A neuromuscular therapist that understands Fibro-my-algia

Fibromyalgia is a group of signs and symptoms (FMS) that involve chronic pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues.

Researchers suggest that FMS is related to sleep disorders, endocrine, and neurotransmitter imbalances, and one’s emotional state. Sleep studies of FMS patients reveal that they seldom or never enter the deepest level of sleep; stage IV sleep. It is in this stage that adults secrete growth hormone which stimulates the production of new cells and collagen for healing and recovery. Not getting enough sleep reduces serotonin levels. Serotonin helps to modulate pain sensation. Without adequate secretion of this important neurotransmitter everything hurts more. Thus a particular vicious cycle develops. A person is under stress and is experiencing chronic pain which further limits the ability to sleep and so on.

The origin of the debilitating pain experienced by FMS patients is mysterious. Current studies suggest that the pain is not generated in the muscles as the name implies. Instead examinations of the cerebrospinal fluid of FMS patients reveal high levels of two specialized neurotransmitters; substance P and nerve growth factor. These substances are believed to initiate nerve activity, causes vasodilation and increase pain sensation. Which if this is the case, we could reclassify this as central nervous system disorder. Either way massage is indicated for FMS and can help reduce the pain that patients suffer.
I have found in my practice that FMS patients have tender points. Starting with the occiput, the upper, and lower traps. They also are tender in the low back, to the gluteal and into the greater trochanter.
My approach to the work as a neuromuscular therapist is slow compressions at the insertion of the focused muscle and cross fibers in the muscle belly. Stretching of the muscle from the insertion to the attachment this work is done with me understanding that patient’s tissues are drowning in irritating chemicals, and lack the neurotransmitters that block pain transmission. Clients are hypersensitive to touch. Feedback from clients is that they feel much “lighter” as if weight has been lifted off of the muscles. I direct clients to continue to drink h20 (water) to flush out toxins.

It is an honor to do this work, and help each and every client that I come into contact with feel better. I recommend massage once a week to clients that suffer with chronic pain. Once we see improvement we can move to twice a month, and once a month. However massage should continue to be a part of their wellness lifestyle.

Denise M. Leslie
LMT Atlanta, Georgia MT #008771
Massage By Denise Leslie