Coping with fibromyalgia and hot tub therapy

Life with fibromyalgia can feel unpredictable. One day, you can wake up and find yourself feeling “normal.” You feel well enough to go to work, tackle your to-do list, and maybe even go for a walk. Other days, you might wake up in extreme pain. Even the simplest of tasks, like raising your arms to wash your hair can feel impossible. Or, you are just so tired that getting out of bed feels overwhelming. 

Fibromyalgia is a complex and often debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can affect anywhere between 2 percent and 4 percent of the population, statistics show, and about 4 million Americans are managing the condition.

A complex disease, fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain, fatigue, and a range of other symptoms. Even when managed, it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. 

There is no cure for fibromyalgia but there are various treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage its symptoms. Treatments include medication, physical therapy, and exercise. In addition, hot tub therapy has also been shown to be beneficial, helping those with fibromyalgia relieve pain and improve their overall well-being.

fibromyalgia pain

Understanding fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that is still not fully understood by the medical community. There’s even been controversy as to whether the condition exists. Often referred to as an “invisible illness,” the symptoms are not readily apparent to others. People with the condition might experience widespread musculoskeletal pain, often accompanied by tenderness, stiffness, and fatigue. Other common symptoms include sleep disturbances, cognitive issues often referred to as “fibro fog,” headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome. 

The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, but it’s believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

The impact of fibromyalgia on a person’s life cannot be understated. Data show that 72 percent of sufferers have had to change or limit activity because of the condition. In addition, 58 percent of people with fibromyalgia have had to take long absences from work. 

The chronic pain can be debilitating, making even simple daily activities a challenge. Persistent fatigue is a common symptom, making it hard to find the energy to do the things you enjoy. In addition, living with pain can significantly affect your emotional well-being and lead to anxiety and depression.

water buoyancy benefits exercise

Basic treatments for fibromyalgia

There’s still a lot that doctors do not understand about fibromyalgia. And because people can experience the condition differently, managing fibromyalgia often requires an individualized approach. What works for one person may not work for another.

Still there are common treatment strategies that can help you manage fibromyalgia. 

Medications: Doctors may prescribe pain relievers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants to manage pain, fatigue, and mood.

Physical therapy: Exercises and stretches can improve flexibility, strength, and reduce pain.

Lifestyle modifications: Implementing a regular sleep schedule, maintaining a balanced diet, and reducing stress can help manage symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals cope with the emotional and mental impact of fibromyalgia.

Alternative therapies: Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, and hot tub therapy have shown promise in alleviating symptoms.

benefits of hot tub therapy

Hot tub therapy for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a challenging condition that can significantly affect a person’s life, but there are various treatment options available to help manage its symptoms. Hot tub therapy is one such option that can offer pain relief, improve sleep, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. While it may not work for everyone, it has provided comfort and relief to many fibromyalgia patients.

For those with fibromyalgia, this therapy offers numerous benefits.

Pain relief

A defining feature of a hot tub is the temperature of the water. Often set between 100 degrees and 104 degrees, warm water has a soothing effect on the body. It can ease muscle tension and reduce pain, providing much-needed relief.

More than that, hot tubs have massage jets. These jets target areas where you are most likely to experience pain. The spa pumps push a combination of water and air through the jet, mimicking the experience of a massage 

Master Spas hot tubs have a variety of jets to ease tension and aches. Select models have the StressRelief Neck and Shoulder Seat, which features unique out-of-water jets. As people with fibromyalgia often experience pain in the upper back and spine, this feature could be particularly therapeutic.

Joint stiffness

Most of us stretch out in the morning — even if we don’t realize it. It’s an involuntary response to increase blood flow and help our body’s wakeup. But for people with fibromyalgia, it’s less of a response and more of a need. When they wake up, their back, arm, and leg muscles and joints tend to feel notably stiff. This isn’t the typical, run-of-the-mill stiffness; rather, it closely resembles the kind of stiffness that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis commonly encounter. 

Soaking in a hot tub can help with the joint stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. One of water’s natural properties is buoyancy. Buoyancy is why you can feel so weightless in the water. It reduces the effect of gravity on your body, taking the pressure off your joints. Especially in combination with the water temperature, a hot tub soak can ease stiffness  and even increase mobility.

Improved sleep

Sleep problems are nearly universal among people with fibromyalgia. According to the Journal of Health Psychology, the prevalence of sleep disorders was 92.9 percent. Among the problems is the experience of non-restorative sleep. What is non-restorative sleep? It’s when you get to sleep but wake up feeling tired and worn out. 

Soaking in a hot tub before bedtime, though, can help relax the body and promote better sleep.

Fibromyalgia can make it challenging to regulate body temperature, and many people with the condition have sensitivity to cold. The warm water in a hot tub can help regulate body temperature and create a comfortable sleep environment. 

In addition, soaking in a hot tub can be a valuable component of a relaxing bedtime routine. It can signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Easing stress

Stress reduction isn’t just a luxury for those with fibromyalgia; it’s a necessity. Stress can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms, and fibromyalgia itself can be a source of stress. In addition, nearly three-quarters of people with the condition will experience major depression. Sixty percent will have anxiety disorder.

Hot tub therapy can be used to help reduce stress and enhance quality of life. The soothing environment of a hot tub, with its warm water and jets, promotes relaxation. 

Enhanced circulation

Improving circulation can be one aspect of managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Circulation can help with pain, inflammation, body temperature, and sleep among other factors that affect people.

Hot tub therapy can be an effective way to stimulate blood flow and improve overall well being. The warm water in a hot tub causes blood vessels to expand. When this happens, there is increased blood flow throughout the body. In addition, soaking in hot water can slightly increase the heart rate. A higher heart rate will increase the amount of blood being pumped throughout the body. 

It’s important to note that hot tub therapy should be used to complement other treatments. Individuals should consult with their healthcare providers before beginning any new therapy or making significant lifestyle changes.

hot tub lounge

How to buy a hot tub

Look forward to spending more time in your own backyard oasis. A Master Spas hot tub can be enjoyed safely by the entire family. You can click here to learn more about the benefits of hydrotherapy. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about spa ownership. Wondering how much a Master Spas hot tub costs? You can request a quote here.