The causes of Fibromyalgia are not well understood, but the symptoms are documented in over 5 million Americans, according to the CDC. Stiffness, tingling, numbness, pain – in areas of the body not affected by disease or disorder. It occurs in over 3% of women, and less than 1% in men, and is described as general and persistent pain in various parts of the body.
A study at the University of Maryland found that many of their subjects found some relief in warm water therapy, such as that found in a bubbling hot tub or spa.
And I myself, as I have aged, have found myself victim to aches and pains in my joints, but also sometimes in odd areas, like my heels or mid-thigh. It sometimes starts just as a low numbness, but can tighten itself up into a pinching sharp pain.
Hot water and gentle movements restores blood flow to an area under blood constriction. Blood flow brings oxygen, and by just soaking, breathing and stretching, I can feel the pain slowly give up. A few times a month, my spa sessions are just like that – more therapy than anything else. I always find relief in my tub, and usually for the rest of the night, so I can sleep peacefully, without restless legs, or just feeling achy all over. That’s what it’s like sometimes.
It helps me to imagine that while I am taking deep, slow breaths in the hot tub, that I am directing the breath to the sore areas; that I am actually breathing the air all the way down to the painful area, whether it’s near my nose – in my neck, or down in my feet.
Rheumatologists have different ways of responding to fibromyalgia, and may include treatment in the following
- Pharmaceuticals for pain management
- Physical therapy and movement therapy
- Massage or Hydrotherapy
- Nutritional and Sleep analysis
- Acupuncture or Network chiropractic
Some doctors have noticed differences in brain chemical activity during fibromyalgia episodes of pain. The perception of pain in different areas of the body is not felt until the brain responsible for pain acknowledgment in that area is signaled by neurotransmitters. Low serotonin levels in the same area have also been noted.
Many nutritional and herbal therapies are now being tested for efficacy in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but there is no cure as of yet. Until they figure it out, I know one place that I can find relief – in my hot tub! Leave a comment if you also find that hot water helps!
Hot Tub Works