Moving Through Fibromyalgia With Physical
Nearly 5 million people in the United States have fibromyalgia. This chronic condition causes
widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive issues. It can be difficult to manage and can severely
impact quality of life. The best treatment plans combine exercise, modalities and education.
Physical therapists are experts in all three, so they’re the perfect practitioner to help!
Currently, recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia include patient education and
non-pharmacological interventions. The right exercise routine can help with pain, fatigue, sleep
disturbances, depression, and more. A combination of strengthening, stretching and aerobic
exercise is the most effective. You and your PT will work together to find the right type and
intensity of exercise to best manage your symptoms.
Exercise isn’t the only tool the PT has to help people with fibromyalgia though. Gentle manual
therapy and massage have been shown to help reduce pain and muscle stiffness caused by
fibromyalgia. Physical therapists also use modalities to reduce symptoms.
● electrical stimulation
● dry needling in states where it is allowed
In addition to land-based exercise, some clinics also have the option of aquatic therapy. This
combines the benefits of exercise with the warmth of a therapeutic pool.
Education is another important component in treating fibromyalgia. A physical therapist spends
more time with their patients than most other practitioners. They have the time to help you
understand what’s going on, and what you can do about it. Research shows that people with
more knowledge about their condition have better outcomes, more confidence, and cope better.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, physical therapists can help with pain management,
strength, mobility, fatigue and function to help patients find relief from their symptoms.
7208 East Cave Creek Road, Suite H, Carefree, AZ 85377 | Phone: 480-488-9095
“PT’s at Carefree Physical Therapy are excellent. their effort to alleviate your physical impacts are effective.” CR
“I have used several P.T. organizations over the course of my 87 years- THIS IS THE BEST!” AC
“A top experience. I found the staff very caring, patient and knowledgeable. I immediately scheduled surgery this year on my other knee, knowing how good the physical therapy was. Kudos to Cynthia & also Lucy.” PW
Best facility I have ever been treated at and have had the best results. Only place I will go in the future! EC
The Carefree Physical Therapy Treatment Team
CYNTHIA DRISKELL, PT
Cynthia Driskell, PT received her Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Physical Therapy at the University of Missouri in 1979, as well as a BA in Biology at Drury University in 1977. She established Carefree Physical Therapy as a sole proprietor in 1987. In 1996, she was recognized as a Geriatric Certified Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. Cynthia is also certified as an Exercise Expert for Aging Adults (2010) and as an ASTYM provider.
Cynthia has a record of extensive participation in the Arizona Physical Therapy community. She is past- President of the Arizona Physical Therapy Association, past-President of the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy, and current chair of the AzPTA State Government Affairs Committee. She is a founding member of Arizona Physical Therapy Provider Network (PTPN).
Cynthia is active in the community with Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills, coach and referee with Desert Foothills Athletic Club, and the Foothills Caring Corp. Cynthia and Walt Murphy live and raise their family in Cave Creek. Away from the office, Cynthia enjoys riding her horse and playing tennis.
“Thank you for your training, experience & expertise! I am thrilled I finally have a physical therapist/facility I can rely on should I need services in the future. Very knowledgeable of anatomy & PT techniques to alleviate condition.” KT
Nathan Miller, PT, DPT received his Doctor of Physical Therapy at Northern Arizona University in 2008, and his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from Arizona State University in 2005. Nathan joined Carefree Physical Therapy in 2011. He has continued professional training in orthopedic manual therapy, has 3 years of experience in neurological rehabilitation and is certified in trigger point dry needling. He is interested in a broad spectrum of health, wellness, and prevention activities. Nathan and his 2 children live in north Phoenix with their parrot.
“In just 6 months with Nathan’s help, I’ve recovered from a severe ankle break (eight screws and a plate). He couldn’t have been better in helping it along. We started with me looking like a walk-on for being a Hobbit and ended being able to walk six or seven miles per day. Nathan is a true professional and was fantastic to work with!” RR
“Nathan was extremely helpful & informative. He monitored my progress and added more exercises/weight accordingly. He answered my questions & concerns so I was able to understand! I feel my time here was valuable. I would recommend your facility & Nathan to others.” DU
Chelsea recieved her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at A.T. Still University in 2015, and graduated from ASU with a B.S. in Kinesiology in 2012. She completed an Orthopedic Residency Program through A.T. Still University in 2015-16. Chelsea joined Carefree Physical Therapy in 2016 and is continuing her post-graduate education in orthopedic physical therapy. Chelsea, her husband, daughter and son live in north Phoenix. She enjoys exploring outdoors, hiking, biking and playing with her goldendoodles.
Chelsea Symancyk, PT, DPT has a passion for Pilate’s which she loves to share with her patients and clients. She received her training through Polestar, which has special emphasis on the application of Pilate’s based exercise in rehab settings.
It is her goal to improve your posture and guide you in your physical goals. This includes maximizing performance for professional or recreational interests such as hiking, golfing, and swimming as well as increase daily activities abilities, such as housework, yardwork, walking or running.
What is Pilate’s?
Pilate’s is a form of exercise which incorporates low-impact strength and conditioning with significant focus on flexibility and endurance training. Pilate’s aims to improve posture through techniques of spine elongation, improving muscle balance, and core strength.
Who is Pilate’s right for?
Most individuals can benefit from Pilate’s! Chelsea has seen particular success for those who are experiencing chronic pain, may it be from arthritis or other contributors. Pilate’s is a way to break the negative pain cycle so you can integrate back into an active lifestyle with a low-load and graded program. One thing to appreciate the most about this form of exercise, is that the equipment can be used to support you in your movement or as a resistance in your exercise, depending on your level and goals. This allows us to personalize the needs for each client and provide sufficient challenge for lower-level client’s as well as experienced or higher-level athletes.
This is also beneficial when phasing back into recreation after surgery or when recovering from an injury conservatively. If you have specific questions related to your body and appropriateness for Pilate’s don’t hesitate to call our office and ask for to speak with Chelsea.
How to get started?
Call our office to schedule a Physical Therapy Pilate’s evaluation. This will include a thorough assessment of your posture, flexibility, strength, and balance. We will review your personal and activity goals in order to personalize your rehab or exercise journey to your needs.
Chelsea’s deep knowledge of her skill was most impressive and for a patient such as myself, I appreciate her willingness to discuss the physiology and purpose for the exercise. I can say I always felt I was in incredibly competent, sensitive and professional hands. She is such an asset to your practice and I am so grateful I was fortunate enough to be paired with such a delightful skilled therapist. CB, 2017
Gillian received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Northern Arizona University in 2015 and Master of Occupational Therapy degree at Midwestern University in 2007. She joined Carefree Physical Therapy in 2017 after two years experience in outpatient orthopedic therapy as a Physical Therapist, and six years experience in neurological rehabilitation as an Occupational Therapist. Gillian has professional training in orthopedic manual therapy and specializes in treating individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. She has an adjunct faculty position at Midwestern University’s Physical Therapy Program and guest lectures for Northern Arizona University’s Physical and Occupational Therapy Programs on topics relating to neurological conditions. Gillian is published on topics such as the neurological hand and visual training to improve balance in people with Parkinson’s Disease. She enjoys volunteering for a variety of annual events for people with Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis, and she is a United States Quad Rugby Association Classifier. Gillian loves hiking and yoga, as well as spending time with her husband, dogs, and 4 cats.
AZ License #11596
“Very impressed with the professional treatment of the therapist and the facility. The depth of knowledge and programs for Parkinson’s patients is outstanding.” IC
Bill received his undergraduate degree in General Science in 1975 and his graduate certificate in physical therapy in 1978 both from the University of Iowa. He was certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association in 1979 and became a Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists in 1989. Bill was then certified as a Senior Strength Trainer by the International Weightlifting Association in 2013 and became ASTYM certified in 2015. A practice owner for many years, he has a lifelong interest in orthopedic rehab, strength training, return to activity and wellness. Bill enjoys travel, music, hiking, vintage cars, spending time with his wife Susan and their 25 year old twins. Bill joined the staff at Carefree Physical Therapy in 2019.
“Very pleased with (the) progress on my shoulder. Bill and Lucy (are) doing excellent job. Thank you.” LW
Lucy Arias has a Bachelor of Arts degree with emphasis on Health and Human Performance from St. Mary’s College of California. She joined Carefree Physical Therapy in 2006, after several years’ experience as a PTA in California. She received as Associate in Applied Science degree in Physical Therapy Assisting from Gateway Community College and her Arizona PTA certificate in 2014. Lucy, Juan, and their 4 children live in Carefree.
“Front desk staff & Chelsea & Lucy were very helpful. The therapy people really listened & remembered the “particulars” of my situation. They were so skilled at individualizing my care & treatment.” CL
Lisa recently relocated from Michigan to Cave Creek, has been married for twenty three years, and has three children and five grandchildren! She joined Carefree Physical Therapy in 2021. Her past work experience consists of HIM supervisor for seven years, medical coder for twenty years with various office experience. She taught a semester of coding at NMU as an adjunct teacher. Lisa has her Associates in HIT, is a certificate in Medical Administrative Assistant, and holds a RHIT credential!
“Lisa – awesome!” GT
Jessica moved to Arizona with her family in 2018 from Michigan. She received her education from Baker College and Kaplan University. Jessica has been working in the medical field for nearly 20 years, with experience in Medical Office Management, Billing/Coding and Surgical Scheduling and joined Carefree PT in 2019. She is a dedicated mother and spouse. In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with family and friends, cheering on her children’s sports teams, checking off her bucket list adventures with family, boating and traveling.
“Very satisfied. I would highly recommend Carefree Physical Therapy.” PG
“Carefree Physical Therapy is my favorite therapy. Beyond professional, courteous, helpful and friendly. NO better place!”
A graduate of University of Alabama-Birmingham in 1987, Ginger was very dedicated to her work at Carefree Physical Therapy as a physical therapist’s assistant from 2003 to 2015. Ginger was an integral part of our team at Carefree PT. She was fun, energetic, hard-working, and is fondly remembered by patients and coworkers.
In remembrance of Ginger, we placed a memorial bench on the the Go John Trail in Cave Creek Regional Park. It was one of her favorite trails, that she had hiked with her children Taylor and Katie. We invite you to hike the Go John Trail, enjoy the beautiful desert park, and remember our friend Ginger.
The Carefree Physical Therapy Practice
Serving Carefree, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, North Scottsdale, and North Phoenix since 1987, Carefree Physical Therapy (formerly Foothills Physical Therapy) is dedicated to providing quality out-patient physical therapy and rehabilitation care to its clients of all ages for orthopedic, geriatric, and neurological conditions. We treat acute injuries, post-surgical needs, and chronic conditions. We offer post-rehab independent exercise programs at our facility.
Carefree Physical Therapy has been a Medicare certified provider since 1987 and credentialed by NCQA standards. We also participate with Medicare’s quality reporting initiative.
We participate in many insurance networks such as all BC/BS, and State Compensation Fund (workers comp). As a founding member of Physical Therapist Provider Network (PTPN), we participate in many other major networks such as Aetna, Humana, Healthnet, Community Care Network (CCN), Multiplan, and PHCS.
We utilize FOTO (Focus On Therapeutic Outcomes) a national interactive health analysis for quality assurance outcome measures.
Carefree Physical Therapy Services
Orthopedic manual therapy means identifying movement abnormalities and correcting them. It relies on body movement analysis, mechanical positioning, and manual (hands-on) testing to assess muscle and joint abnormalities. Orthopedic manual therapy techniques can be applied to the spine, shoulders, hips, or other extremity joints.
Such abnormalities may cause symptoms of pain, stiffness, weakness or instability. These changes may be about some part of the body not moving freely enough, and the treatment is to restore more normal movement. Other conditions may create pain or dysfunction because some parts of the body are moving too much and the goal of treatment is to stabilize and limit motion.
Treatments in orthopedic manual therapy are movement oriented. Manual (hands-on) techniques by your physical therapist can be passive or active, with specific positioning techniques. Therapeutic exercises are targeted at specific areas of weakness or dysfunction, and home exercises are prescribed to support the changes obtained by the manual therapy treatment.
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“Exercises are customized for each problem area. Staff is excellent!” MF
Augmented Soft Tissue Mobilization
Carefree Physical Therapy is recognized as a network member with physical therapists certified in the provision of the ASTYM system of soft tissue mobilization.
The ASTYM system is a therapy approach that addresses problems such as scarring, fibrosis and degeneration that occur in soft tissues. These problems may develop as the result of trauma, surgery or overuse. The System is effective for new injuries as well as chronic, nagging conditions. The ASTYM System uses instruments along the surface of the skin to locate these problem areas and start the body’s healing process. As the body heals, exercise and activity help guide the healing which allows you to return to activities without pain and limitation. The success of the ASTYM System is documented for a wide variety of diagnoses and many times it helps patient where other treatments have failed.
The ASTYM System is used in settings ranging from therapy clinics to hospitals to industrial rehabilitations. This proven treatment helps countless patients every day.
The ASTYM System has been used in clinics by rehabilitation professionals since 1996. Thomas L. Sevier, MD guided the clinical, scientific and outcomes research used to develop the System and document its remarkable effectiveness.
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“Completely satisfied. Nathan was great and even though there was ‘pain to gain,’ I completely trusted him with my rehab.” JP
Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) treatment is a very effective technique used to reduce muscular pain. the technique utilizes thin, solid filament needles to deactivate and desensitize trigger points in muscles. Myofascial trigger points are painful “knots” in muscles that can contribute to pain, decreased flexibility, and decreased muscle function. It is not uncommon for a person to continue to experience pain long after the inured tissues should have healed. This can be due to trigger points in the muscles in and around the area of injury. By inserting the needles into these trigger points, a “twitch response” or brief contraction is elicited, followed by relaxation of that muscle. This results in “deactivation” of the trigger point, which reduces pain and restores normal function to the muscle. Once normal muscle function is attained, treatment can progress to strengthening and returning to normal function.
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“You made my rehab fun and enjoyable, as did your friendly staff.” JA
There are many causes of dizziness and imbalance. There are three components that help us maintain our balance throughout our daily activities which include our vision, sensation and the vestibular system. The Vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements during all activities. When a problem occurs within the vestibular system it results in symptoms of vertigo. Vertigo is a sense of rotation, rocking or spinning when someone is perfectly still. Vertigo of peripheral (inner ear) and central (brain) origin can be addressed by a physical therapist. Specific treatments will depend on the cause of the vertigo, but can include head and neck maneuvers or other exercises to help eliminate your symptoms.
One of the most common causes of vertigo that physical therapists treat is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV occurs when the small calcium crystals normally found within the inner become displaced leading to irritation to the small hair cells within the inner ear canals leading to an inappropriate communication within the vestibular system resulting in symptoms of vertigo. When the calcium crystals are displaced within the inner ear canals normal movements such as looking upward, downward, side to side or rolling over in bed can result in dizziness, spinning, nausea, and difficulty walking.
Treatment for vestibular conditions may involve repositioning maneuvers in the case of BPPV and habituation/adaptation exercises and balance exercises are usually required in cases of inner ear weakness or central vertigo disorders. The main goal of therapy is to eliminate or reduce your symptoms of vertigo to improve safety and confidence as you return to daily and recreational activities.
Non-vestibular causes of dizziness and imbalance:
Dizziness can be linked to a multitude of problems and is commonly linked to blood flow irregularities from cardiovascular conditions. It is important to follow up with your primary care physician when experiencing symptoms of dizziness. Non-vestibular causes of dizziness may include the following:
Side effects of medications
Orthostatic Hypotension (decreased blood pressure when changing positions)
Stress, Tension & Fatigue
Vision Disturbances (bifocals, cataracts)
Central nervous system conditions (ex. Stroke, aneurysm, tumor)
Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and other cardiac conditions
Neck Arthritis (vertebral basilar insufficiency)
Chronic conditions (ex. Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson Disease)
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“I would highly recommend Carefree Physical Therapy. Everyone is friendly and professional.” JJ
As patients approach discharge from a formal physical therapy program, on going exercise for fitness and maintenance of function is highly important. Many individuals have home gyms, or a community fitness center to use. For those patients who need access to appropriate equipment, or a safe atmosphere for on going exercise, Carefree Physical Therapy offers a monthly gym membership. The cost is $40 per month, for gym access, Monday – Friday, 7:30 am to 5 pm. The office is closed on weekends and major holidays.
We will provide you with instruction and a checklist of recommended activities to continue your individual program. You are always welcome to ask for assistance as needed.
This program is not available to the general public. It is limited to current and past patients of Carefree Physical Therapy.
Remember – exercise is the best medicine!
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I felt that Chelsea and I had a great partnership dedicated to my rehab. I couldn’t be happier with my results. Everyone here was terrific! AM
Carefree Physical Therapy recommends Fall Risk Assessment for individuals who experience balance challenges without falls, who have experienced a recent fall, or who express fear of falling and limit their activity due to that fear. As a participating Medicare provider, we provide fall history questionaire and risk assessment as part of the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative to all of our Medicare patients.
In our practice, we utilize evidence-based, functional tests to determine fall risk. These tests include:
Functional Reach Test – standing and reaching forward
Timed Up and Go Test – stand from a chair, walk 10 feet turn and walk back to sit down
Timed Chair Rise – sit to stand from a chair 5 times without using your arms
Single Leg Stance Test – Stand on one foot with arms across your chest
The test scores that indicate if you have a low, moderate or high risk for falls. The results of these tests can also suggest which exercises and activities could be beneficial for reducing your fall risk. Additional testing may also help to determine if an assistive device or other training may be helpful.
Falls are not a part of normal aging. Risk of falling can be greatly reduced by addressing issues of balance and strength through an appropriate exercise program.
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“Best facility in fifty years of frequent therapy. Best therapists!” SF
Contact Michelle at 602-295-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org
PWR!Moves® training targets multiple symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The training emphasizes four, basic PWR! Moves®:
Posture against gravity – countering the small, flexed posture commonly associated with PD
Weight shifting – to improve movement control during mobility
Trunk rotation – to reduce the rigidity with PD that interferes with efficient and coordinated movement
Transition – to improve movement from one position to another (walking, functional transfers, bed mobility, etc.)
Training the Basic 4 PWR! Moves® can occur on the floor, in sitting, or in standing and involves high velocity, large amplitude movement designed to decelerate disease progression. Research shows people with PD can GET BETTER and STAY BETTER with the right exercise!
Carefree PT PWR! Moves® exercise classes are instructed by Gillian Porter, PT, DPT, who has been leading PWR! Moves® exercise classes since 2012. Classes are $10 per person and are held on Tuesdays at 12:30pm and Saturdays at either 10:00AM or TBD, depending on the focus of the class. Please call our office at 480-488-9095 to request more information about the PWR! Moves® classes.
COVID-19 update: As of 04/01/2020, our clinic-based classes are on hold until further notice. In lieu of in-person classes, Gillian will begin posting weekly exercise videos starting the week of 04/27/2020. Click on the purple link below to view the latest PWR Moves® exercise video.
Please click the link below to see how we are working with the Parkinson’s community. Video credit to Brandon Rhea at www.digitalconcepts.us.
In addition to the services listed on the left, we also offer:
Acute Injuries – Spine and Extremities
Industrial Injury Rehabilitation (Worker’s Compensation)