Physiotherapy and Fibro: It has come to... - Fibromyalgia Acti...

Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Physiotherapy and Fibro


It has come to my attention that a few of our members here have struggled to access useful physiotherapy. This is such a shame as appropriate physiotherapy can make such a difference to someone with Fibro and may actually be an essential part of getting control of your symptoms.

I have therefore copied some information that I posted as a comment elsewhere, so that hopefully more of you can use it. I would like us to produce a 'Fibro & Physio' factsheet, but there's only so much we can do at any one time!

Here is what we say people should get from physio with Fibro:

* Assessment to check for anything not related to Fibro (joint impingement, swelling, etc - often a physio will be the first healthcare professional to really look at your body).

* Assessment for hypermobility, if not already diagnosed.

* Exercises to strengthen joints without straining them, to protect the hypermobile joints and prevent future injury.

* Assessment for postural imbalances. Particular attention should be paid to the spine area, because of the implications of Postural Cervical Cord Compression (PC3) on Fibro.

* A graded program of prescribed stretches and exercises to correct any postural imbalances (ie. start very slowly and gradually build up - the physio shouldn't expect you to do too much at first).

* Teaching you how to exercise in a good neutral posture - without putting strain on your neck.

* Assessment for myofascial trigger points and wider areas of restriction.

* Stretches to help relieve myofascial restrictions.

* Possibly trigger point release manual therapies to help relieve what myofascial restrictions you have at that time that are most problematic.

* Possibly referral to hydrotherapy if this is in the hands of the physio department. Advice should be given on all the above points to enable you to get the most from hydrotherapy though.

Everything in that list apart from trigger point release manual therapies are assessments and physio treatments that you can take forward after your sessions with the physio end. They are aspects in which a physio can really help someone with Fibro long-term.

Many physiotherapists do seem to offer Fibro patients treatments which only have a short-lived effect - e.g. direct trigger point release or acupuncture. But they could use their time so much better by giving you the assessments and skills that you need to move forwards.

24 Replies

I have been referred to physio several times over the years the most recent just before Christmas, the only things I have came away with was a couple of sheets on simple exercises, a short term course of acupuncture and most recent a short term loan of a tens machine (2 Weeks) I have even stopped going to doctors as there really is no point They are sympathetic, but its like there really is nothing we can do just take some more painkillers and gentle exercise arghhhhh....

LindseyMid in reply to calcait

I really do feel that it's necessary that everyone with a chronic condition educates themselves so they can go to appointments and say "I'm here for x, y, z" and not get fobbed off - it's pretty clear that there isn't going to be widespread education amongst medical professionals about all the chronic conditions out there!


i have just been to the Physio this morning, and expected to just have my neck played with, but was pleasantly surprised when she gave me a good check over and talked to me about Fibromyalgia, she is starting a gentle exercise program with me next week and she wants to refer me to hydrotherapy, she explained how all this will help me, but i must be prepared to participate (which i am, anything that my help is worth a try) i will keep you informed x

LindseyMid in reply to jolee

Make sure she covers how to exercise to protect both your joints and your neck. If you haven't been shown how to maintain a neutral posture whilst exercising, ask her to do this before you start anything new.

jolee in reply to LindseyMid

I will thank you Lindsey x x x

I found that the Input programe Guys & St Thomas Hospital was excellent

it helped with Pain a lot

it is a 4wk course dealing with physio psychology OT

it makes a real difference

Brother in Pain


VonnyM in reply to Rubberman

Youre lucky to get any treatment at guys on nhs

LindseyMid in reply to VonnyM

Guys Hospital has a multidisciplinary NHS Clinic for Fibromyalgia:

The INPUT program at St Thomas' (the 2 hospitals are run together) is an NHS inpatient program for pain management.

Hi everyone,

I'm new on here and have not long been diagnosed with Fibro & i also have alot other health issues including Psoriatic Arthritis, Epilepsy & have suffered from a brain tumour, I haven't been put on any medication yet - just waiting on my next appointment for that one but I do have a physiotherapy appointment in a few weeks time & i don't know what to expect really ? I'm still very new to all this & don't know much about Fibro yet only what i have read from the leaflet & internet so far i haven' met anyone else who suffers to chat to them !

I also have a daughter who has Cystic Fibrosis so we have a very hectic life style hospital wise ! lol I look forward to chatting to others and learning more about fibro. thanks everyone, take care & enjoy your evening as much as you can ! xx

I didn't know about anything other than gradual increasing in physio exercises was basically done.

I went through two assessments, one in December by a Physiotherapist, and a second in January by an Occupational Therapist. The OT one seemed to concentrate on the effects of fibro and my hand problems caused by RA and CTS when assessing me.

Basically all the advice I got was she was giving me a gradual increase in activities and I would eventually have more energy apparently. Not buying it as after pointing out the massive increase in pain I have been living in shoving my pain level to a constant 9 out of 10 after the third time I repeated this through her ramblings all I got was, "Oh that's just fibro pain, that doesn't matter!".

Needless to say all confidence I had in her ability to actually 'help' me died a quick and sudden death there and then.

I complained about high pain, numbness in my hands, cramping shooting pain and even more fatigue/exhaustion which I thought impossible. The only thing she gave me? 2 pairs of hand splints and more 'activities' she wanted me to do around the house to 'build up' my stamina.

She even suggested I ask the council to put me on the list for my own flat because they wouldn't put the walk in shower into the council house I share with my parents b/c our bath is upstairs. And 'wasn't that a great idea?!'.

Don't think she got the fact I was being sarcastic when I said No!!

LindseyMid in reply to Lioslaith

An OT isn't qualified to prescribe exercises - this should be done by a physiotherapist. OTs can advise on adaptations, aids and ways to live your life better with your condition.

Even with a physiotherapist, you do need to educate yourself so that you can either educate them (by saying "I'm here for x, y, z", etc) or check them if they say something incorrect or suggest something not of most help (e.g. if they suggest you use your 6 appointments to only try acupuncture).

HiddenThis reply has been deleted

I've been going to phyiso now for almost two years, and have a very good phyiso who has helped me get out of my powerchair .

Three yrs ago I was in my chair 24/7 as trying to walk was so painfull but with a good dr who sent me to him at the local hospital , I have managed to walk from 0 to 10 meters with crutches then to 30,109 and now 207 meters with crutches but this did take 40 mins to do and I was knacard but exercise does help as well as a good posture as I was leaning forward when using crutches .



Only just found this post, I did ask if anyone had been to physio in questions. This was very helpful, thank you. Is there a fact sheet available ?

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