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  • Fibromyalgia Johnston, Des Moines & Ankeny, IA


    How Physical Therapy Can Relieve Your Fibromyalgia Pain

    Most of us can deal with a little pain. We may have the occasional ache from overdoing it at the gym or a twinge from bumping our shins on the bed, but most of the time we can ignore it, take an anti-inflammatory and go about our day. Unfortunately, some individuals experience widespread throughout their body, and they may notice changes in sleep, mood, and energy levels. When these cluster of symptoms are present, you may be dealing with a more serious physiological condition. Sound familiar? Contact Johnston Physical Therapy in Johnston, Des Moines or Elevate Physical Therapy in Ankeny, IA to find out more about your symptoms and get a jump start to recovery.

    What is Fibromyalgia?

    Fibromyalgia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms. Typically, a person who is experiencing debilitating fatigue, tender areas of the body, changes in mood and/or muscle pain can be diagnosed with this condition. While it is unclear what causes fibromyalgia, some believe the pain is due to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This area of the nervous system is responsible for activating your “fight or flight” response. Many people first experience symptoms after a physical or emotionally traumatic event. Others begin having pain after bouts of chronic stress or depression, or the symptoms may build over time. Fibromyalgia tends to affect women more often than men. If you know a family member with this condition, you are more likely to experience it as well.

    How is Fibromyalgia treated?

    Because fibromyalgia is not considered a disease but a cluster of symptoms, there is no known medical cure. Instead, medical practitioners focus on treating the symptoms with medication. Often, if the sympathetic nervous system can be regulated with medication, the pain subsides. Doctors typically prescribe a combination of pain medications, antidepressants or anti-seizure medications to achieve regulation and relief of symptoms. However, none of the typical treatments address the loss of function that widespread pain often brings.

    The Physical Therapy Solution

    Even though fibromyalgia cannot be cured, one of the most effective ways of managing your symptoms can be found in the physical therapist‘s office. Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise together with postural strengthening activities not only relieve widespread pain but also increase energy levels, improve sleep and elevate mood. This course of treatment helps to alleviate your symptoms by balancing the body’s ability to regulate nerve impulses. Typically, physical therapy services will include four interrelated parts.

    Cardiovascular Exercise

    One of the best ways to alleviate widespread pain is through low-impact movement. This may include walking on a treadmill, water aerobics, or other exercises aimed at improving blood flow, reducing stress and increasing cardiovascular fitness. Your physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program designed for your abilities.

    Muscle Strengthening & Range of Motion

    When you are in pain, your natural tendency is to guard the area or limit its movement out of fear of causing pain. Unfortunately, limiting your range of motion can result in weakness, further range of motion loss and increased pain levels. This vicious cycle can only be broken by working to strengthen weakened muscles and returning the range of motion to the area you have been guarding. But, how do you do that when you are in pain?

    Pain Relieving Modalities

    A physical therapist has a host of tools in their belt aimed at relieving pain without medication. These may include the use of ice, heat, trigger point therapy, stretching, massage, electrical stimulation, or other therapeutic tools that can help limit your pain and retrain your body. Together with targeted exercise and a cardiovascular training program, it is possible to retrain your body to send and receive accurate signals without triggering widespread pain.

    Regardless of where you are on your journey, it is possible to have relief from your worst symptoms through physical therapy services. Contact Johnston Physical Therapy in Johnston, Des Moines or Contact Elevate Physical Therapy in Ankeny, IA today for more information or to request an appointment and find out how our physical therapists can get you on the road to recovery.