Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a syndrome of widespread pain involving mainly muscle, but also tendons, ligaments, and joints. Pain is the major complaint and is described by some as a “migraine headache of the muscles”. The pain is usually generalized, but distinct areas of tenderness in specific locations in the body are characteristic. Tenderness in one spot is referred to as a tender point. The 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria identifies 18 body locations, of which at least 11 must be tender in order to make the formal diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The muscle pain fluctuates and is often aggravated by various physical, environmental, and emotional factors. In addition to causing pain, FMS causes the following:
- Stiffness (particularly in the morning)
- Mental and Physical Fatigue – (People with FMS complain of exhaustion and not feeling rested after a night’s sleep)
- Sleep Disturbance/Morning Fatigue
- Global Anxiety
- Numbness or Paresthesias
- Feeling of weakness
- Cold Intolerance (Raynaud’s Phenomena)
- Dry Eyes or Mouth (Sicca Syndrome)
- Pelvic Pain
- Migraine Headaches
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Irritable Bladder Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Lack of Sexual Desire
- Loss of Sense of Well-Being
Physical therapists at Aquacare Physical Therapy can show people with fibromyalgia how to relieve symptoms of pain and stiffness in everyday life. Our therapists teach people with fibromyalgia how to build strength and improve their range of motion while teaching them self-management strategies for Fibromyalgia.
Studies show that Aquatic PT is one of the most effective treatments for the muscle stiffness and pain associated with Fibromyalgia. Aquatic Therapy offered at Aquacare Physical Therapy can be very effective for combating the many problems experienced from fibromyalgia. It is already widely accepted that one of the most effective treatments for long-term management of FMS is PHYSICAL EXERCISE! But the weight-bearing that occurs with land exercise can aggravate joint pain and symptoms. However, there are many benefits of an aquatic therapy program with FMS.
- BOUYANCY — Water creates an environment for the unloading of the spine and joints allowing you to move with less pain.
- Creates soothing counterirritant effect-desensitizing pain. The sensory overload of water gives the brain something else to think about!
- Water is forgiving! Provides a safe environment to prevent overexertion of muscles.
- Provides for accommodating resistance depending on the speed of movement—you can exercise within your limitations.
- Proven by research to decrease subjective complaints with FMS such as fatigue, stiffness, poor quality sleep, and PAIN!
- The warmth of water reduces muscle guarding, allowing for increased oxygenation of tissues.
- It helps you gain self-confidence so you can progress to land exercise.
- Allows for improvement in aerobic fitness to stimulate endorphin release.
- Improves psychological mood and outlook due to being FUN and allows for exercising in a group.