What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome characterized by tenderness in localized areas, widespread pain, joint stiffness, fatigue, non refreshing sleep, and mood problems.

One of the key theories behind the origin of pain in fibromyalgia is in something called fascia. Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds and webs through our entire body. Similar to a spider web, it is both flexible and extremely strong. Under the correct circumstances, this web-like system can constrict and create painful points of pain called myofascial pain syndrome.

Fascial-theory can explain why fibromyalgia, unlike many other pain syndromes, is not accompanied by any signs of inflammation or degeneration in the tissues. Fascia works a lot more like a knitted shirt or blanket that gets one or two strands pulled out and causes the rest of the fabric to bunch up.

This causes the pain to be “unknown” in origin and difficult to treat in the medical realm.

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How Massage Therapy can Help

Thankfully, massage therapy is more than working with muscles.

While working with fascia, we keep several things in mind:

  • While muscle is controlled consciously by our somatic nervous system, fascia tightness and organization is controlled unconsciously by our autonomic system.

  • Everyone’s autonomic system is different and operates at different levels of intensity and sensitivity

  • While muscle exists only between bones and in the smooth muscle of our heart and organs, fascia weaves through our skin, joints, muscles, organs, spine, skull, and every point of our body.

  • We treat every point in the body. No organ, joint, limb, or muscle is an island. All parts of the body are part of total body health.

When working with clients with fibromyalgia, we include a wide variety of myofascial release techniques to help unwind your fascia. Since every fibromyalgia client is different, we work with you to determine the best pressure and techniques for your comfort and treatment.

Some facts about Fibromyalgia:

  • 75%-80% of people with fibromyalgia are women, most being age 20-50 at the age of onset

  • It is a syndrome that was ignored and devalidated in healthcare for a long time, and is still overlooked in many patients today

  • Patients may experience periods of exacerbation and remission of pain

  • Fibromyalgia may coexist with other diseases or diagnoses such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, IBS, migraines, TMJ dysfunction, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)