Skip to content

Fibromyalgia Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Fibromyalgia and Physical Therapy


Why Does a Physical Therapist Use Hydrotherapy? continued...

Hydrotherapy works well for almost all types of pain, including fibromyalgia pain. Cold compresses may reduce the pain of an injury, such as a sprain or strain. Moist heat may give relief to fibromyalgia's chronic muscle pain or trigger point pain. You may use a moist heating pad, a warm, damp towel, or a hydrocollator pack. You can also stand or sit on a stool in the shower and let warm water hit the painful area on your body.

Your physical therapist may recommend that you use moist heat for a few minutes just before and after stretching or doing resistance or aerobic exercise. Doing so may make the exercise less painful and more effective. If you want to use moist heat to decrease fibromyalgia pain, you might try it twice daily, about 15 minutes each time. Some people with fibromyalgia prefer alternating the ice compresses with the moist heat to get the most benefit.

What Other Tools Does a Physical Therapist Use for Fibromyalgia?

The physical therapist may use different types of tools with fibromyalgia patients including:

  • deep tissue massage
  • low-impact aerobic conditioning (water aerobics)
  • pain relief exercise
  • stretching and strengthening exercises
  • TENS units (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • ultrasound


How Can I Find a Licensed Physical Therapist?

In looking for a physical therapist, it is important to first check whether your health care plan covers visits. Many health insurance companies include physical therapists in their lists of providers. Next, look for a trained professional, someone who is licensed to practice in your state. It is also helpful to find a therapist who has experience in dealing with fibromyalgia. Your health professional may be able to suggest a physical therapist. Or talk to friends or family members who have had physical therapy.

Physical therapists can be found in many places, including:

  • doctor's offices
  • fitness facilities
  • home health agencies
  • hospitals
  • nursing homes
  • outpatient clinics
  • schools

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 02, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

instructor training woman with dumbbells
Can it help your fibromyalgia flare-ups?
woman painting
It’s hard, but we’ve got tips.
woman at desk rubbing shoulder
Tips to modify your workspace is one step.
Woman rubbing her upper back
Get treatment options and coping skills.
Fatigue or Something More
Woman with stressed, fatigue
woman in pain
woman eating apple
Sex Advice for Single Women
Your Symptoms
Uncomfortable mature woman