Fibromyalgia is a chronic generalised pain condition characterised by diffuse pain with no particular point of origin. Clients report hurting ‘all over’ although, to distinguish fibromyalgia from other pain conditions, medical diagnosis is by reference to specific tender points at prescribed locations on the body.
The causes of fibromyalgia are unclear although research suggests there may be connections with viral infections,immune problems and/or a genetic disposition. Some sources suggest there are two types of fibromyalgia: primary fibromyalgia which has uncertain origins, and post-traumatic fibromyalgia which is thought to develop after a fall, whiplash, or back strain.
Pain symptoms are generally accompanied by stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and poor quality sleep.
Fibromyalgia affects four times as many women as men. It is not life-threatening or progressive but it can seriously undermine the quality of a person’s life and their ability to work or take part in physical activity. There is no medical cure for fibromyalgia, although seeking early treatment is advised. Medical treatment frequently involves prescription of antidepressant drugs.
Although aches and pains referred to as ‘muscular rheumatism’ have been referred to in medical literature since the 1600s, fibromyalgia was not accepted as a legitimate medical condition until the 1980s and 1990s and those living with fibromyalgia were dismissed as hypochondriacs or malingerers. Even today fibromyalgia causes some controversy, as does the scientific research reporting the effectiveness of myofascial release in the alleviation of symptoms.
Myofascial Release for Fibromyalgia
Myofascial release and advanced massage techniques for clients with fibromyalgia requires a gentle and understanding approach. Sessions may vary in intensity and will always be dictated by how the client feels at the time of session. Clients are encouraged to build up to gentle stretching and exercises in between sessions to improve posture and increase endurance.