What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia can be defined as a medical condition that is characterized by severe and widespread pain all over the body, especially in muscles and joints, fatigue, memory, and sleep issues. People suffering from fibromyalgia are more sensitive to pain as compared to others.
The causes of fibromyalgia are yet not known. But research has shown that there might be a problem in the processing of pain signals from the nerves via the spinal cord and brain. Furthermore, women are at higher risk of suffering from fibromyalgia than men.
Age: Fibromyalgia can occur in any individual. But it is more common in individuals of middle age or old age. The chances to suffer from fibromyalgia increase as you get older.
Gender: As compared to men, women are more likely to suffer from this disorder. Studies have shown that the chances of developing fibromyalgia are two times higher in women than in men.
Other Diseases: If a person is suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, then the chances of him/ her to suffer from fibromyalgia are quite high as compared to others.
Family History: Research has not confirmed yet that fibromyalgia is a genetic disorder or not. But if one family member is suffering from this disease, then the chances of other members to suffer from this disorder are high.
Other Factors: Persons suffering from stressful events (PTSD), infections, injuries or accidents can also develop this disorder.
Symptoms of this disorder appear after surgery, physical trauma, psychological stress, or infection. In some cases, fibromyalgia occurs without any triggering event. Here, the major symptoms of fibromyalgia are described:
Severe Pain: Patients with fibromyalgia suffer from severe and widespread pain. The pain occurs all over the body, in muscles and joints. Besides these, twitching, tightness, stiffness or burning also occur in joints and such persons have a very low threshold for pain.
Tiredness: People suffering from fibromyalgia mostly feel tiredness and fatigue even after getting sleep of 8 to 9 hours.
Sleeping Disorder: The sleep of such persons is mostly disrupted due to severe pain. As a result, they suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea. Some persons also suffer from restless leg syndrome in which they feel a severe urge to move their legs.
Due to this, the person might not be able to sleep comfortably and peacefully.
Cognitive Problems: Problems related to the brain also occur in persons suffering from fibromyalgia. The person is unable to focus, concentrate and pay attention. The person also feels difficulty in remembering. This symptom is called 'fibro fog'.
In rare cases, the persons also experience the following:
- Tingling or numbness in arms, legs, hands, feet, face, etc
- Pain in the jaw ( that is also called temporomandibular joint syndrome)
- Headache especially migraine
- Depression, tension, and nervousness
- Irritable bowel syndrome (that is also called IBS)
This disorder is usually diagnosed through physical examination, patient's history, and X-ray, etc. But it is quite difficult to diagnose this condition because the symptoms of this disorder mimic other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendinitis or bursitis, etc. Furthermore, no test is available for the diagnosis of this disorder. So sometimes, this condition is misdiagnosed.
There is no cure for this disorder. But the doctor can prescribe pain killers, muscle relaxers, etc. Exercise and self-care with good habits can also be helpful in relieving the pain. Besides, a technique called the chiropractic adjustment technique is very effective in lowering the pain.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
Besides medication and exercises, the upper cervical chiropractic technique can also be used to lower the pain and relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. This type of chiropractic technique was developed and introduced by B. J. Palmer in 1930s.
Studies have shown that this technique is very helpful in correcting the underlying misalignments. Actually, the misalignment in the neck affects the functioning of the central nervous system. This leads to a problem in the processing of pain signals from the nerves via the spinal cord and brain.
As a result, the person feels severe pain in his or her body. A minor misalignment in the neck can affect the functioning of the body in the following ways:
- The brainstem is a part of the brain which connects your cerebrum to the spinal cord. All the messages from the brain pass through the brainstem and then go to the body via the spinal cord. A minimal misalignment can put pressure on the brainstem or on parts of the brainstem. As a result, the communication between the body and the brain could be disrupted.
- Secondly, the cervical spine facilitates the flow of blood to your brain. A minor misalignment can change the flow of blood which can cause issues in the functioning of the central nervous system.
- Thirdly, misalignment in the cervical spine can cause problems in the proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). When CSF is unable to drain well it can disturb the optimal function of the whole body.
This shows that misalignment in the upper cervical area can affect the functioning of the whole body. So it is necessary to correct these misalignments and these can be corrected through upper cervical chiropractic care. If this technique is used to correct the specific vertebrae in the upper cervical region, it can help in relieving the pain and reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Drastic improvements have also been observed in patients with fibromyalgia due to the upper cervical chiropractic technique. By using this technique, chiropractors can put the neck, spine, or head in their correct position. Chiropractors perform this technique with extreme care and gentle hands.
Also, this technique does not involve any pulling or twisting. Instead, it involves precise and controlled movement. This technique reduces irritation towards the brain stem and also facilitates the proper flow of nerve impulses.
Although fibromyalgia is a chronic disease and there is no treatment. But medication (pain killers, etc.), exercise, self-care, a healthy lifestyle, and chiropractic adjustment techniques can help lower the pain and improve the quality of life.