Dr. Kirpa Johar

What is Fibromyalgia ?

Fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition after osteoarthritis. It is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired). People with fibromyalgia have “tender points” on the body. These tender points tend to occur in specific places on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. The points can be quite painful when pressure is placed upon them.

Fibromyalgia trigger points

Fibromyalgia can lead to depression and social isolation.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Unfortunately the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. It has been linked to:

  • Traumatic/ stressful events such as a car accident
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Illness
  • Certain diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia ?

  • Pain, stiffness, tiredness and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints.
  • Restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and disturbances in bowel function.

These symptoms ‘feed’ of each other.

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed ?

Generally, diagnosis is made by your doctor or physiotherapist ruling out other diagnoses, as well as findings on physical testing of the body. One test that your health practitioner can do is to palpate a number of points around your body. 

If a large portion of these points are tender to touch, it may help support a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. 

Conditions that can mimic the features of fibromyalgia include an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), vitamin D deficiency causing the bone disease osteomalacia, rheumatoid arthritis and even sleep apnoea.

Fibromyalgia Treatment

The management of fibromyalgia is complex, but can be broken down into a number of parts. Treatment tries to help you slowly break the fibromyalgia cycle by addressing each of the points

  • Relief of your muscle and joint stiffness, tenderness and pain
  • Managing your fatigue and limited activity
  • Improve your ability to cope with daily stress and depression
  • Weight-Loss
  • General Exercise
  • Have a Treatment Goal

LLLT Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the application of red and near infrared light over injuries to stimulate cellular repair. LLLT has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect as well as a healing effect. LLLT is completely safe and has no effect on normal tissues. LLLT treats the underlying cause of the injury unlike pain medication which just masks the pain.

The light-tissue interaction (photobiostimulation) promotes analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects and improves tissue healing, which could justify the recommendation of this therapy for patients with fibromyalgia, leading to an improvement in pain and possibly minimizing social impact related to this disease. 

Laser therapy has been shown to:

  • stimulate energy production
  • mediate cell membrane permeability
  • dilate blood vessels


Laser therapy is applied to the previously-mentioned tender points and related acupoints in addition to the areas of pain such as the low back, upper back, etc.

You will be encouraged to move the affected area within range of movement/pain but not exert stretch or force during the healing phase. 

Once tissues are healed, pain is eliminated and normal range of motion and function is restored. Then muscle and tendon strength and flexibility can be addressed with graduated exercises and stretching. 

LLLT has no known side effects, is safe and effective.