It is normal to experience a little bit of pain from time to time. You may feel sore from exercising too much, or you may stub your toe on a piece of furniture. Most of the time, you’re able to shake it off or take ibuprofen and go about your day. However, sometimes people can experience pain that’s widespread and chronic, failing to diminish despite their best efforts. This can cause a large impact on one’s life that anti-inflammatory drugs simply will not fix.
If you are suffering from chronic pain that is accompanied by fatigue, changes in mood, or irregular sleep patterns, you may be dealing with a more serious physiological condition, such as fibromyalgia. If you identify with these symptoms, contact Washington Physical Therapy today to set up an appointment with one of our Kirkland, WA physical therapists.
What exactly is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is somewhat of an umbrella term used to describe someone who is experiencing a certain combination of symptoms. The exact causes of fibromyalgia are still unclear, although some medical experts believe it may be caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system - the part of your body that elicits “fight or flight” responses. This theory makes sense, as people tend to develop their first symptoms of fibromyalgia after experiencing a physically or emotionally traumatic event, though it has never been scientifically proven.
Fibromyalgia also tends to affect more women than men, and your likelihood of developing it increases if you have a family member with the same condition. Some people who develop fibromyalgia begin with chronic bouts of stress or depression, while other symptoms build over time. The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Chronic and/or sharp muscle pains
- Tender areas of the body
- Disrupted sleep cycles/irregular sleep schedules
- Fluctuations in mood
- Forgetfulness or disorientation
- Sensitivity to touch/numbness
How do we treat fibromyalgia?
Since fibromyalgia is not a disease, but rather a range of symptoms, there is no single, surefire treatment for the condition. Primary physicians will typically prescribe some sort of pain medication or an anti-depressant to manage symptoms; however, those medications do not address the chronic nature of the condition or the loss of function that chronic pain and distress typically bring.
At Washington Physical Therapy, we can provide effective treatments for both managing symptoms in the long-term and regaining optimum function to your body. Our Kirkland, WA physical therapists will examine your physical abilities, analyze your medical history, and discuss your current symptoms, in order to design a treatment plan that will fit your unique needs.
Treatments will typically begin with pain-relieving modalities to provide relief and promote healing. This may include the use of trigger point therapy, massage, stretching, electrical stimulation, or other therapeutic tools that our physical therapist believes could be beneficial to your recovery. After this, your treatments will shift toward active therapies, such as muscle strengthening, range-of-motion activities, and cardiovascular exercises.
Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise paired with postural strengthening activities not only relieves widespread pain, but also increase energy levels, improves sleep, and elevates mood. Regardless of where you are on your journey, it is possible to find relief from even your worst fibromyalgia symptoms, through our Kirkland, WA physical therapy services. Contact Washington Physical Therapy today for more information, or to schedule your evaluation and find out how we can get you started on the road to recovery.