Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting more than 5 million women and men in the United States. Fibromyalgia pain is different than the pain you may experience from a headache or sprained ankle. It is a specific kind of pain that’s chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness.
The pain is felt all over, in both the upper and lower parts of the body. However, many people with fibromyalgia feel their pain in specific areas of their body, such as in their shoulder or neck. Even a small amount of pressure can cause pain, therefore, a massage therapist with knowledge about this disease is a must!
Symptoms and co-symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
– Problems sleeping
– Difficulty thinking clearly (also known as “fibro fog” among patients)
– Difficulty performing everyday tasks
– Stress and anxiety
– Migraine headaches
Massage therapy has been proven to help. Both deep tissue massage and myofascial release are the best modalities to use on clients with fibromyalgia which has shown a significant difference.
This type of fibromyalgia massage treats muscle pain and stiffness by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood flow, and stimulating the “stretch reflex” in muscles, getting rid of fascial restrictions in the body. This has been shown to reduce pain significantly.
With any other type of massage, these modalities help in the release of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins which help with pain and sleep. Treatment for fibromyalgia often involves multiple techniques and approaches for symptom relief and it may take some trial and error to find the combination that works for you.
An open line of communication is highly valued during a session with fibromyalgia suffers. Communication is advisable due to the fact that the client’s comfort is most important during the therapy session. I tell my client’s all of the time that pain is not necessary to get the outcome of pain relief that we are aiming for.