What exactly is fibromyalgia? It seems like we hear about it more and more these days. You or someone you know may suffer from it. Let’s try to understand it a little better and see what hope exists for those who are afflicted by this debilitating condition.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complicated chronic pain disorder that impacts people on a physical, mental, and social level. It is known for widespread pain throughout the body with multiple tender points. Symptoms often come and go from one day to the next. When symptoms are at their worst, they can be very disabling and cause you not to be able to perform your daily routine.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia, in addition to pain, include sleep issues, sensitivity to light, sound, and touch, and problems with memory and thinking ability. Sometimes overlapping conditions cause other symptoms, such as irritable bowel and arthritis.
Pain: The pain of fibromyalgia is profound, chronic, and widespread. It can move to any area of the body and vary in severity. It has been called stabbing, shooting, deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching. Neurological symptoms may also be present — burning, numbness, and tingling. Pain and stiffness are often much worse in the morning and can be aggravated by weather extremes, not getting enough sleep, mental and physical exercise, extreme physical activity, physical inactivity, stress, and anxiety.
Sleep issues: FM sufferers have a problem with sleep that prevents them from getting a good night’s rest and feeling refreshed. Research has revealed specific problems with stage 4 deep sleep in FM patients. While sleeping, the brains of FM patients begin to show bursts of awake-like activity interrupting their sleep and causing them to not feel rested.
Extreme exhaustion: The fatigue associated with FM is an all-encompassing tired feeling interfering with occupational, social, personal, or educational activities.
Overlapping conditions and other symptoms: Additional symptoms can include:
- IBS — irritable bowel syndrome
- Restless leg syndrome
- Impaired memory
- Concentration problems
- Skin sensitivities
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Vision problems
- Raynaud’s Syndrome
- Impaired coordination
- Neurological symptoms
Some people may only have 1 or 2 symptoms while others have many.
Diagnosing Fibromyalgia: The Facts
- In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology established the FM classification criteria based on a history of widespread pain in all 4 main areas of the body for at least 3 months. The pain had to be felt in 11 of the 18 designated tender spots with applied pressure.
- In 2010, new diagnostic criteria were developed by the American College of Rheumatology. This is not based on tender points. Instead it focuses on the widespread pain accompanied by sleep issues, cognitive problems, and exhaustion.
- It is vital to have a physician who is familiar with FM diagnose you since this condition can be hard to understand.
- All other conditions with similar symptoms must be ruled out before a diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be given.
The Cause of Fibromyalgia
Recent research points to a strong genetic link as the basis for fibromyalgia. It runs in families among siblings or mothers and their children. It can also happen after you have endured a physical trauma, such as infections, illnesses, or injuries. These things can trigger FM to occur. Psychological stress can also be a trigger. Increasing awareness of the role of the central nervous system as the underlying mechanism of FM is also being examined. Studies done recently have shown that FM patients have an abnormality in the way the brain processes pain, and its response seems to be amplified to certain stimuli that are not painful to otherwise healthy individuals.
A Case Study to Bring Hope to Fibromyalgia Sufferers
It may seem nearly impossible to find relief for fibromyalgia. However, do not feel discouraged. There is natural relief that has helped many and may be able to help you as well. One case study involves a 32-year-old woman who had depression and fibromyalgia for approximately 2 years. When her patient history was examined, it was noted she may have had a misalignment of her upper cervical spine. This was determined because she had had migraines since age 7 and then began having ocular migraines at age 26. At age 25, a separated shoulder caused her to see a physical therapist. She also has popping sounds coming from her neck and pain in the middle and low back.
Upon further examination, including posture analysis, a check of her leg length, and a few other tests, it was found that she had a misalignment in her C1 and C2 vertebrae. Special imaging was then taken to find the exact location and degree of the misalignment.
She began receiving upper cervical chiropractic care. During the next 6 months, she was adjusted a total of eight times to keep her C1 and C2 in place. At the end of the six months, what were her results? She reported having no more fibromyalgia at all.
Fibromyalgia Treatment Laguna Hills CA
Getting Natural Relief for Fibromyalgia
This case study clearly shows how a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine can have a negative impact on your health. Why is this true? It is because these bones were created to act as housing for the brainstem, providing it with much-needed protection. If these bones happen to move out place, however, they begin to put stress on the brainstem and cause it to send improper signals to the brain. If the brainstem begins to tell the brain there is pain in the body when there is no pain, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia will probably be given.
Here at Precision Spinal Care in Laguna Hills, California we use a gentle method similar to the one used in the case study above. It helps the bones realign themselves naturally without the need for force. This allows the body to heal and restores communication between the brain and body, often resulting in an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms.