Fibromyalgia syndrome is a complexed condition characterized by chronic widespread pain in muscles, soft tissue and joints; painful and tender skin; shooting pains; restless legs and muscle weakness and a cluster of other symptoms including anxiety, brain fog, depression, IBS, sleep disturbance, stiffness, and chronic fatigue 1, 2
Affecting 2% to 5% of the population, fibromyalgia has been identified as one of the most economically burdensome conditions.3-8 Patients often seek symptomatic relief from multiple medical and complementary and alternative treatments.9-12 Around 90% of individuals with fibromyalgia have used at least one form of complementary and alternative treatments to manage their symptoms 13, 14
A systematic review and meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT’s) evaluating the effectiveness of massage therapy for fibromyalgia showed massage therapy with duration ≥5 weeks had beneficial immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with fibromyalgia.
Read more here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3930706/
When treating Fibromyalgia it is important to understand the central sensitisation that occurs in this condition. The sympathetic nervous system is in a persistent state of high sensitivity; which results in the spinal cord and brain acting like a faulty amplifier that turns up the volume of any pain signals. Treatment that is too intense may trigger the warning system and make things worse. However, gentle massage, myofascial release, gentle stretching and acupressure can be very helpful.
The University Of Miami School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute, has conducted various studies regarding the benefits of massage therapy. In a study geared to fibromyalgia patients, it was concluded that massage therapy provided the following benefits: increased serotonin level, decreased circulating stress hormones, decreased levels of substance P (a pain messenger), decreased tender point pain, improved sleep patterns, and improved overall sense of well-being. The principal investigators stated that massage therapy is a clinically significant complementary treatment for fibromyalgia. 15
To find out more about Massage Therapy at York Clinic please visit the Massage page https://www.yorkclinic.com/therapies/massage-therapy/ or call reception on 01904 709688 to book an appointment
1. Ge HY, Wang Y, Danneskiold-Samsoe B, Graven-Nielsen T, Arendt-Nielsen L (2010) The predetermined sites of examination for tender points in fibromyalgia syndrome arefrequently associated with myofascial trigger points. J Pain 11: 644–651. [PubMed]
2. Wolfe F, Smythe HA, Yunus MB, Bennett RM, Bombardier C, et al. (1990) The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia. report of the multicenter criteria committee. Arthritis Rheum 33: 160–172. [PubMed]
3. Bannwarth B, Blotman F, Roué-Le Lay K, Carbère JP, André E, et al. (2009) Fibromyalgia syndrome in the general population of France. A prevalence study. Joint Bone Spine 76: 184–187. [PubMed]
4. Branco JC, Bannwarth B, Failde I, Abello Carbonell J, Blotman F, et al. (2009) Prevalence of fibromyalgia: a survey in five European countries. Semin Arthritis Rheum 39: 448–453. [PubMed]
5. Bennett RM, Jones J, Turk DC, Russell IJ, Matallana L (2007) An internet survey of 2596 people with fibromyalgia. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 8: 27. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
6. Topbas M, Cakirbay H, Gulec H, Akgol E, Ak I, et al. (2005) The prevalence of fibromyalgia in women aged 20–64 in Turkey. Scand J Rheumatol 34: 140–144. [PubMed]
7. Thompson JM, Luedtke CA, Oh TH, Shah ND, Long KH, et al. (2011) Direct medical costs in patients with fibromyalgia: cost of illness and impact of a brief multidisciplinary treatment program. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 90: 40–46. [PubMed]
8. White LA, Birnbaum HG, Kaltenboeck A, Tang J, Mallett D, et al. (2008) Employees with fibromyalgia: medical comorbidity, healthcare costs, and work loss. J Occup Environ Med 50: 13–24. [PubMed]
9. Terry R, Perry R, Ernst E (2012) An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine for fibromyalgia. Clin Rheumatol 31: 55–66. [PubMed]
10. Carville SF, Arendt-Nielsen S, Bliddal H, Blotman F, Branco JC, et al. (2008) EULAR evidence-based recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia syndrome. Ann Rheum Dis 67: 536–541. [PubMed]
11. Häuser W, Thieme K, Turk DC (2010) Guidelines on the management of fibromyalgia syndrome – a systematic review. Eur J Pain 14: 5–10. [PubMed]
12. Wang C, Schmid CH, Rones R, Kalish R, Yinh J, et al. (2010) A randomized trial of Tai Chi for fibromyalgia. N Engl J Med 363: 743–754. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
13. Rossy LA, Buckelew SP, Dorr N, Hagglund KJ, Thayer JF, et al. (1999) A meta-analysis of fibromyalgia treatment interventions. Ann Behav Med 21: 180–191. [PubMed]
14. Ernst E (2008) Complementary treatments in rheumatic diseases. Rheum Dis Clin North Am 34: 455–467. [PubMed] 15. Yuan SL, Matsutani LA, Marques AP. Effectiveness of different styles of massage therapy on fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analyisis. Man Ther. 2015;20:257-64.