- Posted on: Nov 1 2013
If you have the painful condition known as fibromyalgia, you’re probably searching for relief. Fortunately, a growing body of evidence shows that physical therapy and acupuncture can be very effective.
The syndrome, which is characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness, can be treated with aerobic and strengthening exercises, as well as certain pain-relief techniques. Here’s a rundown of the ways you can improve your quality of life:
• Exercise: Your physical therapist (PT) will design a program that will help you increase your tolerance for physical activity. Although you may experience pain, most patients say that exercise is important for their wellbeing. The program will most likely include walking. Depending on your level of fatigue, you may have to break up your walks into two short sessions. Walking can help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and increase your ability to perform everyday tasks. A water workout may also be recommended. Exercising in a pool has been shown to reduce pain and increase wellbeing, according to the journal Physical Therapy.
• Strength training: You’ll most likely start with light weights. Over time your strength may improve. Your PT will teach you how to manage pain if it occurs after exercise. You will most likely learn about stretching and relaxation techniques.
• Passive treatments: These include trigger point injections (in which a pain medication is injected into tender muscles), joint manipulation (the PT will gently move your joints to relieve pain) and myofascial release techniques (in which muscles are stretched and relaxed). Massage therapy may also be used. These techniques can help relieve musculoskeletal pain in particular locations of the body. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation—in which nerves are stimulated via an electric current—may also be performed.
• Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice, in which thin needles are inserted into the skin, has been shown to help reduce fatigue and anxiety for up to seven months after treatment, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study. Acupuncture therefore could be used in the treatment of your fibromyalgia.
If you want to learn more about how physical therapy and acupuncture can help with fibromyalgia, contact us here.