Fibromyalgia causes pain throughout the body. It also causes tenderness in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, pain can be managed.
Massage is considered effective and beneficial in managing pain caused by fibromyalgia.
About 5 million Americans are affected by fibromyalgia and it affects females more than males by a 9:1 ratio. Fibromyalgia typically occurs between the ages of 20-years-old and 50-years-old.
The Fibromyalgia Patient
- People with fibromyalgia had high levels of pain, non-pain symptoms, and psychological distress.
- The symptoms of fibromyalgia are severe and continuous.
- Patients with fibromyalgia are more likely to have co-occurring major medical conditions, such as hypertension, heart attack, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus and depression or other mental illnesses.
- Fibromyalgia patients have relatively high levels of medical costs, Social Security disability and work disability.
- Fibromyalgia occurs about equally across all racial and ethnic groups but is less common in Asians.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The main symptom of fibromyalgia is pain; it could range from mild to severe. Pain may be characterized as shooting, burning or a deep, unrelenting ache. Tender points may develop on soft tissues around joints. Pain may be constant throughout the day or can improve during the daytime and worsen at night. A person who experiences widespread pain for more than three months with 11 tender points out of the 18, there’s a high possibility of a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
At present, a newer method of diagnosing fibromyalgia has been adopted by health care providers. It’s a 19 item checklist where a patient indicates which body parts have been painful in the prior week. This checklist is completed weekly so a pattern will be traced over time.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder with pain and symptoms persisting through the years. There’s no cure for fibromyalgia but its symptoms can be well managed.
Massage for Fibromyalgia
It is believed that patients with fibromyalgia benefit from massage. The various types of massage such as myofascial release, Swedish and shiatsu have effectively helped fibromyalgia patients.
Here are five benefits of massage for patients with fibromyalgia:
- Relaxation to improve sleep - evening sessions allow patients to have better quality of sleep at night. This helps the body to repair and heal at night more effectively.
- Improved muscle tonicity – Massage helps tired muscles and restores strength and energy to the patient’s body. The use of petrissage strokes can help attain this benefit.
- Improved mental clarity - a relaxing session can relieves mental stress and improves health awareness. As a result, the patient’s cognitive issues are also improved.
- Relief from headache – massage increases circulation thus, improves blood flow to the brain. This will then result to relief from the physical source of headache. This relief can further keep the patient’s mind in a healthier space.
- Diminished effects of anxiety or depression – when a person with fibromyalgia develops anxiety or depression, it will have an effect to the body which includes hormonal instabilities, interference with appetite and chronic fight-or-flight mode. Massage can help restore the body’s natural balance for fibromyalgia patients.
Family and friends of patients with fibromyalgia should remain supportive and compassionate to the patient’s treatment plan since some patients have grown accustomed that his or her loved ones don’t take his/her condition seriously.
Health care practitioners should treat fibromyalgia patients with empathy and respect. This will aid in producing the most favorable treatment results.