Fibromyalgia can be a confusing diagnosis and difficult to understand. Prior to receiving this diagnosis you many are sent to numerous specialists including immunologists, neurologists, and rheumatologists. Each specialist may have given you a different diagnosis or treatment option, with various medications that you tried and failed. Now what? It is important to have a clear understanding of what fibromyalgia is.
Fibromyalgia is defined as widespread pain and hypersensitivity to normal touch and daily activities. The latest research is suggesting that fibromyalgia is a product of a sensitivity of the nervous system, starting in your brain. When your brain decides there is a threat to your survival, it will increase the sensitivity of your whole system to ensure you are aware of how to protect yourself. Your brain is doing too good of a job trying to protect you.
So what can you do about it?
There is no reason to believe that you can’t live a normal life without constant pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated to fibromyalgia. Physical therapists are equipped to work with you to determine the best way to manage your symptoms. Here are a few of the things your PT will do to decrease your symptoms and help you get back to doing what you love!
• Develop a routine exercise program. This is vital in the recovery and management process. The human body is designed to move, and a regular exercise program will help restore a chemical balance that decreases sensitivity. Your physical therapist will help you determine which mode of exercise is the most appropriate for you.
• Learning how to pace yourself will help improve your ability to perform activities without causing a flare up of pain.
• Therapeutic neuroscience education to help understand why you have pain and what is happening in your body when you experience pain. Knowledge is power! The more you understand about fibromyalgia, the more you can empower yourself to take charge of your pain! YOU are the best tool against fibromyalgia pain.
There are resources out there to help you through this process. A recommended workbook that will help guide you down the road to recovery is “Your Fibromyalgia Workbook” By Adriaan Louw PT, Ph.D., CSMT.
Don’t be discouraged by fibromyalgia, move forward with physical therapy!!