Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that creates a world of pain in which the sufferer can have difficulty coping with daily activities. The hallmark of this condition is chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain. Although the condition is more commonly diagnosed in women, the number of male sufferers is on the rise.
A fibromyalgia diagnosis can be difficult to obtain as there are no definitive diagnostic tests. Instead, physicians rely upon conformation of two conditions: pain duration and location. First, the patient must have been experiencing widespread pain for at least three months. Second, the patient must experience pain when at least eleven of eighteen designated points, which run from neck to knees, are pressed. These conditions are treated with flexibility, however, making the diagnosis of fibromyalgia somewhat of an art.
Fibromyalgia symptoms vary among patients. Often the sufferer complains of a deep or burning chronic pain that can occur throughout the body, but is most common in the hips and shoulders. In addition, secondary symptoms of fatigue and sleep problems are also often reported. Less common, but still related, are symptoms that include stiffness, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, memory problems, and anxiety or depression.
Massage therapy holds many benefits for fibromyalgia suffers. This treatment not only assists with the pain in general, but is also highly effective at alleviating the secondary symptoms of the condition; fatigue, anxiety, depression, constipation, and sleep disorders are all aided through massage. In addition, massage therapy loosens muscles that may have tightened through inactivity and can help alleviate some of the patient’s hesitance toward undertaking an exercise program.
Because fibromyaligia is presently without clear diagnosis and cure, it is important that sufferers are afforded as much relief as possible. Massage therapy can relieve the symptoms of fibromyaligia and give sufferers back their quality of life until that time when a cure is found.