Friday, September 23, 2011


Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause is unknown. Possible causes or triggers of fibromyalgia include:
  • Physical or emotional trauma
  • Abnormal pain response - areas in the brain that are responsible for pain may react differently in fibromyalgia patients
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Infection, such as a virus, although none has been identified
Fibromyalgia is most common among women aged 20 to 50.
The following conditions may be seen with fibromyalgia or mimic its symptoms:
  • Chronic neck or back pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Lyme disease
  • Sleep disorders


Pain in the main symptom of fibromyalgia. It may be mild to severe.
  • Painful areas are called tender points. Tender points are found in the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, and knees. The pain then spreads out from these areas.
  • The pain may feel like a deep ache, or a shooting, burning pain.
  • The joints are not affected, although the pain may feel like it is coming from the joints.
People with fibromyalgia tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness. For some patients, pain improves during the day and gets worse at night. Some patients have pain all day long.
Pain may get worse with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress.
Fatigue, depressed mood, and sleep problems are seen in almost all patients with fibromyalgia. Many say that they can't get to sleep or stay asleep, and they feel tired when they wake up.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
  • Palpitations
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Tension or migraine headaches

Signs and tests

To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you must have had at least 3 months of widespread pain, and pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 areas, including
  • Arms (elbows)
  • Buttocks
  • Chest
  • Knees
  • Lower back
  • Neck
  • Rib cage
  • Shoulders
  • Thighs
Blood and urine tests are usually normal. However, tests may be done to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.


The goal of treatment is to help relieve pain and other symptoms, and to help a person cope with the symptoms.
The first type of treatment may involve:
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise and fitness program
  • Stress-relief methods, including light massage and relaxation techniques
If these treatments do not work, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant or muscle relaxant. The goal of medication is to improve sleep and pain tolerance. Medicine should be used along with exercise and behavior therapy. Duloxetine (Cymbalta), pregabalin (Lyrica), and milnacipran (Savella) are medications that are approved specifically for treating fibromyalgia.
However, many other drugs are also used to treat the condition, including:
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Other antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pain relievers
  • Sleeping aids
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment. This therapy helps you learn how to:
  • Deal with negative thoughts
  • Keep a diary of pain and symptoms
  • Recognize what makes your symptoms worse
  • Seek out enjoyable activities
  • Set limits
Support groups may also be helpful.
Other recommendations include:
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Practice good sleep routines to improve quality of sleep (See: Sleeping difficulty)
  • Acupressure and acunpuncture
Severe cases of fibromyalgia may require a referral to a pain clinic.

Expectations (prognosis)

Fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder. Sometimes, the symptoms improve. Other times, the pain may get worse and continue for months or years.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health-care provider if you have symptoms of fibromyalgia.


There is no known prevention.

Understanding Pain

Pain is universal. You can trace its trail through time-from toothache evident in fossil remains of a human jawbone to today’s drugstore shelves stacked with pain relievers. Almost half of all Americans seek treatment for pain each year, 7 million from newly diagnosed back pain alone.
Pain is also complex. There are times when it’s beneficial, such as when you grasp a hot iron skillet with a bare hand or stub your toe on an oak dresser at full stride. Like a blaring alarm, pain screams its urgent warning that something is terribly wrong. But other pain-the day after-day ache of arthritis or constant throbbing of a headache-serve no useful purpose. And its relentlessness can be overwhelming. Above all, pain is unique. The discomfort it can cause is as varied as those who experience it. Your degree of pain and how you react to it are the results of your own biological, psychological and cultural makeup.
These insights into the many components involved in the pain process are improving people’s understanding of pain and its treatment.
No longer is pain viewed as just a symptom of another disease. It can become an illness unto itself. Strategies on how best to manage pain are also evolving. For persistent pain, called chronic pain, medication alone often isn’t the best form of treatment. A comprehensive approach that includes exercise, relaxation skills and behavioral changes can help control pain, but without risk of serious side effects.
If you are experiencing pain and are looking for a safe, cost-effective treatment, then physical therapy may be right for you.

Call us for a free patient consult today!
850 763 0603

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Safety First!

Microwavable Containers
Q….What are the safest containers for microwaving foods?
A….Those made from glass and porcelain is generally better choices than those made from plastic. Some plastics, notably those with a #3 OR #7 recycling symbol, can contain BPA, a chemical that’s linked to reproductive and other health problems. BPA can leach from plastic into food, especially at high temperatures. Plastic containers without BPA may be safer, but even they can degrade at high temperatures. That’s particularly true for single use containers such as margarine tubs. If you cover food in the microwave with plastic wrap, leave space so that they don’t touch, since that can transfer chemicals to your meal. Don’t put too much stock in the term “microwave safe”. That usually just means the product contains no metal, not that it’s BPA-free or able to withstand high heat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meet our Physical Therapist......Lori

After sustaining a sports-related hip injury as a teenager, my brief encounter into the world of Physical Therapy sparked my interest. I realized then just how important a healthy physical body is to enable anyone to go about their daily lives and to do the things we enjoy!
I’ve been practicing Physical Therapy since 1987 and I now have an even greater appreciation for this health care profession. I see it working everyday in the successful treatment of acute and chronic pain, dysfunctions, post-surgical healing, and prevention of injuries and disease processes. I love working directly with people to assist them in feeling better, maximizing their quality of life and staying well. Physical Therapy can also positively affect a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being.
I really feel blessed to live and work in Panama City and my goal is to provide each client with respect and care to the best of my ability.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Best Exercise for Fat Loss

Q…I have heard that in order to burn fat you must exercise moderately for at least 40 minutes, and that vigorous exercise burns sugar but not fat. Does that mean I should avoid high-intensity workouts if I want to lose weight?
A…Not necessarily. It’s true that the body burns more fat than sugar during prolonged, easy-to-moderate exercise, but uses mainly sugar during hard exercise. However, researchers have not determined whether physiological difference in fuel consumption translates into any meaningful difference in the amount of fat you would lose. What they do know is that you’ll shed both fat and pounds if you consistently burn more calories than you take in from food. And the average person can do moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for much longer time than a vigorous one like running-and therefore burn significantly more calories overall. However, harder exercise can help you shed pounds if you use a special technique called interval training, in which you weave short bursts of vigorous exercise into a season of easier activity. Because the bursts generally don’t cause much fatigue, you should still be able to exercise for a long time, and thus burn even more calories than if you stuck with a moderate pace only.

The Risks of Ankle Weights

Q…..Is it OK to wear ankle weights during exercise if you have varicose veins?
A…NO-but the reason has nothing to do with varicose veins. In fact, weights might help that condition by acting like compression stockings and by strengthening the leg muscles. However, ankle weights can put excessive strain on the knee and hip joints; that makes weights generally inappropriate for aerobic workouts, regardless of the health of your veins. A better way to intensify such workouts it to gradually boost the pace or duration by no more than 10 percent per week.

Friday, September 2, 2011


You may have noticed all the articles that have been written recently promoting walking as a perfect form of exercise. Walking is easy on your joints, nearly everyone can do it and there is minimal equipment needed to participate. In fact, nearly 90% of adults aged 44-56 listed walking as their favorite form of exercise in a recent survey conducted by Del Webb.

There are definite benefits of walking to both your physical and mental wellness. On the physical side, walking burns calories and can have a significant impact on your figure. Need proof? Read on:
A University of Tennessee in Knoxville study with pedometers revealed women who averaged more than 10,000 steps a day had 40% less body fat and waist and hip measurements that were four to six inches narrower than those who averaged fewer than 6,000 steps. (Los Angeles Times)
Another great example of the benefits of walking is a look at the Amish:
Researchers measured the steps of 98 Amish adults with pedometers and found men took an average of 18,425 steps a day and women took 14,196. Compare that to about 4,000 steps for the average American adult, and it is easy to see why only 4% of Amish adults are obese, versus 31% of the general population. (Cooking Light)
There are also major benefits of walking as it relates to stress and other mental wellness issues. When you are walking, you can separate yourself from some of the stress in your day. It gives you a break from your computer, your phone and your Blackberry. Since you are not learning a new skill, you can focus your attention on relationships, solving problems, your purpose in life, or just enjoy the scenery.
Again, walking is easy and can be accomplished almost anywhere. You have a head start as you are already accumulating steps throughout the day – these steps count!
Taking a walk provides an opportunity for you to brainstorm, spend time with family and friends, or just decompress after a full day. You can walk indoors or outdoors. You can walk alone or with family and friends. You can walk at work, in your home, while shopping, while on vacation, or as a planned activity. WalkStyles wants to help you achieve the physical and mental benefits of living a walking lifestyle. For more about how we began, read how WalkStyles got started.
To maximize the benefits from walking, you may need to work on increasing your steps each day. A great goal for all of us is to do a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.