Those suffering with Fibromyalgia or widespread pain in the muscles and tenderness in areas of the body know how debilitating it can be. Not long ago Fibromyalgia wasn’t considered a physical condition. It was “all in your head”. Now there is actually a National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, it’s May 12th.
Fibromyalgia can impact many functions/regions of the body including pain, sensory, cognitive, mood, muscular, gastrointestinal as well as have other physiologic influences as noted below.1
Pain: back, neck, abdomen, muscles
Sensory: sensitivity to pain, pins and needles, sensitivity to cold
Cognitive: bad concentration, forgetfulness
Mood: mood swings, nervousness, anxiety
Muscular: muscle spasms, delayed onset muscle soreness, muscle tenderness
Gastrointestinal: excessive gas, constipation, nausea
Other Symptoms: coldness or tingling in hands, tingling feet, depression, , headache, painful menstruation, Irritability
You’ve probably seen numerous “big pharma” commercials on TV during the evening news recommending pharmacological medication for the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Some include Pregabakin (Lyrica), Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Milnacipran (Savells) which are non-specific to Fibromyalgia, can be prescribed for any number of other pain issues and may have nasty side effects.
While exercise has been found to alleviate symptoms, the pain itself can deter a patient from being able to commit to a routine. Many Fibromyalgia patients find any physical exertion difficult in the first place making exercise wishful thinking.
Massage therapy with duration ≥5 weeks had beneficial immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with FM.2 Some find the most beneficial results with a softer Swedish style and others with a more aggressive Shiatsu style3
For those looking for more holistic or alternative treatments you can look into, Acupuncture, Biofeedback, Meditation, Herbal Supplements and even Cannabis4
There is no “one size fits all” treatment for Fibromyalgia and some methods may work better for some than others, but we have found that massage is the best place to start. If you find massage effective, a massage chair may be the right choice. You don’t have to travel to a therapist or have the recurring costs of an in-home visit and having to set aside time each week or even each day. When you find your symptoms flaring you can jump in to your chair anytime. For patients with limited mobility, elderly or disabled we recommend the OHCO M.DX which will provide many styles of massage including Swedish and shiatsu.