Are the widespread pain, anxiety and depression, mental fog and sleep difficulties of fibromyalgia negatively affecting your quality of life? Whether you've been recently diagnosed or have been fighting this battle for years, you know relief can be elusive. What you may not know, is just how effective massage therapy can be in treating this condition.
An often mysterious and confounding medical condition, fibromyalgia isn't even thoroughly understood by some healthcare providers. What researchers do know is that fibromyalgia is more likely to strike women than men, that it causes pain throughout the body, it interferes with normal sleeping patterns and can also lead to anxiety and depression.
For some patients, fibromyalgia develops after either an emotional or a physical trauma. For others, a genetic mutation may be to blame. Researchers have determined that patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis may be more prone to fibromyalgia, as are those with a relative who has the condition.
Because this disease isn't often understood by friends, family members and coworkers, anxiety, health-related depression and feelings of isolation are relatively common. Other conditions associated with fibromyalgia include disorders of the temporomandibular joint, interstitial cystitis, migraine and/or tension headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome.
With such a wide variety of symptoms and comorbid conditions, it's no wonder patients living with fibromyalgia sometimes feel depressed or anxious. Treatment options are few and far between, as there is currently no cure. Massage therapy, however, can be a highly effective treatment for many patients.
How Does Massage Therapy Treat Fibromyalgia?
There are several mechanisms by which massage therapy can provide meaningful relief for patients with fibromyalgia. First and foremost, massage can address the painful muscles and points of tenderness that define the condition. Because massage therapy also has been proven to improve the conditions of anxiety and depression, it can also be of tremendous use as a treatment for these symptoms.
Since there is no cure for fibromyalgia, and treatment protocols are variable depending upon the unique requirements of each patient, massage therapy can be an important part of an integrative treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Working closely with a licensed, professional massage therapist who understands the difficulty of fibromyalgia can help you to feel less pain, combat depression, ease the sensation of anxiety and increase your overall sense of wellness. Where traditional medicine often struggles in terms of increasing quality of life for fibromyalgia patients, massage therapy can be a valuable first line of defense against the pain, exhaustion and misery. It's also important to note that massage therapy can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body. When stress levels are lower and pain is eased, the sleep patients with fibromyalgia often lose can be restored.
A low-risk and non-invasive treatment, massage therapy does not introduce new prescriptions or painful procedures into your care plan. If your fibromyalgia is resistant to treatment and having a deleterious effect on your quality of life, working with a massage therapist can help to reverse these negative developments.
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