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Educational

Treating Patients with Pain Series: Fibromyalgia

PAIN induced by injury, surgery, inflammation, disease, etc. can be difficult to treat. Exploring natural options to rehab and recovery have proven successful and increasingly popular. This is the second in a series addressing how non-traditional methods like aquatic therapy can offer positive results and success in rehabilitation and recovery outcomes for patients dealing with pain.

Pain affects work, social relationships, mood, family and daily activities.

Avoiding pain, dealing with pain and relieving pain are the main goals of therapy. The second part of our series focuses on fibromyalgia and how patients can benefit from aquatic therapy.

Aquatic Therapy Recommended for Fibromyalgia Patients

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and tenderness in localized areas. Symptoms include sleep problems, memory and mood issues, and decreased activity/aerobic tolerance, secondary to increased pain. Recommended treatment plans vary because fibromyalgia is classified as a subjective disorder, meaning there are no visible signs/symptoms of the disease.

If you treat patients dealing with fibromyalgia, learn how water can alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms:

In an article Water Workouts Ease Fibromyalgia Pain, by Naomi Feuer, MD, “exercising in a warm pool offers multiple benefits for people with fibromyalgia who avoid traditional land-based physical activity because it is too painful. Water workouts can improve overall fitness while putting less stress on the body.”

Exercising in an underwater treadmill or pool is inherently different than on land because of the natural properties of water: buoyancy, resistance and hydrostatic pressure.

Feuer also explains the following:

  • Buoyancy eases stress on the joints, and its warmth helps tight muscles relax. This reduces stiffness and alleviates muscle spasms, resulting in greater flexibility and range of motion than is possible with land-based activities.
  • Warm water temperatures promote muscle relaxation, reduce muscle and joint stiffness, and alleviate muscle spasms. This, in turn, will increase the patient’s overall flexibility and range of motion. The soothing effects of warm water may also reduce the perception of pain, which results in decreased anxiety and improvement in mood and sleep patterns.
  • Hydrostatic Pressure proves to be the most beneficial to those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome.
  1. Continuous pressure boosts heart and lung strength/lung capacity which results in increased activity tolerance/endurance for the patient, increasing their quality of life.
  2. Hydrostatic pressure of water pushes edema from limbs/joints mimicking the function of compression/TED stockings,
  3. Constant resistance to the body continually signals nerve endings. As a result, the nervous system responds by automatically reducing tactile sensations (the feeling of touch). This dulls muscle pain and makes it easier for the patient to move/workout.
  4. It increases circulation and venous return which moves deoxygenated blood to the heart and lungs and supplies oxygenated blood cells to muscles to decrease build-up of lactic acid. This will decrease the risk for post workout soreness.

Other benefits of water that soothe pain of fibromyalgia are explained in Everyday Health, How Water-Based Therapies Can Ease Fibromyalgia Symptoms, by Kate Jackson and Samuel Mackenzie, MD, PhD:

The AquaFit underwater treadmill system is ideal for the treatment of fibromyalgia because the unit allows the treatment to be completely customized to the patient. Through the adjustment of water temperature, water height and treadmill speed, each session is individualized to the patient’s comfort level and activity/exercise tolerance.

Hudson Aquatic Systems designs, engineers and manufactures the highest quality performance aquatic systems, therapy pools, swim spas, and underwater treadmills. We strive to exceed our customers’ expectations before, during and after the sale in order to build life-long relationships and improve the lives that utilize our products.

To find out more about Hudson’s underwater treadmills and custom therapy pools in order to help treat your patients dealing with pain, contact us.