgia is believed to be genetic, combined with individual factors like stress, sleep disorders and trauma. Fibromyalgia patients most commonly suffer symptoms such as persistent fatigue, widespread pain and like many sufferers of chronic disease, depression. It can be difficult to diagnose fibromyalgia because the symptoms overlap with many other conditions, but a common indicator is that patients often have similar “tender points” on their body where pain strikes most frequently.
Therapeutic massage programs cover various massage therapy techniques which can be applied to treat chronic pain conditions. Fibromyalgia patients often seek out massage therapy as an effective way to encourage optimal circulation of blood, which in turn helps relieve pain and stiffness. The more popular therapeutic treatments used for this condition promote circulation but cause little pain. Massage therapy can reduce stiffness, pain and stress, which in turn can promote relaxation and in many cases lead to more reliable sleep patterns. Since fibromyalgia patients can be very sensitive to pain, it is important for the massage therapist to be fully away of their condition before administering treatment.
The musculoskeletal pain associated with fibromyalgia can often cause a sense of hopelessness in patients, who may feel they are unable to live their life to its fullest potential. Massage therapy education offers students the rewarding opportunity to improve patients’ quality of life, and help treat conditions associated with fibromyalgia like depression and stress. Massage therapy has been known to help reduce anxiety, potentially benefiting patients who suffer from stress-induced fibromyalgia flare-ups. Regular appointments with an RMT may help reduce musculoskeletal pain, allowing fibromyalgia patients to engage in physical activity - an important factor in reducing their chronic pain.
What is your approach to the treatment of fibromyalgia?