Physical Therapy Treatments For Fibromyalgia

Physical Therapy Treatments For Fibromyalgia | Capitol Physical Therapy Washington DC | Pain & Injury Management

Fibromyalgia is a complicated condition that is as hard to diagnose as it is to live with.

Around 2% of Americans are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition for which there is currently no known cure.

Living with pain on a daily basis can have a huge impact on your quality of life.

Treatments for fibromyalgia focus on easing the pain through medication and lifestyle changes.

If you are searching for a natural option to help ease your pain, then contact Capitol Physical Therapy, where we focus on strategies specific to pain management physical therapy.

Let’s learn more about this condition before looking at the ways in which physical therapy could work for you.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes pain in the muscles and bones, areas of tenderness throughout the body, fatigue, cognitive disturbances, and can also trigger depression.

There is currently no test that can definitively diagnose fibromyalgia, and until more recently, the disorder was not widely accepted by the medical community.

If you have had widespread pain for a period of three months or longer, you may find yourself diagnosed with this condition.

Widespread pain is defined as something felt both above and below the waist and felt on both sides of the body.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia look remarkably similar to those in auto-immune diseases such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, so your doctor will rule out these conditions before diagnosing you.

A fibromyalgia diagnosis is considered a “diagnosis of exclusion”, which means that after ruling out other possible causes of your symptoms, your doctor may settle on a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

What Are The Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia generates what are termed “regions of pain”, which feel like a dull, constant aching throughout the body.

These multisite areas of pain are often accompanied by other symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Lower stomach pain
  • Fatigue or trouble sleeping
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Dry eyes
  • Bladder issues, such as interstitial cystitis (inflammation of the bladder muscle)

In the more recent years, fibromyalgia has been more widely accepted as a condition and has been diagnosed in patients with pain in four out of five areas of pain in the body.

Common trigger points for pain include:

  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Tops of the shoulders
  • Upper chest
  • Back of the head
  • Outer elbows

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The painful symptoms of fibromyalgia are a result of the brain and nerves overreacting to normal pain signals.

In the past, healthcare providers questioned whether fibromyalgia was real, as its symptoms mimic those of so many other conditions.

Today, the condition is much better understood and more widely accepted.

If you are facing a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you can benefit from the lifestyle changes and therapy that we can offer at Capitol Physical Therapy.

how physical therapy can help with fibromyalgia | Capitol Physical Therapy Washington DC | Pain & Injury Management

How Can Physical Therapy Help With Fibromyalgia?

Physical therapy is the study of movement and focuses on the treatment and healing of injuries and disabilities.

Working with our physical therapists, you can learn how to relieve symptoms of pain and stiffness, build strength and improve your range of motion.

Correct posture, for example, allows for more efficient muscle function.

Slow stretching exercises, which you will learn by working one on one with a physical therapist, help to improve your muscle flexibility.

Physical therapy also teaches you relaxation methods to release muscle tension and relieve your pain.

Your practitioner will work with you to gain an understanding of the underlying source of your pain and put together a plan to apply the appropriate strategies to manage it.

By working with a licensed physical therapist, you will learn new skills and exercises needed to manage your pain at home.

A typical physical therapy appointment will give you access to a variety of resources and methods that help manage chronic pain.

Modalities A Physical Therapist Uses For Fibromyalgia

Physical therapy has been shown to ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia through a variety of techniques:

Relieving Fibromyalgia Pain With Physical Therapy

So how do some of these methods relieve chronic pain?

Hydrotherapy, using heat or cold packs, works to stimulate your body’s own responses to ease the pain.

A cold compress reduces pain swelling and inflammation by constricting the blood vessels.

Heat dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow, oxygen and other healing nutrients.

Your therapist will teach you techniques to use at home, and will document your progress as you work together.

The most effective method of treating fibromyalgia, however, seems to involve a mixture of different techniques.

A 2000 study by Offerbacher and Stucki suggests that a multidisciplinary approach, including physical therapy, is the most promising strategy for treatment of fibromyalgia.

So if you’re suffering with this disorder, there is hope.

Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy

Come to Capitol Physical Therapy, where our licensed physical therapists have experience and success working with chronic pain.

Working with a physical therapist will help restore function, relieve your pain and teach you how to manage your symptoms in your day-to-day life.

Contact Capitol Physical Therapy today to explore the options available to help you manage your fibromyalgia.

Capitol Physical Therapy
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005


9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772


Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC