Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder affecting millions and mostly women. It is physically and emotionally distressing. Those with the condition experience widespread chronic muscle pain. Research has shown that individuals with fibromyalgia could have a lower threshold for pain. This can come from injury, emotional distress, or abnormal levels of substances/chemicals in the brain and spine linked to pain sensitivity. One of the most common treatments is chiropractic medicine.
Common symptoms/conditions individuals report:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bladder
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Restless legs syndrome
- TMJ or Temporomandibular joint disorder
- Raynaud’s Syndrome – a rare blood vessel disorder causing the toes and hands to feel cold or numb.
Doctors are still trying to figure out the relationship between these conditions and fibromyalgia.
Doctors have yet to determine the exact cause, however, research is ongoing and beginning to shed light on the condition. Some possible causes include:
- Abnormalities in the endocrine system
- Abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system
- Muscle tissue abnormalities
- Abnormal blood flow
As research has discovered many conditions/disorders do not have one cause but rather, several factors that impact the probability of developing the condition.
It has become one of the most common chronic pain conditions. 1 in 50 Americans are dealing with fibromyalgia. The condition can be difficult to diagnose, and, because of its chronic nature, it can linger for months and even years. Typically it causes pain throughout the body and creates areas that become tender to the slightest touch. There are both traditional and alternative treatments available.
Traditional approaches to manage the pain:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Sleep medications
- Muscle relaxants
Fibromyalgia medications include:
- Lyrica – pregabalin, which is a nerve pain medication
- Cymbalta – duloxetine hydrochloride, which is an antidepressant that can also help manage pain
- Savella – milnacipran HCI, which is an antidepressant and nerve pain medicine
The type of treatment depends on the symptoms. For example, a doctor could prescribe an antidepressant to reduce pain and depression. If stress, anxiety, and trouble sleeping are presenting, a therapeutic exercise program could be the answer. Individuals prefer natural remedies/therapies instead of more medications like vitamin therapy, acupuncture, and meditation.
Other treatment options include alternative treatments like:
- Physical therapy
- Biofeedback therapy to manage stress
A doctor will usually recommend you see a physical therapist, chiropractor, and possibly psychologist to work on the mental and emotional toll.
Chiropractic medicine benefits
Pain is reduced
The most common issue is constant and consistent pain, which can affect the entire body for weeks and even months. Individuals realize that chiropractic helps restore overall health and aids the body to heal itself. Adjustments to the spine bring alignment and balance back to the body. Also incorporated is soft tissue work that can relieve and reduce painful pressure/trigger points and decrease pain in tender spots.
Range of motion is increased
Chiropractic medicine also adjusts the body’s joints and helps loosen them up. This increases the range of motion and allows the individual to move more freely and easily. Depending on how long the individual has been dealing with the condition, it can take a few treatments to achieve optimal results, so it does take a commitment from the individual patient. However, in the long run, it is well worth the time.
Sleep is improved
The pain associated with fibromyalgia often affects an individual’s ability to sleep well. Being unable to sleep normally will leave you exhausted, foggy, unable to accomplish things and irritable to downright angry. A chiropractor’s ability to loosen the body’s joints, massage tender points, and kickstart the body’s self-healing mechanisms means individuals with this condition can enjoy deep sleep, and stay asleep.
Complements other therapies
Medicines/treatments/therapies can counteract with each other, or get mixed up and cause side effects. Chiropractic medicine can be utilized in combination with medications/treatments, either traditional or natural. Individuals diagnosed with this condition should speak to their chiropractor about the different treatments available. Customized treatment programs are created case-by-case and are tailored to the specific needs of that individual. Remember there is not a one-stop solution.
Empowers the individual
Individuals that have to deal with painful, chronic conditions can exhaust themselves with the varying treatment options and can feel as if they have no control over the situation. This causes stress, anxiety, and depression, which works against achieving overall wellness. With chiropractic, individuals are more in charge of their treatment plan, which leads to an optimistic outlook in their recovery.
Chiropractic medicine treats not only the symptoms of fibromyalgia but attempts to get to the root cause to alleviate the condition or to activate the body’s self-healing response. Patients that commit will see the benefits along with reduced pain, better mobility, and sound sleep.
The best benefit is being able to take control of the circumstances and playing a vital role in the managing of an individual’s well-being. Understand that there are options available for fibromyalgia pain management. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, don’t go it alone. Dr. Alex Jimenez is passionate about helping those who are injured or struggling with a condition get relief. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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