Fibromyalgia Awareness Week: Does a hot tub help with your fibromyalgia?

From Monday 6 September through to Sunday 12 September 2021 it is Fibromyalgia Awareness Week and as Fibromyalgia Action UK’s official charity partner, we’re continuing to raise awareness of the condition and some of the steps that can be taken to ease the symptoms.

What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes persistent pain all over the body. As well as widespread and chronic pain, other symptoms include but are not limited to fatigue, digestive issues, disturbed sleep, and brain fog. Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for fibromyalgia. Instead, people living with this condition try to find ways to manage and ease the symptoms.

Hot tub therapy
Soaking in warm water and exercise are among the many ways to reduce the intensity and frequency of fibromyalgia symptoms. Relaxing in a hot tub is a well-known way to ease muscular stiffness and soreness. Additionally, a routine soak can also help relieve stress; an intensifier of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Lisa’s story:

Lisa, a customer who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2017, shares with us how investing in a hot tub has played a huge part in managing her symptoms.

How long have you lived with the condition for? I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a rheumatologist in 2017 but had been experiencing some symptoms many years prior to this. My GP carried out various tests before my referral to Rheumatology. I currently work for the NHS although have reduced my hours because of the fatigue and pain fibromyalgia causes me.

What are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia you experience? Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue. My symptoms can vary daily or even hourly and at times, can become very debilitating and extremely frustrating. I suffer with continuous pain of varying degrees in my neck, shoulders, back and hips, although at times this can also move to other parts of my body. The pain can take many forms, from tenderness, aching to sharp pains, there’s also been occasions where I’ve felt constant tingling or burning sensation all over. The fatigue can be overwhelming at times and almost stop me from doing anything. It causes cognitive disturbances including confusion, memory and speech problems, brain fog, lack of concentration and clumsiness. Although I am getting better at managing my sleep patterns, I never feel refreshed when I wake up and always feel tired. Every day I battle with feeling frustrated and anxious because there are many activities that I struggle to achieve without suffering from pain, fatigue or discomfort. Instead, I focus on pacing myself just to achieve day to day life. This can be very difficult for others to understand as on the outside I still look the same as I did before my diagnosis. I am also far more sensitive to changes in weather, noise and lighting which can be very frustrating as I didn’t suffer with these symptoms previously.

Being a hot tub owner, have you noticed any benefits linked to using a hot tub with the condition? I consider myself very lucky to have a hot tub in the garden for use all year round. I do use it regularly for pain relief and relaxation. Using the hydrotherapy jets in the hot tub helps to soothe some of my aches and pains which I experience daily and if I have had a harder day than normal, the hot tub is great for relaxing my muscles. I also find I use less pain relieving medication when using the hot tub regularly. I am also able to do light exercise knowing I can come home and relax my muscles with a hydrotherapy massage from the jets in the hot tub later that day. This also helps me maintain my work with the NHS at a manageable level.

How has using a hot tub helped you manage the condition? I try to use the hot tub as often as I can, and I find it does help relieve any stress or anxiety which helps with my sleeping pattern. I have noticed that I achieve a deeper sleep if I use the hot tub in the evening before going to bed. During the cold, winter months the hot tub warms me up which helps with my sleep during winter too.

Would you recommend getting a hot tub if you suffer with this condition? I would recommend fellow fibromyalgia sufferers to invest in a hot tub if they can. One piece of advice that has stuck with me ever since my first consultation with the rheumatologist is to finish every day in some form of hot water to help ease aches, pains and aid sleep. At the time, he suggested this could be a warm shower or bath. When I mentioned that I had a hot tub at home, he agreed I was very lucky and should use it as much as possible before going to bed. I try to follow this advice and sometimes, I don’t know what I’d do without my hot tub!

There’s no easy answer for coping with fibromyalgia, but there are simple ways to enable a happy, more comfortable and fulfilling life. Hydrotherapy and soaking in a hot tub are fantastic ways to relieve pain, reduce stress and improve sleep, all of which make the condition much more manageable.