Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain - Emphasizing Therapeutic Movement

What is chronic pain?

Pain is an expected part of life. It is also expected to go away. For Example, after injury our instincts tell us to limit movement by guarding, bracing, or immobilizing the affected body part. After a few days, even weeks, we carefully begin to move our painful parts and initiate the process of recovery. Pain subsides, function is restored and once again we feel likes ourselves. Unfortunately, for many, the story does not end this way.

Too frequently the process to complete recovery is unfulfilled and pain persists despite sincere efforts to work the problem out. Medication can be temporary and modestly effective at best. Chiropractic care, massage and various exercises are often ineffective and may be exacerbating. The condition is now labeled chronic.

In this situation, it is easy to understand why we commonly feel our bodies have let us down. We try hard to correct those things we feel, or have been told, are wrong with us. Yet, for chronic pain sufferers, attempts to improve posture, increase strength and flexibility or relax muscular tension are often only coping strategies and leave us confused and frustrated.

Logically, most treatment approaches assume the problem is in the part that hurts. It may not be. Today, considerable research shows that the problem involves abnormal central nervous system processing. Effective treatment must be aimed at promoting change within the body as well as within the nervous system. How can this be accomplished?

At Bellin Health, members of the Physical and Occupational Therapy utilize a combinatin of interventions in order to help decrease the effects of chronic pain. We combine our personal experience, patient values, and the results of research to implement a plan of care most suited for your individual needs. Treatment approaches utilized by our therapists can include:

  • Aerobic Conditioning
  • Manual Therapy Techniques
  • Graded Motor Imagery
  • Feldenkrais Movement Therapy
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Graded Activity

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Fibromyalgia Overview

What is Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a common form of chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain.

Despite the disabling consequences, this diagnosis remains somewhat mysterious and even controversial. Skepticism encountered from family, friends and members of the medical community has added to the frustration associated with the condition.

The American College of Rheumatology established standardized classification criteria in 1990 for FMS. Since then, research funding has been greatly increased. Although incomplete, our current understanding of FMS is remarkably greater that it was just 10 years ago.

Today, most researchers and clinicians believe FMS involves abnormal nervous system processing. This makes FMS similar to disorders such as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), irritable bowl syndrome (IBS), as well as phantom limb pain.

Philosophy of Care

Understanding and changing the nature of Fibromyalgia is our primary objective. Skills and knowledge acquired in the clinic must be practiced for long term benefit.


At Bellin Health our motto “Someone Believes In You” seems particularly important. Members of our physical and occupational therapy staff are knowledgeable and skilled to help manage FMS.

Treatment includes:

  • Education-making sense of what patients are feeling
  • Manual (hands-on) therapy designed to promote movement, which relieves pain.
  • Instruction in exercises specific to each patient’s needs.
  • Preparation for aerobic activities

Getting Started

Our rehabilitation staff desires to work closely with physicians. Consult your primary care physician regarding referral to our Fibromyalgia Program.

Fibromyalgia Facts

  • Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Syndrome means a set of symptoms that occur together.
  • Pain is widespread but specific tender points are present.
  • “FMS affects 3 to 6 million Americans, and Is 6 to 8 times more common in women than in men.”
  • FMS is associated with sleep disturbance and often severe fatigue.
  • Although no tissue damage is present, FMS is not a psychological disorder
  • FMS is not a form of arthritis although the symptoms may be similar.
  • Other symptoms include:
    • Numbness / tingling in arms and / or legs
    • Sensitivity to cold
    • Headaches
    • General stiffness

Specialized physical therapy care for chronic pain and  fibromyalgia is available at:

Bellin Health Sports Medicine - West (920) 430-4750

Bellin Health Family and Medical Wellness Center - Bellevue (920) 433-7868

Neuro Team Physical Therapy  (920) 433-7995

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