On Track Physiotherapy

Fibromyalgia in Ann Arbor

Finding Relief from Fibromyalgia with Physical Therapy in Ann Arbor

If you’re one of over 5 million American adults suffering from widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive issues, and sleep problems due to fibromyalgia, you know how debilitating this chronic condition can be. The good news is that research shows customized physical therapy can be highly effective at managing fibromyalgia symptoms and improving quality of life.

At On Track Physiotherapy, our experienced physical therapists utilize a combination of hands-on techniques, targeted exercises, and lifestyle education tailored to each fibromyalgia patient. We can help you successfully manage pain, regain strength and flexibility, improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and return to the active lifestyle you deserve.

How Fibromyalgia in Ann Arbor Impacts Your Life

Fibromyalgia is often misunderstood and frequently undiagnosed. The hallmark symptom is chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, though the specific locations can vary person to person. Other common symptoms include:

  • Severe fatigue and low energy
  • Non-restorative sleep and insomnia
  • “Brain fog” – problems with memory, focus, and concentration
  • Anxiety, depression and mood disorders
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Pelvic pain or painful bladder syndrome

For many with fibromyalgia, symptoms are constantly present to some degree. But symptom severity often waxes and wanes unpredictably. Flare ups can be caused by emotional or physical stressors, poor sleep patterns, weather changes and other unknown factors.

This debilitating mix of symptoms prevents many fibromyalgia patients from fully participating in work, social activities, relationships, exercise and other aspects of life. Simple everyday tasks become increasingly difficult and feelings of isolation and hopelessness are common. But with the right treatment approach, significant symptom relief and functional improvements are possible!

How Physical Therapy Helps Fibromyalgia

While there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, physical therapists play a crucial role in effectively managing symptoms. Our goal is to help you improve function in daily activities, decrease widespread pain, increase endurance and strength, and develop self-management strategies.

We utilize an integrated treatment approach that may include:

  • Pain Relief Modalities – Hands-on manual therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation and other modalities can temporarily reduce musculoskeletal pain and stiffness.
  • Customized Exercise Prescriptions – Carefully tailored stretching, low-impact cardio training, and strength training improves flexibility, endurance and body mechanics.
  • Posture and Body Mechanics Training – We identify and correct problematic movement patterns that contribute to pain and instability. Guidance is provided on proper positioning for daily activities.
  • Relaxation and Stress Management Training – Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, journaling and other relaxation techniques help quiet the nervous system and manage stress levels.

Additionally, we provide extensive education on the nature of fibromyalgia, treatment options, flare-up causes, medication usage, proper pacing/planning to avoid overexertion, and more. We empower you with the knowledge and tools to successfully self-manage your condition long-term.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Our goal is helping you achieve meaningful improvements in the following areas through consistent participation in physical therapy:

Decreased Pain and Discomfort

  • 30-60% reductions in pain ratings are common among fibromyalgia patients actively engaged in physical therapy.
  • Manual techniques, modalities and postural corrections help ease muscle and joint pain.
  • Targeted exercises improve strength, flexibility and body mechanics for long-term pain relief.

Increased Functional Abilities

  • Improved capacity to participate in work, social events, travel and recreational activities you enjoy.
  • Enhanced ability to perform routine household and self-care tasks independently.
  • Higher energy levels and less activity avoidance due to pain/fatigue.

Enhanced Mood and Outlook

  • Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters that elevate mood.
  • Achieving functional goals provides a sense of accomplishment.
  • Support groups decrease feelings of isolation.

Improved Sleep Quality

  • 70-80% of fibromyalgia patients experience poor sleep quality.
  • Relaxation training and careful scheduling of exercise can improve sleep.
  • Decreased pain levels also contribute to improved sleep.

Through consistent participation in the physical therapy program our therapists design specifically for you, most patients experience substantial improvements in pain levels, stamina, strength, flexibility and overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about physical therapy treatment of fibromyalgia:

Does fibromyalgia ever go away?
Unfortunately no, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition without a cure at this time. Many patients experience periods of symptom flare ups and remission throughout their lives. The goal of treatment is effective long-term management to keep symptoms at bay and function at the highest level possible during periods of remission.

What are the 7 signs of fibromyalgia?
In addition to widespread pain, some other hallmark fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  1. Extreme fatigue
  2. Non-restorative Sleep
  3. Memory and concentration issues
  4. Mood disturbances
  5. Headaches
  6. IBS symptoms
  7. Sensitivity to smell, noise, touch

What does it feel like to live with fibromyalgia?
The combination of chronic widespread pain, debilitating fatigue, “brain fog”, insomnia and other symptoms often leave fibromyalgia patients feeling frustrated, hopeless and isolated. Pain and exhaustion makes it difficult to participate in normal work, social and family activities many take for granted. Relationships often suffer as a result. Developing self-care strategies and finding the right balance between activity and rest is crucial but challenging. Having a strong support system makes coping much easier.

Meet Your Fibromyalgia Physical Therapy Team

At On Track Physiotherapy our entire staff appreciates the sensitivities surrounding fibromyalgia and related conditions. We work collaboratively with your other healthcare providers to offer a fully integrated treatment approach. Meet our physical therapy team:

Dr. Greg Schaible PT, DPT – Clinic Director & Lead Therapist

With years of experience, Dr. Greg Schaible has a special interest in chronic pain management stemming from his personal experiences helping family members who suffer from fibromyalgia. He stays up-to-date on the latest fibromyalgia research and treatments.

Dr. Morgan Kennedy PT, DPT
Dr. Morgan Kennedy utilizes hands-on manual therapy techniques to provide temporary relief from muscular tightness and joint stiffness that contribute to discomfort. She also prescribes specific exercise plans to address flexibility and strength deficits.

Start Feeling Better Today

If you’re struggling with pain and dysfunction due to fibromyalgia, we urge you to explore how customized physical therapy can help you achieve meaningful symptom relief and restore activity levels. Call us at 734-972-6529 or request an appointment online to schedule a thorough evaluation and start designing your roadmap for feeling better!

We look forward to helping you effectively manage your fibromyalgia so you can get back to living life to the fullest!

About The Author

Imagine overcoming limitations and regaining your physical strength. Dr. Greg Schaible, a licensed Physical Therapist in Certified Strength & Conditioning and Sports Rehab, has helped countless individuals like you do just that. Practicing at On Track Physiotherapy in Ann Arbor, Dr. Greg Schaible believes in tailored care and utilizes innovative techniques to create unique solutions for each patient’s journey.

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Aaron A

My oldest (13) has worked with Morgan for the past few months- with results appearing almost immediately. A variety of different modalities punctuates a comprehensive regimine designed to not just get him back on the field, but keep him there. The progress he made was immense. Friendly and personable staff, no frills office and workspace, no wasted effort, and results beyond expectation. You will not find another practice that cares more about their clients. I cannot recommend ‘On Track’ enough. Five stars.

Danny Mingledorff

I contacted On Track because of a nagging hamstring injury and concern about my ability to run the Free Press half marathon. Morgan identified the source of the issue and worked with me to come up with a routine I could do at home. I was able to run the half without the extreme discomfort I had been experiencing and performed much better than my training had indicated. Morgan has a great personality and really works with the client to diagnose the root cause and prepare a treatment plan to enable you to reach your desired outcome.