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Fibromyalgia Sore Stiff Tired Depressed

In today’s post, we look at the area of Fibromyalgia. Chartered Physiotherapist Frank Kenny (of our IFSC clinic in Dublin 1) talks us through this condition and also provides advice on how to deal with the condition, so if you or somebody you know suffers from Fibromyalgia, keep reading!

Do you feel tired, anxious or depressed? Do you suffer from stiff and sore muscles and joints?

“It’s the fibromyalgia, up and down the arm. That’s where it gets so bad. Excruciating”, said Morgan Freeman in an interview the Esquire magazine.

“It’s not curable but it’s manageable. I have a high pain threshold, so that helps. It’s the tiredness part that I have difficulty with”. Sinéad O’Connor told Hotpress magazine in 2005.

What are Morgan Freeman and Sinead O’Connor talking about? Well they both suffer from fibromyalgia a chronic painful condition. It affects to a certain extent 2-6% of the population many of whom are suffering in silence. That’s roughly 180,000 people in the Republic of Ireland – more than the population of Cork city!

What are Morgan Freeman and Sinead O’Connor talking about? Well they both suffer from fibromyalgia a chronic painful condition. It affects to a certain extent 2-6% of the population many of whom are suffering in silence. That’s roughly 180,000 people in the Republic of Ireland – more than the population of Cork city!

Fibromyalgia –  A Silent, Invisible Condition

Despite the potentially disabling body pain, patients with fibromyalgia do not develop body damage or deformity. This means that the effects of fibromyalgia are not easily visible and so the severity of the condition is frequently misunderstood with sufferers sometimes feeling that the widespread pain and depression is just ‘in their head’. A change in weather, increase in stress, and how regularly you are exercising can all increase your symptoms.

Fibromyalgia can lead to sore and stiff muscles

Symptoms

Restless sleep, waking with tiredness, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, disturbances in bowel function

Fibromyalgia tips and advice

  1. Trouble sleeping - Avoiding heavy meals, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine after 6pm.
  2. Strengthening - Light strengthening low impact exercises have been shown to improve mood, fatigue and overall function. Note that it is important that the exercises are prescribed by a qualified practitioner as in some cases it can make your symptoms worse.
  3. Exercise - Moderate aerobic exercise such as swimming can help reduce pain, increase mood and overall function. However it is advised to begin with a strengthening program so that your muscles are strong enough to withstand the forces exerted on your body in a cardio workout.
  4. Pacing yourself - As you know some days your symptoms will be better, and some days they will be worse. It is important not to overdo it, and balance activity with rest and relaxation.

How Can Physiotherapy Help With Fibromyalgia?

Physiotherapy focuses on alleviating fatigue, muscle weakness, pain and sleep disturbances.

Your physiotherapist will focus their evidence based management of your condition on advice, manipulation, strengthening exercises and aerobic exercise.

Strong evidence has shown that a correctly prescribed exercise program can be hugely beneficial to those with Fibromyalgia, both physically and mentally. Your chartered physiotherapist can create a suitable home exercise program that can help you manage your symptoms. 

Joint manipulation, and muscle release techniques are among the more commonly used treatments in the management of fibromyalgia. There is moderate level of evidence showing the effectiveness of massage, while there is limited evidence for spinal manipulation according to the American Pain Society.

Physiotherapy is an advised, evidenced based treatment approach in helping with the management of this chronic pain condition. Currently there is no cure, but it can be eased with the correct treatment and management. If you do suffer with Fibromyalgia and you would like to be treated by on of our team of physiotherapists contact us today to book an appointment.

FibroIreland is a website that helps you find more information and advice on fibromyalgia. It provides many personal stories, nationwide support groups and helplines and is well worth checking out.