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Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Physical Therapy


The primary complaints of people with Fibromyalgia are muscle pain and fatigue. One diagnostic indicator for Fibromyalgia is the presence of several paired tender points, primarily found along the back and neck. Another common problem is difficulty sleeping.

One interesting theory proposes that Fibromyalgia is a primary sleep disorder. A study was done deliberately interrupting the sleep of subjects for three nights. All subjects presented with symptoms of Fibromyalgia as a result of the sleep deprivation.


Physical therapy has much to offer patients with Fibromyalgia. Muscle pain and spasms are addressed with massage techniques and modalities. Learning an appropriate exercise program involving gentle stretching, strengthening and postural correction is also very helpful. Proper breathing techniques as well as relaxation sequences along with body mechanics and learning self-pacing activities allow for improved ability to be active.

What the experts say about Fibromyalgia:

The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association says:

The cause of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome remains elusive, but there are many triggering events thought to precipitate its onset. A few examples would be an infection (viral or bacterial), an automobile accident or the development of another disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or hypothyroidism. These triggering events probably don’t cause FMS, but rather, they may awaken an underlying physiological abnormality that’s already present in the form of genetic predisposition.

The National Fibromyalgia Association says:

Fibromyalgia (pronounced fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that affects people physically, mentally and socially. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease. Unlike a disease, which is a medical condition with a specific cause or causes and recognizable signs and symptoms, a syndrome is a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause.

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