What is fibromyalgia?

Published: 13 Aug 2019

What is fibromyalgia?


Recently our team has noticed an increase in the use of the term fibromyalgia. Seeing as it has become somewhat of a “buzzword”, let’s have a look at what it is!

What is it?

The term fibromyalgia refers to “muscular pain”. It is not just one condition! Rather, it is an umbrella term and a complex syndrome that incorporates a wide range of symptoms! These include widespread muscular pain, increased levels of fatigue and or muscular tenderness/sensitivity! (See table below for more!)

As a health condition it is poorly understood with no clear cause, however the condition is closely linked to the presence of a stressful or traumatic event and/or physical injury, feelings of depression and anxiety and presence of chronic pain.

Do I have fibromyalgia?

The number of people afflicted with fibromyalgia is actually very small  (roughly 2-5%). Often the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based on a process of excluding other conditions/causes. With that said, it is important that other potential diagnoses are properly investigated before the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is given! This may require investigation via a Physiotherapist to rule out other musculoskeletal causes for pain.

As seen in the table below symptoms can be complex, so it is important that a proper diagnosis is only given after thorough examination.

Having one or two of these symptoms DOES NOT mean that you have fibromyalgia. Your medical professional will make a diagnosis where there are a number of these and the paid behaves in a particular way.

What should you do if you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

Treatment of fibromyalgia will vary depending on your symptoms. From a physiotherapy perspective treatment may focus on soft tissue massage and joint mobilisations to decrease pain, dry needling may also assist with easing muscular tightness to assist with pain management.

Education is also vital. Your physiotherapist will provide you with an understanding of activities that may cause you to feel more tired/sore the next day!

Given the complexity of the condition it is important that all factors and/or co-morbidities are addressed. This may include other allied health professions such as a psychologist to assist with feelings of depression and or sleep disturbances.  Sleep is so important to good health.

Again we see that exercise is great medicine!

Current research suggests that exercises targeting fitness, strength, flexibility and balance can reduce pain severity and improve physical function!

  • Tai-chi
  • Yoga, and
  • Pilates are all viable options for exercise.
Yoga Jordan Springs

Renee runs our yoga classes at Jordan Springs. As a physiotherapist, Renee is able to tailor the classes to individual requirements.

If you are interested in getting more physically active or are interested in yoga, our brilliant Physiotherapist Renee Coleman runs a weekly yoga class at our Jordan Springs practice, and our Caringbah team run gentle small group pilates style classes.

If you are experiencing muscular pain and are unsure of the cause, consult your physiotherapist or feel free to contact us if you would like to see one of our great physios!

Kaelin Moodley Physio