Fibromyalgia patients often experience a variation in the therapeutic approach strongly dependent on their doctor’s opinion on the cause of the disorder. In fact, the origins of fibromyalgia remain unknown, and the attempts to explain their pathogenic causes are still too weak to establish a standard evidence-based treatment. Unfortunately, this situation leads to frequent changes of doctor, which is very harmful for a successful therapy. Plus, patients do not always believe that great part of the therapeutic potential lies in themselves.
In order to evaluate the therapeutic importance of cold, it is assumed that fibromyalgia is mainly related to a stress and pain management disorder whose characteristics are:
● Chronic development
● Pain of variable intensity throughout the body
● The possibility of a variety of vegetative, functional and mental disorders.
Main symptoms of fibromyalgia
● Spontaneous musculoskeletal pain for more than three months near the spine, between the muscles surrounding the joints, and low pain threshold.
● General increase of tactile sensitivity or when moving the aching areas.
● Memory disturbances.
● Fatigue and asthenia.
● Sleep disorders.
● Morning joint stiffness.
● Headache and migraine.
● Casual depressive mood and state of anxiety.
● Decrease of stress tolerance.
A multi-modal approach is always pursued when treating fibromyalgia. It includes several parts which are not to be forgotten when Whole-body Cryotherapy is used, such as:
Whole-body Cryotherapy has been successfully used for some time now to treat fibromyalgia, but it is only to be used if the patient tolerates it and it does not affect negatively their overall status. However, patients that have gone through heat treatments are often reluctant to believe in therapeutic cold. Nevertheless, people usually change their mind after a test session.
Whole-body Cryotherapy can be objectively proved as better than heat treatments through methods such as the measurement of pain, since chronic pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia.
Pain in soft parts comes first, and it is often quite severe. There is also a tendency to muscle fatigue. The result: restrictions on joint mobility. After 20 or 30 exposures to cold, great improvements can be achieved. The success rate ranges between 40% and 80 %. These oscillations depend on the possibility of developing a memory for pain. In the interest of a sustainable success, Whole-body Cryotherapy should be combined, if possible, with activation treatments. It is recommended to practice gymnastic exercises within the 3 hours following the cold session. This will slowly increase physical activity and avoid pain. The tension and stretching of muscles should not last long. It must be kept in mind that pain and tension can interfere in the muscle groups to varying degrees. The result is often a cautious attitude towards these muscle groups at the expense of others. The gymnastics have the aim of achieving a balance between these differences. A moderate and controlled endurance exercise can complement the therapeutic exercise program. It is of vital importance to find your own limits and try not to overdo competition exercises, respect fatigue, write down your improvements without pain and admit your results with a positive attitude.
Therefore, Whole-body Cryotherapy can help regulate the level of the affected areas activity. This has a positive influence on sleep disorders that usually come with fibromyalgia, as well as on the depressive mood occasionally observed. Both sleep disorders and depressive mood are usually caused by chronic pain. Thanks to the decrease of pain and balancing effect of cold, it is possible to reach a state of restful sleep after a few days. The effects of the combination of Whole-body Cryotherapy and progressive muscle relaxation by Jacobson have been proved. This technique, along with the interaction with the resulting process of emotional balance, allows appreciating the state of muscle tension and relaxation.
The strong stimulus of cold throughout the body has a regulating effect of the state of capillary walls tension on a superficial level. This, coupled with a physical activity adapted to the capacities of each patient, leads to better mood.
The increase of irrigation of muscles described after the exposure to cold throughout the body might also lead to a regulation of metabolism in musculature and thus to a decrease of general malaise.
Finally, according to a medical study carried out at the Meprysa Polyclinic, endorsed by Dr. Armando Fernández Sánchez on 13 patients suffering from fibromyalgia, the following experimental conclusions were reached:
In conclusion, it can be said that the improvement is faster and more important, outbreaks diminish in users who have done more sessions more and more followed in time.
On the other hand, the general opinion of patients about Whole Body Cryotherapy, which within the different therapeutic alternatives they have tried (pain unit, acupuncture…) is the most satisfactory and effective.