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Effective ways to manage fibromyalgia

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Sometimes the aches and pains of getting older are more than average body fatigue. If you are experiencing all-over body pain, increased tenderness to the touch, fatigue and problems with sleep and memory, you could be suffering from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a non-life-threatening, chronic health problem that occurs most commonly in middle-aged women. It is less common—but not unheard of—in men as well as in younger individuals.

Aside from the commonly experienced symptoms mentioned above, individuals might also experience depression, anxiety, headaches and digestive problems. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary in intensity, sometimes leaving the person feeling as if the pain is taking over their life.

Research is ongoing to determine the cause of fibromyalgia, but there are several theories that are currently being studied. These theories include possible genetic or hereditary links, changes in levels of brain chemicals related to stress, and possible changes in the brain’s processing system regarding pain. Continue Reading »

Managing chronic pain with physical therapy

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Approximately 100 million Americans suffer from pain lasting longer than six months. Chronic, long lasting pain can be due to an injury or conditions like fibromyalgia or arthritis. People with chronic pain can become less active because of their pain, resulting in decreased muscle flexibility and strength, decreased activity endurance and unbalanced postures. When someone has chronic pain, it can be difficult to know how to start an exercise program safely without aggravating the pain. Exercise should be an important part of everyone’s routine, especially if you have chronic pain. Exercise releases natural endorphins, or brain chemicals, that help improve your mood while also blocking pain signals into the blood stream. Exercise has another pain-reducing effect: it strengthens muscles, helping prevent re-injury and further pain.

This is where physical therapy within the Pain Management Program at Mercy Medical Center can help. Physical therapy starts with an individualized assessment to determine each person’s individual needs. Just as people have different body types, they have different patterns of movement, different alignments and different habits. Physical therapists monitor each individual and develop a program to correct what is causing pain. Most home exercise programs include gentle stretching, strengthening exercises, pain relief exercises and low-impact aerobic conditioning. If you want to learn about water exercise options or transition to a gym exercise routine, physical therapy can help with that, too. Continue Reading »

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