Fibromyalgia is a chronic nervous system disorder, which is not associated with autoimmune or inflammation-related conditions. Although the condition does not cause any direct damage to tissues of the body, it may cause weakening of the muscles, leading to secondary problems.
People with rheumatic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis, are more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by several co-morbid psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
What causes fibromyalgia?
It is believed that repeated stimulation of nerves in the brain alters the level of certain neurotransmitters that are responsible for pain-related signaling. Moreover, pain receptors in the brain develop a kind of pain memory, which makes them extra sensitive and overreactive to pain signals. The levels of two principle neurotransmitters namely serotonin and norepinephrine are found to be reduced in the cerebrospinal fluid of fibromyalgia patients. Many studies indicate that reduced levels of these neurotransmitters are responsible for reduced ‘conditioned pain modulation’ (a psychophysical process of measuring endogenous pain inhibitory pathway) in fibromyalgia patients.
Living with fibromyalgia
Chronic pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia greatly interfere with patient’s day-to-day activity and social behavior, leading to reduced quality of life.
The treatments including acupuncture, cognitive behavioural therapy, chiropractic, manual massages focus on temporary alleviation of pain and stress levels. Medication with analgesics and antidepressants give some relief.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a form of a massage when lymph vessels are gently massaged to mobilize lymphatic fluid. It stimulates the lymphatic system, helps regulate the immune system and clears blockages, eliminates metabolic waste and toxins from the body, and reduces excess fluid. MLD stroking techniques reduce fibromyalgia pain. Slow skin-stretching, pumping techniques returns pooled blood and interstitial fluid back into the circulatory system, thus increasing blood flow to the body. Touch receptors in the skin send the impulses to the brain. When inhibitory cells in the brain receives the impulses, they passes this on as an inhibition. That causes an inhibition of the pain and pain transmission.
MLD should not be confused with a traditional massage. It is specifically focused on the lymph vessels to help the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Regular Lymphatic drainage treatments reduces pain, decrease water retention, soften the soft tissue, improve chronic venous insufficiency and venous edema, reduce heaviness and fatigue of the legs.