Fibromyalgia, most commonly found in women ages 20 to 50, is characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. Painful areas are called tender points. Tender points are found in the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, and knees. The pain spreads out from these areas and may feel like a deep ache, or a shooting, burning pain.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
The physical therapist’s goals with all treatment are to reduce pain, restore normal joint function and improve muscle function. Physical therapy helps the body to heal itself and prevent future injury.