Did you know that the first scientific study which confirmed the diagnosis of fibromyalgia tender points was in 1990?
Listed as a diagnosable disease by The International Classification of Diseases, fibromyalgia syndrome is classified as a functional somatic syndrome.So What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common and potentially disabling condition which affects up to 5% of the population in developed countries, generally young to middle-aged women.
People who live with fibromyalgia suffer aches all over their body, as well as extreme fatigue. Other symptoms can include headaches, sleep deprivation or difficulty concentrating, problems with memory and high distress levels.
In fact, about one million people across the UK live with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Now, fibromyalgia will be recognised by Northern Ireland health professionals as a long-term condition. Further, fibromyalgia is easy to miss when it coexists with another chronic illness with similar symptoms, such as arthritis. Another complication is that fibromyalgia has multiple, varied and fluctuating symptoms.
While recognised as a condition by NHS Choices in England and Scotland which means fibromyalgia treatment should be available to patients, in reality, the availability of services is patchy since some UK health services lack the resources to treat the condition.
It is estimated about one in 25 people in Northern Ireland may be living with fibromyalgia symptoms, many of them undiagnosed.Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Treatments
Once diagnosed, fibromyalgia patients will receive advice around exercise and alternative therapies. Severe cases will be treated with medication. The good news is that this means the UK medical profession is now gaining a better understanding of the variety of symptoms caused by fibromyalgia and the severity.
Regular exercise helps to improve pain, reduce fatigue and sleep disturbance in patients suffering with fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise, is often recommended by doctors to help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and enhance physical capacity. The start of any regular exercise program needs to be slow and gradual to avoid the risk of strain or injury.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there is evidence that lifestyle changes, which include relaxation, heat therapy, regular exercise and a healthy diet can make a significant difference for symptom relief. This is especially important, since there are no pharmaceutical drugs available on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for specific use to treat fibromyalgia pain.
This means the use of natural therapies is recommended to help reduce chronic pain, cognitive disturbance and improve sleep for better quality of life. Far infrared thermal therapies can be helpful in the management of fibromyalgia, especially since it can be self administered. Some studies indicate the use of thermal therapy aids in the improvement of fibromyalgia symptoms and physical functioning, making FIR a useful fibromyalgia management choice.