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Is it really Fybromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia? Is it really?

Fibromyalgia is often used as a catchall diagnosis for a list of symptoms that doctors either can not or don’t want to spend the time to figuring out what is really wrong. The term helps in that it allows a doctor to communicate to another doctor a whole set of symptoms that a patient has. Though many patients when told they have fibromyalgia give up and believe that they are stuck with the pain and work instead on learning to cope with the symptoms.


Common fibromyalgia symptoms include deep muscle pain, fatigue, morning stiffness, headaches, sleep problems, constipation or diarrhea, memory problems, and anxiety or depression. But not all people with fibromyalgia suffer the same symptoms. I believe that most people diagnosed with fibromyalgia really just have some soft tissue injuries that are causing the symptoms.

Of course as a massage therapist I see several thousand patients every year and almost all of them have most if not all of these same symptoms. Through massage therapy almost all of them get better and eventually don’t need my services any longer and return to pain free life.

When you take a look at the symptoms many of them come as a result of the top 2 or 3 symptoms. For example if you have deep muscle pains are fatigued and are having problems sleeping. You probably are feeling anxious, depressed and are experiencing head aches.


The most common exercises that help is swimming and walking. This is also true for patients with soft tissue injuries. When you increase exercise it promotes your bodies natural ability to heal by producing the natural chemicals that aid in sleep and muscle reconstruction.


Insomnia is a big problem in people with fibromyalgia. Research has shown that if you take completely healthy people and disrupt their sleep for 6 weeks that many of them will develop fibromyalgia symptoms but as soon as they get back on a normal sleep pattern their symptoms go away. Research shows that frequent disruptions in sleep prevent growth hormone -- an important restorative hormone -- from being produced by the body. Without growth hormone, muscles don't fully heal and neurotransmitters (like serotonin) are not replenished.

Without deep sleep, the body can't recuperate from the day's stresses. This can overwhelm the body’s systems, creating a great sensitivity to pain.

In some patients with fibromyalgia, there is an underlying cause for insomnia, such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea, or a whole slew of soft tissue injuries.

Other diseases with the same symptoms

Llyme disease, hypo thyroidism, lupus, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, graves disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV, AIDS, and over 100 other autoimmune diseases. So a doctors job is not easy. They try and rule out diseases but just like fibromyalgia each of these other diseases have a wide variety of symptoms.

Soft tissue injuries and Myofascial pain set up a whole series of problems and symptoms that mimic most of these diseases. Myofascial pain is quite common and all of the other diseases are quite rare. So it seems to me that using massage therapy early on makes a whole lot of sense.

Written By

Peter Spairring L.M.P.

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