|Fibromyalgia is a skeletal-muscular disorder, producing pain all over the body combined with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. About 18 years ago, physicians in the United States used to diagnose patients with fibromyalgia symptoms as having psychosomatic disorders, and routinely referred these sufferers for psychiatric care. The reason for this line of thinking was that following lab tests and x-rays, they could not find evidence to support the pain, clinical depression, etc., that the patients were exhibiting and complaining of.
In recent years scientists have conducted numerous research studies that did not shed any light on the causes of fibromyalgia syndrome. The main theory today says that for unknown reasons (possibly physical trauma, hormone changes, or exposure to toxins) the levels and activities of serotonin in the brain are decreased, and as a result, various symptoms develop.
Serotonin (a brain signal chemical) is one of 12 neurotransmitters in our body and is responsible for our “awake” status. People suffering from clinical depression usually test for low levels of serotonin. If this theory is correct, then it follows that the patient must take medications (such as Prozac) to raise the level of serotonin. But after many years of drug treatments, there are usually no results, and patients end up caught in this cycle of treatment and suffering.
There is another theory about fibromyalgia. As a result of hormonal changes (explaining why most victims are women), exposure to toxic materials, and physical and psychological traumas, all the muscles in the body start to accumulate tension. Over time, this tension in the muscles can become so great that it can cause disturbances in the micro-circulation. In this case, pain receptors become activated, and a low-grade level of pain starts to be transmitted to the central nervous system. After a period of time (varies among individuals, sometimes from one to two months) of constantly experiencing this low-grade pain, in an act of defense from this bombarding of low-grade pain, the body starts to reduce the level of serotonin. If left untreated, patients with fibromyalgia symptoms will develop depression (due to the reduced levels of serotonin), chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.
As you see, everything starts on the level of muscles, and therefore must be treated on the level of muscles. In Volume 3 of Boris Prilutsky’s Medical Massage DVD series, Boris shows in detail how to properly perform Medical Massage techniques on Fibromyalgia patients.