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Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain & tenderness all over the body.


The cause of fibromyalgia is not known but it is thought to be due to sensitivity of the nervous system, which ‘turns up the volume’ on pain receptors. Sufferers may have associated symptoms that include poor sleep, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, aching & stiffness. It can also cause restless leg syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome & oversensitivity to touch, light, sounds or smell.


It is estimated that between 1.8m & 2.9m people in the UK have fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia may be an inherited condition as it can run in families, but often seems to be triggered by an event that has been physically or emotionally stressful. More women than men are affected and it typically develops between the ages of 30-50, but can occur at any time.


Poor sleep appears to be a significant cause of fibromyalgia and people with fibromyalgia often don’t get enough sleep. Both of these factors are important as poor sleep can make pain worse, or even cause pain.



Diagnosis & Treatment

There are no specific tests or scans to confirm a diagnosis. Doctors will instead typically look at symptoms including unexplained pain for 3 or more months, fatigue, poor sleep, problems with memory and look to understand if there have been any specific traumatic events that may have triggered symptoms.


There is currently no cure for this condition but there are a number of ways to manage or reduce some of the symptoms, including medication, physical & psychological therapies & exercise.


Soft tissue therapy can be very effective for some individuals as it can provide both massage therapy and physical therapy/exercise. Massage is known to promote relaxation, improve sleep and reduce pain. Additionally, soft tissue therapists can prescribe exercises to help with posture; stretching to improve flexibility and movement & strengthening of the muscles to help move & protect the joints. Exercise is an important part of self-management of this condition and has been proven to improve fatigue and ability to control pain.


If you or someone you know might benefit from soft tissue therapy, get in touch to make an appointment.


Further help and advice is also available at www.versusarthritis.org & Fibromyalgia - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

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