04 Aug Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain throughout body. This condition also causes fatigue due sleep disturbances, as well as cognitive issues. Studies suggest that fibromyalgia amplifies pain sensations by affecting the way the brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals from the body. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition.
Diagnosing this condition can be difficult, as its symptoms mimic those of other illnesses. There is also a lack of tests to confirm a diagnosis, resulting in fibromyalgia often being misdiagnosed.
Compared to the past, fibromyalgia is now better understood by healthcare professionals, yet it is still a challenging condition to treat. There is no cure for it but with the appropriate medications, therapy, exercise, and lifestyle changes, a patient’s symptoms can be managed and their quality of life improved.
Research suggests that fibromyalgia can be due to a genetic disposition that is triggered by an infection, trauma or stress. Symptoms of fibromyalgia often occur after a singular event. Examples are outlined below:
- Experiencing trauma – patients who experience severe physical and emotional trauma are at risk of developing fibromyalgia because the condition is linked to post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects the way the brain perceives information.
- An infection or past illness can trigger fibromyalgia or make its symptoms worse.
- Experiencing a significant amount of psychological stress, can have a long-term effect on the body. Studies have shown that stress is linked to hormonal changes that can contribute to fibromyalgia.
- Having surgery – surgeries can be complicated and can cause stress for a patient, both physical and emotional. If post-surgical care is not correctly carried out an infection can occur.
As well as the above-mentioned factors contributing to the incidence of fibromyalgia, there are other cases where symptoms will gradually ensue over time without a triggering event.
Symptoms of this condition include:
- tension headaches;
- temporomandibular joint disorders;
- irritable bowel syndrome;
- anxiety and depression;
- fatigue, due to sleep disturbances and experiencing non-restorative sleep;
- being unable to focus or pay attention;
- experiencing pain in the lower belly;
- having dry eyes, and
- bladder problems, such as a urinary tract infection or interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome).
Osteopathy is a holistic approach to diagnosing, treating and preventing health problems. Osteopathy focuses on the musculoskeletal system (comprising of the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and tissues of the body), and is a complementary form of treatment that can be used alongside other forms of therapy.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your osteopath will take down a detailed account of your medical history, and from this design a tailor-made treatment programme for you. This will incorporate stretching, strengthening, and conditioning techniques and exercises, to help relieve pain and tension in the body. Other techniques such as massage and lymphatic drainage will be used to reduce any swelling related to the condition. Passive movement techniques are needed to increase mobility and reduce the formation of scar tissue. An assessment of the whole body will be done to ensure there were no other predisposing causes for a strain or secondary injury.
At OsteoVision, our practitioners are highly skilled in treating a wide range of conditions. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your symptoms, book an appointment, or if you require more information about fibromyalgia and how it can be treated.
Cherney, K., 2021. Everything You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia#causes> [Accessed 16 February 2022].
Fisher, V., 2019. Fibromyalgia and osteopathic treatment – The Willow Clinic. [online] The Willow Clinic. Available at: <https://www.thewillowclinic.com.au/fibromyalgia-and-osteopathic-treatment/> [Accessed 16 February 2022].
Mayo Clinic, 2021. Fibromyalgia – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780> [Accessed 16 February 2022].
McIntosh, F., n.d. Fibromyalgia and Osteopathy. [online] Essentialosteopathy.co.uk. Available at: <https://www.essentialosteopathy.co.uk/blog/other-conditions-treated-osteopaths/fibromyalgia/> [Accessed 16 February 2022].