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Fighting Juvenile Fibromyalgia With Physical Therapy

Watching a child in pain is insufferable, but that’s what parents of children who have fibromyalgia experience on a regular basis. Adolescents with juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) are accustomed to chronic pain and tenderness in their joints, muscles, and soft tissue. The syndrome goes hand in hand with other ailments such as poor sleep, irritability, and headaches. Difficulty concentrating, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and depression are also common. Though there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a combination of approaches can help offer relief.

Boston Children’s Hospital reports that two to four percent of individuals in the United States suffer from this condition. Physicians are experiencing a growing number of pediatric patients who have fibromyalgia, and while it causes no damage to the body, it’s a chronic ailment that can last long-term throughout one’s life. The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), states that juvenile fibromyalgia is more common in girls, who are typically diagnosed in adolescence between the ages of thirteen and fifteen.

After receiving a diagnosis from your child’s health care provider, you’ll want to discuss the best possible ways to control symptoms of the condition. Kids Health suggests exercise, stress-relief methods, improved sleep, and healthy lifestyle choices as popular treatment options prior to prescribing medication. Seeking assistance from additional specialists including psychologists, massage therapists, and physical therapists can provide a well-rounded treatment program.

A recent article in Fibromyalgia News Today describes a research program completed at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Participants engaged in five to six hours of physical therapy and occupational therapy per day, along with a minimum of four hours of psychosocial services per week. The findings of the study are reported in The Journal of Pediatrics and reflect a positive outcome. The mean pain score reported by individuals decreased significantly throughout the duration of the program. At a one year follow up, 33 percent of the 64 children who participated in the study reported a pain-free lifestyle.

The physical therapists at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) know that exercising and stretching with fibromyalgia symptoms can be painful. Our specialists tailor a pain-management program to meet each patient’s unique needs. Through slow and targeted exercises performed on a consistent basis, we can help children manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia pain.

For more information on fibromyalgia, visit the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association’s website. SCPT is committed to helping our patients reach their goal of reduced pain to achieve an improved quality-of-life. To develop a therapy program for your child that focuses on the gradual strengthening and stretching of specific muscle groups to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, contact us today at 508-832-2628.