Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy questi... - Fibromyalgia Acti...

Fibromyalgia Action UK

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Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy questions

fibrogirl41 profile image

hi I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia since March time it has taken 15 months to get this diagnosed with a rheumatologist. Anyway, I wanted to put this question out there and ask if anyone has had physio for this and do you have to get referred by a doctor and does anyone know if you can get hydrotherapy sessions on the NHS at all as I can't really afford to pay for it at the moment hope everyone out there is OK x ☺️

42 Replies

Hi, it’s a long hard struggle I’m afraid, I’ve had fibro for many years and never been offered physio or hydrotherapy which I don’t think is on the NHS. After diagnosis most of us are left to get on with it , and everything has been made worse because of covid, , good luck

hi thanks for your reply. I feel like that I have just been left to live with it. I hope I do get somewhere thank you and I am sorry you have had it for years I have been struggling for 16 months. good luck to you to. 😊❤️

I second that very true..

Hi there,Just ready this and thought I,d let you know what is happening here where I am in Scotland, OK so for me this all started 27 months ago we are now quite along the line a bit now and I've been diagnosed with fybromyagia, idiopathic peripheral neuropathy and also MGUS.

For me I'm now under the care of the chronic pain management clinic although it goes without saying if I ever need my GP practice then of course they are there but for the bulk of it my GP is happy to step aside and leave me in the hands of the chronic pain management clinic as that's their speciality.

At one of my GP appointments, which is without a doubt always when I'm on a really really bad day and can't see any other way out, I was speaking to the GP, not my normal GP and she recommended sessions in the local NHS hydrotherapy pool where we live, she even googled it for me and told me where it is, which is about 20 mins from where we live, which is fantastic!!!! She then advised it would need to be from a referal from a physiotherapy not a occupational heath therapist(which I got mixed up with) so like the other person on this chat said, you can go online or you can call them, self refer yourself and you will hear back from a therapist who will take all your details and background, medication, doctor info, hopstial stays etc, all this has been now done for me and I've managed to be given sessions in the hydro therapy pool as they think it will be a huge benifit to me and the conditions I have.

It's the same also for physio, if you think you maybe benifit from seeing a physio or you need some aids like I have 2 elbow crutches due to the nerve damage on my feet, it helps me to walk better and keeps the full weight off my feet on the odd occasion I do go out the house like for hospital, consultants, neurologists appointments etc, so if you think you could benefit from seeing or speaking to a physio about anything like that then again, go online, self refer yourself or your GP can do it for you and then when it's your turn, they will call you to again learn about how life is for you? How you manage? What's your conditions? And most importantly how they might be able to help you their side?

And can I just say lastly? Although the NHS is on its knees and we,re still technically going through the pandemic in hospital and GP,s side of it, I've had to wait like we all have for referalls, appointments etc but I've been treated so amazingly well with our NHS and having lived in tenerife I'm one lucky lady as over they're you would get no where without expensive private health care cover. You would be either left to suffer or you would be seen then given the bill after it to which you would probably shock you for life.

Please everyone be patient with our precious NHS system, they truly are worth their weight in gold, are working more and longer than ever and under alot more pressure and with alot more unknown illness,s that have came from covid so please work with them and help them as much as they will help you.

If you do then I'm sure you will reap the rewards and benifit like me.

They truly have been nothing shirt of amazing for me and my family in the last 27 months since this all started for me.

Take care everyone and please stay safe

LC xxxx

Hi fibrogirl41 - most usually your GP/rheumatologist would refer you for physiotherapy; something you shouldn't hesitate to ask about. In some areas you can also self refer. See:

A physio may advise hydrotherapy, so in those instances it would be available on the NHS.

I'm a long retired physio & know how much I loved it when I was in a warm hydrotherapy pool!

fibrogirl41 profile image
fibrogirl41 in reply to CM1EDSUK

hi thanks very much for the link and advice I will look at it and ask the doctor about it. thanks again. 😊

Arymretep profile image
Arymretep in reply to CM1EDSUK

I think this is what Drs should do in theory, but unfortunately it’s not what usually happens, in my experience and that of many on here we have to ask sometimes beg for all these things as it seems with fibrogirl41 she hasnt been advised by her Dr she has had to ask on here., we shouldn’t have to beg, we should get these services automatically like everyone else

Hello 👋

My diagnosis was around February time, so I can relate to that feeling of being landed with so much info and then not knowing what to do next!

My GP referred me to their in-house physio and to my local pain management team (they have their own physio department, too), so as said above - definitely ask your GP to refer you.

As it is a very misunderstood condition, there are so many people who just don’t get what it is - including medical professionals, so you just need to make sure you keep at them to get the help you need.

I think it probably seems like they don’t care, but I think a lot of that is medical professionals not wanting to admit when they’re stumped!

I hope you get some help - the website that goes along with this group is full of great info and the team who monitors this forum and advises via the charity are really great.

Additionally, you’re in the best place being here - so many amazing people here to offer support and advice, as well as a good giggle 💙😁

Wow lucky you to have an in-house physio department, Ithink it all depends what part of the country you live in what treatment you get

I totally agree! It was lucky in one aspect, but he was a total sleazeball and the reason I left that surgery 😅 so these things go in peaks and troughs 😆

Have you tried Epsom salts baths, they contain magnesium which help with the muscle pain.

CM1EDSUK profile image
CM1EDSUK in reply to Arymretep

Re: Epsom salt baths - as the skin is a great barrier, to date there's no medical evidence other than a placebo effect that magnesium baths or sprays are likely effective, i.e. magnesium is not absorbed by the skin. Please see:

I have benefited from Epsom Salts baths in the past, but now live in a property with a wetroom and no bath. So in December I tried a Magnesium Chloride spray, I had my doubts that it would help me. However the pain relief was almost immediate, and up until recently I have used the spray once a day after showering and had little to no pain in my lower legs. Lately the pain in my legs is increasing again, but once I have used the spray the pain subsides. There are a number of articles on line like the one you shared that say that Magnesium cannot be absorbed through the skin and plenty that say it can be absorbed transdermally. Here's a link to several trial results for you to read: As I said when I started using the spray I didn't think it would help, but it did, so not really a placebo effect.

Hope164 profile image
Hope164 in reply to Welshcatlady

Hi, welsh lady, could you tell me which spray you use please x

Welshcatlady profile image
Welshcatlady in reply to Hope164

I've sent you a message. x

Arymretep profile image
Arymretep in reply to CM1EDSUK

There maybe no medical evidence but I couldn’t live without my Epsom salts, placebo or no, you could say the say about any treatment , also as Welshcatlady says the better you magnesium sprays are amazing 👍

CM1EDSUK profile image
CM1EDSUK in reply to Arymretep

Hi Arymretep & with thanks to Welshcatlady for the link you provided. Now I have no wish to be contentious, but I'm a tad wary of info published by a company where their products have been used, as this is definitely a conflict of interest. With 2 of the studies/trials there was no available link to read. Of the remaining 4, one was just an internet 'published' trial, the next was a small study of 8 people, another using a transdermal magnesium spray had a high drop out of 40% with about half of these due to skin irritation; at least they said larger randomized control studies were needed. The last was a decent study of magnesium cream; a small randomized study of 24 people, however one of the authors also had a competing interest. From the link I provided, this latter study only showed a slight increase of serum magnesium via transdermal magnesium-containing cream.

I also know of a member on another forum who has found the same magnesium spray beneficial, & whilst I'm saying there's no medical evidence as yet to support this, & feel it unlikely, perhaps time, & further peer reviewed randomized controlled studies in a larger cohort of patients may tell.

For now, I'd just like a hot tub, please.

Arymretep profile image
Arymretep in reply to CM1EDSUK

To say the truth I've not gone into it that much, I just know that the magnesium spray makes me feel better and that's all that I care about.

I'll be along side you in the hot tub please. LOL.

I read (and as with brain fog cannot now remember) that if you had skin irritation after using a magnesium spray it definately meant that you were deficient in it?

Have you read this anywhere or did I dream this ?!

Mel x

Hi tiredchicklet - sorry, I've read a fair bit around this subject, but haven't read that, & can't particularly see it would make sense IMHO.

If you dreamt it, I dreamt something similar, but can't remember and can't find it. :-/

Looking at the 2017 study again (posted above by @CM1EDSUK) it warns us of relying on magnesium on the skin, as the evidence is scant. So maybe people using cream or Epsom salts should take some pills as well (if possible) - but not full dose? Strange that so many people are saying it helps on the skin.

The range of sprays this company provides are very good and I have read so many positive reviews of the Magnesium Sprays (which also aids sleep in some).

I have malabsorption after a stomach operation so these sprays are one of the only things that work for me in absorbing vitamins and minerals.

My only wish is that they were on prescription ;-)

Hazel_Angelstar profile image

Services available will depend on what is available in your local area

some areas - you can be referred to a pain management physio rather than just a normal physio (it may require going through a pain clinic to get referral to physio)

also, not every area has hydrotherapy available on the nhs

I must be living in the wrong area then lol 😳

Hazel_Angelstar profile image
Hazel_AngelstarAdministrator in reply to Arymretep

They did away with the hydrotherapy pool at our local hospital several years ago - which was a shame as I found it did help

Good Morning fibrogirl41 ,I was diagnosed with FM in Nov 2021. My GP diagnosed me and has already referred me to a physio and asked if I can have hydrotherapy. I had my phone call yesterday to fill forms in over the phone for it. Please ask your GP about it, they can do it.

All the best


fibrogirl41 profile image
fibrogirl41 in reply to JessFM

hi thanks I will do. x

I was given hydrotherapy on the nhs, but only after about 20 years of complaining and I have many other conditions besides fibro. Sadly it didn't help anyway.

My advice, get a hottub. It's there then when you need it as helps so much with the pain levels. Not cheap to run but the way I look at it is, I don't drink, go out much, stopped getting my nails done and spend the money on the hottub so that when the pain levels flair it's there to help

Arymretep profile image
Arymretep in reply to Smithy32

I’d love a hot tub, unfortunately no room 👎

I was supposed to be having hydrotherapy on the NHS over a year ago. I'm still waiting........

Hi, I am currently having physio in a hydrotherapy pool on the NHS. I got ref to a physio by my GP and had an assessment with a physiotherapist who then organized the hydrotherapy sessions. 6 sessions in total at first and then I see the physio to see how I can keep up with exercise out of the pool. I must stress the exercise is to improve balance, stretches, getting more mobile it's not to prepare you for the next marathon. I have a very understanding physio who gets I can't do this every day and I will have days maybe weeks that I may be in a flare. i have tried everything else and was on a real low when i saw my GP so when i got referred i just had to try and see for myself if this would be of any benefit. I can honestly say i can see an improvement and feel a bit more stronger and move better around the home. its early days so i stay open minded . i would recommend people try it for themselves as everyone different it may or may not work for you.

hi thank you for your help and reply. I will see what I can do x 😊

I'm fortunate to have an hydrotherapy hot tub , however if you contact local leisure places they will have them and may arrange a reasonable cost to just use it . I dont know if this is helpful 🙂

I was lucky enough to have it twice.

However, the local hospital's pool is apparently banjaxxed (mind you, I think the local health board, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, are trying to shut the whole hospital down anyway), so the nearest is another hospital about 28 miles away.

Doesn't sound far, but I don't drive and take panic attacks as well as the usual, so a bus trek there and back would undo any good it would do, but I recommend it.

It helped my mobility, pain, and sleep. If you can access it you'll love it.

I was referred to a physio some years back by my GP after the fibro pain got very bad. I made it clear that I was already on a lot of pain medication and wanted something that would help which was more alternative. The physio gave me some exercises which I still do daily which have helped with mobility and flexibility. A few I had to drop as they made th4 fibro pain worse. I was also referred for acupuncture and 6 sessions of hydrotherapy which was all that was allowed.

The hydrotherapy was marvellous as the physio in charge was excellent. It was so much easier to do the exercises and get the best out of them being in deep, really warm water. I admit the first three sessions wiped me out and I could barely move afterwards but by the end of the 4th I really felt the benefit. The physio would have likedmtomgive me and another lady who had fibro more sessions but he wasn't allowed to.

6 years later after a 6 month wait I have had a zoom video call with a specially trained pain relief physio who was going to refer me for Mindfulness, acupuncture with Tens and hydrotherapy. Unfortunately, because of the backlog with covid I will have to wait for over a year for hydrotherapy and have just had a letter to say for the same reason there are no appointments available at the moment for physio.

Different areas have different waiting lists but if you want help dont hesitate just in case it is the same in your area.

hi thanks for your kind message. I am getting a call from the doctor tomorrow for a referral for the physio etc so I will see how it goes along I am glad that it helped you with your recovery. ☺️❤️

Hi. Also you could ask your gp to refer you for a pain management course. I attended one at a Merseyside hospital which included hydrotherapy. It was an excellent course with help/advice etc.

fibrogirl41 profile image
fibrogirl41 in reply to annyroad

hi thanks for that x 🌈 💗 I will see what the doctor says when she rings me x

Hi Fibrogirl,

My GP referred me for a home visit appointment with a Complex Care Nurse who has been excellent.

My medical history is rather "complex" and she and I went through my issues one by one and one of the results was to be referred to a physio. The physio contacted me direct within a couple of days and has visited me for an initial assessment, on which she put together a "package" of low impact exercises that I can do by myself and I have had a couple more visits with her and another physio so there is more than just one person who knows my medical background.

What I have found beneficial is that they fully understand my limitations and that I have needed to cancel at short notice a couple of times when just too ill to move (I am sure you know this feeling). They do not make me feel guilty or pressurised regarding cancelling or not being able to be involved in the physio at times.

The physios are from a Community Rehab Team and have looked at my overall health, not only one condition (fibro) and I feel, in a way, they are like advocates working for my best as they have not only dealt with the physio side of things. They have been able to refer me to consultants for the various issues I suffer too.

They are also helping with my pain meds, which my GP drastically reduced and which has had a huge impact on my life and mobility. It's like a catch 22 situation. If the reduction had never happened I would probably have not needed the physio and all the extra care I now need :-( They are fighting to get my Fentanyl patches to their original level as since they were reduced I am now on Codeine Phosphate too, and dealing with its side effects like constipation etc... I would also rather be one just one addictive opiod than two !!

I will research the hydrotherapy as it is one thing I would love, but again my lack of mobility would make it difficult to get anywhere. But I am sure I have read in the past that it can be prescribed via a GP or NHS.

I would definately try with your GP re the physio due to my positive experiences with them. They have not only helped physically but mentally also :-)

Take Care and apologies for the mini essay of a post x

hi thanks for that x I have had a phone call with the doctor and they are arranging physical therapy for me and hopefully I will get hydrotherapy too x☺️🤣

Just wanted to point out that hydrotherapy can mean exercising or just using hot/warm or cold water to influence skin, temperature regulation, circulation etc.

Most on this thread have meant exercising, but some have meant a hot tub, maybe with whirpool etc. effects?

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