Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the musculoskeletal system of the human body, causing significant pain to the patient. In addition to the pain in the muscles, fibromyalgia is also associated with fatigue, sleep deprivation and various other problems in memory and mood. These symptoms are not very distinctive, and thus makes it somewhat difficult to understand and diagnose fibromyalgia.
At times, the disorder may start after the patient has undergone physical trauma, surgery or a certain degree of stress. However, a patient may also experience gradual symptoms with time, without a triggering event.
There is no existing cure for this condition. However, a number of medications such as Cymbalta (duloxetine), Lyrica (pregabalin) and Savella (milnacipran) and various therapies such as heat, photon light, PEMF and hot stone therapies do exist, which can manage and control the symptoms. Medical devices such as moist heating pads, supportive pillows and pain reducing massagers may also help. In addition to these methods, reducing stress, engaging in exercise and relaxing can also help fibromyalgia patients.
The most common ways in which fibromyalgia is treated are through medication or therapy. There are three medications, which are approved by the FDA, used in treating fibromyalgia. These are Cymbalta, Lyrica and Savella. Cymbalta is an antidepressant, Lyrica is a drug prescribed for nerve pain and epilepsy while Savella is also an antidepressant. These medications may at times cause side effects and complications. Associated risks with these medications include nausea, fatigue, hypertension, worsened depression and suicidal thoughts.
Physical therapy is another treatment option for fibromyalgia if you are looking for an alternative to medications. An experienced physical therapist can guide you in achieving relief and help you practice good posture, which can help prevent painful flare-up. There exists a number of therapies such as hot stone therapy, heat therapy, photon light therapy, negative ION therapy and PEMF therapy, which can help fibromyalgia patients.
How therapy can help fibromyalgia patients
Treatment of fibromyalgia using above-mentioned therapeutic techniques can have an advantage over traditional medications. Therapeutic treatment can avoid the side effects and risks associated with medications, and can offer a more natural method of healing. These methods can also relax the patient, which can reduce stress that may lead up to fibromyalgia symptoms. According to clinical experience of physicians, heating therapies such as infrared therapy can reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
A study conducted by Matsushita and associates demonstrated that Waon therapy, a form of heat therapy, can be effective in treating fibromyalgia. Patient were treated using far infrared dry sauna 2-5 days per week. All patients demonstrated reductions in pain by approximately 50% in the first session. The study found that patients could become stable after ten treatments.
According to a study published in Nippon Rinsho, researchers were able to identify a positive effect of repeated thermal therapy for treating fibromyalgia. A group of patients were treated using far-infrared ray sauna therapy, and following a treatment of two years, 77% of the patients successfully returned to work. The study concluded that repeated thermal therapy could be promising in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
According to these studies, heat therapy can offer significant pain relief for patients with fibromyalgia. Therapeutic interventions can offer benefits without the risks and complications that are associated with traditional medication.
- Masuda A, Koga Y, Hattanmaru M, Minagoe S, Tei C: The Effects of Repeated Thermal Therapy for Patients with Chronic Pain. Psychother Psychosom 2005;74:288-294. doi: 10.1159/000086319
- Matsushita, K., Masuda, A., & Tei, C. (2008). Efficacy of Waon Therapy for Fibromyalgia. Internal Medicine, 47(16), 1473-1476. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.47.1054
- Soejima, Y., Munemoto, T., Masuda, A., Uwatoko, Y., Miyata, M., & Tei, C. (2015). Effects of Waon Therapy on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Pilot Study. Internal Medicine, 54(3), 333-338. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.54.3042