YOUR HEALTH: Massaging your feet to ease fibromyalgia pain

ROCHESTER, New York – Pamula Floyd has been dealing with the pain of fibromyalgia for the past 15 years.

"The first time it happened I woke up I could not move," she remembered.

Fibromyalgia is often called a mystery illness that causes debilitating pain and fatigue.   It's believed the condition affects up to six percent of the population, mostly women, and causes a myriad of symptoms.

Most patients take pills to help relieve symptoms.

TREATMENT: While there is no cure, a variety of medications can help control fibromyalgia symptoms. Exercise, stress-reduction measures, and relaxation may also help. Self-care including lifestyle changes can lessen the pain and fatigue, but there are some tips to help ease discomfort and take patients mind off of the pain. You can try putting some music on, having a good laugh, taking a relaxing bath, or mindful movement and meditation.   (Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/in-depth/fibromyalgia-self-care-tips/art-20093313?pg=2)

Now, new technology is offering help without the side effects of medication.

"'Hummingbird' is a new option for the treatment of fibromyalgia without the side effects of medications," explained Dr. Eric Hiester, chief medical officer for Vital Motion, a medical device company headquartered in North Carolina.

The bathroom scale-like device made by Vital Motion is controlled through an app on your smart phone.

"It produces a very gentle vibration that helps to stimulate and activate the muscles in the calf," said Dr. Hiester.

Dr. Hiester says that stimulation is called the calf muscle pump.

"That activation results in the return of the venous fluids and lymphatics back to the heart and back to the rest of the body."

He says that increased circulation helps patients without pills.

"We've found significant improvement in sleep, in fatigue and in cognitive dysfunction."

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  The Hummingbird stimulates the nerve endings in located in the front portion of the feet, which signal the calf muscles to contract.  These calf muscles are critical in ensuring proper blood circulation from the feet back to the heart, upper body and even the brain.  Working to restore the soleus muscles to an active state, can relieve many symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.  The Hummingbird can be used while performing other activities such as eating, reading, working at a desk, or watching TV.  It is placed in front and underneath your feet, and easy to use.  The device is small and light enough for easy transportation, and works via an app on the patient`s smart phone.  (Source: https://www.vitalmotion.com/fibromyalgia-device-hummingbird/)

Pamula says the first night after using the Hummingbird she didn't wake up with leg cramps.

"By the third night, the hip pain was gone, the thigh pain was gone, my legs were not swelling like they usually do."

Allowing her to enjoy the little things like taking a walk without pain.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.