Often times when we are in pain our automatic response is going to our family physicians and accepting whatever pill they give us. Don’t get me wrong, many times it is needed and fixes whatever is ailing us. However, there are many instances where alternative therapies can play a key role in managing chronic pain, for example, fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. According to a Mayo clinic staff writer, symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Research has shown that women are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. But even more important is knowing how exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help. There are several therapies than can assist in managing the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. One of the most popular therapies is massage therapy. Series of massage treatments have been reported for years to reduce chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia. It is important to understand when treating any chronic pain there is no quick fix. It takes time as well as tolerance to reach the goal of “pain management”. It is important to work with a therapist who is familiar with your condition, and can approach your treatment sessions with experience and knowledge. Having a better understanding of how massage therapy can help in the case of fibromyalgia would literally require an anatomy and pathology lecture. But to put it simply, muscles are surrounded by fascia. This connective tissue plays an important role in the determination of the extent of muscle stretch and contraction. It is very important to understand that fascia also provides pathways for nerves and blood vessels. In cases of fibromyalgia, due to the muscles being in a state of prolonged pathological hypertonus, (or overuse,) fascia becomes tense, causing compression of muscle fibers, nerve tissue and blood vessels. This will cause strain on muscles and tendons, and will always create inflammation. Massage Therapy will not only reduce mental stress but muscular stress! A few other options for managing your fibromyalgia pain are ionic detoxification and infrared therapy. Fibromyalgia is a reaction to a low-grade inflammatory condition of the muscles, fascia, and other connective tissues. This inflammation can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, hormonal changes, and even toxic chemical exposure. Ionic detoxification reduces the levels of toxins in your body, thus reducing the pain that is the result of those toxins. Individuals who detox have seen a reduction in pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, better sleep habits, and overall well being. Infrared therapy can be very helpful reducing pain, although it may only help for a short period. The deep heat from Infrared therapy can reduce the amount of lactic acid build up in the muscles which can make you stiff and sore. Infrared therapy comes in many forms such as saunas, lamps, and hand held devices. Managing fibromyalgia can be difficult, but it is my opinion that combining multiple therapies, along with exercise and a healthy diet will bring aid in managing chronic pain. For more information about fibromyalgia treatment plans, please call Wendy Couch at 256-374-4127. By: Wendy Couch

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