Self Massage for Managing Fibromyalgia Pain
Massage can be a very effective way to manage fibromyalgia pain. Ideally massage should be done by a registered remedial therapist, and possibly one with a specialty in fibromyalgia pain and pain from related disorders. But you can also use self massage to relieve some fibro symptoms between therapist treatments. Just be careful not to use self massage as the only fibromyalgia treatment and continue other treatments as well.
Type of Fibromyalgia Pain
As you've probably experienced, fibromyalgia can cause widespread pain. You can't treat the widespread pain, but you can treat some of the sorest or most tender points with self massage. While the muscle pain experienced can vary from person to person, there are a few points the majority of sufferers find uncomfortable. The pain is often localized and starts in the joints which then causes joint swelling. The joint swelling ultimately irritates the muscles. The muscles become painful, weaken and eventually cause mobility problems.
The neck and shoulders are two of the main areas fibromyalgia suffers experience muscular pain. These are the same spots non-sufferers experience pain because they're areas that naturally accumulate stress. But the pain can be more intense for fibromyalgia sufferers.
The chronic pain fibro afflicted experience can cause them to hold themselves differently. An unnatural stance can cause additional stress in the problem areas of the back, shoulders and neck.
Trigger Point Massage
In many cases the pain in most trigger points can be relieved or reduced by just a little bit of pressure through simple self massage. Often a few moments of gentle rubbing a couple times a day can make a significant difference. Try treating yourself with six to 12 self massage treatments daily with each "session" consisting of 20 to 30 kneading strokes.
General Massage Techniques
There's no specific hard and fast rule about how you should rub the trigger point. Depending on the location and the sensitivity of the sore point, you can rub with the pads of your fingertips or thumbs. You can even use your elbow, thumbs or fist. Press the trigger point directly and hold for several seconds. Or you can gently massage the area with small circles or kneading strokes. Try to stroke parallel to the muscle fibers, if you can tell their direction.
The goal is to provide some pressure. But as a fibromyalgia sufferer you know how sensitive those trigger points can be. Create an internal scale of one to 10 with 10 being insufferable and one being where you can barely feel anything. Aim for the five to seven range, if you can handle the discomfort. If you can't, be gentler. Rub or put pressure on the trigger point for at least 30 seconds and as long as five minutes. Try to treat key pressure points daily. You may want to consider treating ultra sensitive points several times a day.
Use a Tennis Ball
Sometimes it's too painful to use your hands or other parts of your body to provide the necessary pressure on your tender points. Other times you may not have the strength to create sufficient pressure. That's where the proper use of a tennis ball can be especially beneficial.
A tennis ball for fibromyalgia self massage is very easy to use. All you need to do is find a way to rub the ball back and forth over the painful muscle. You can use your own body against body pressure. Or you can use a hard object like a wall and lean your body against it with the ball on the sore spot. For a deeper massage, simply use more pressure.
If treating pressure points using a wall, keep your feet 12 inches or more away from the wall to create enough pressure to relieve the pain.