What is fibromyalgia? If you break the word down, “fibro” meaning fiber, “myo” meaning muscle, and “algia” meaning pain, you get when you put all those together, muscle fiber pain. This is actually a pretty misunderstood, confusing condition because it can manifest in so many different ways throughout so many different people. Four million people across the United States are struggling with fibromyalgia. This can be manifested in ways of back pain, muscle type pain, upper back pain, low back pain, shoulder pain, etc. This can also extend out through extremities like the arms and the legs, any and or all of these areas could be affected by fibromyalgia. There are also other symptoms and things going on that are related to fibromyalgia, such as migraines, headaches, poor sleep, not feeling like you wake up rested, which is also huge when you have a muscular type condition because of needing to be able to recover at night and heal at night when you have things like that going on.
Also, another area of concern is anxiety and depression. The cause of fibromyalgia is up in the air, and a lot of times people deal with depression or anxiety beforehand, before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There are also other times when people have depression or anxiety come on after having fibromyalgia because feeling so bad for so long could definitely get somebody down and depressed after dealing with that for so long.
Another big deal with fibromyalgia, as I said, there’s not really a cause to be found or linked to fibromyalgia in the medical world, but they’re given many different medications and different treatments and things like that to try to deal with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, just to get some relief, a little bit of hope, but really all this is doing is just masking the symptom. It’s not fixing anything since they can’t find any cause, there’s not any cause to fix. Another term that is related to fibromyalgia is called abnormal pain processing perception, a term that means the body is not able to figure out how to process pain, fatigue, or muscle breakdown.
What we have found at Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a lot of these fibromyalgia patients end up having something in common, and that is being a trauma. Now, this could be any kind of trauma ranging from a car accident, a slip and fall, a bump on the head, a sports injury, even all the way from birth or birth trauma. What happens is that when one of the top two bones in the neck can misalign, it can start to put pressure on the brainstem, which has every single nerve that goes from the brain to the body. So that means that every message that goes from the brain to the entire body goes through these top two bones.
Well, when the brain can’t communicate to the body and the body can’t communicate back to the brain properly because of a misalignment here, putting pressure on your nervous system, which is trying to control everything and tell everything how to function and how to heal, there can be some disconnect there. And that’s when a lot of times people are starting to have different types of aches and pains and different things like that. Because what happens structurally is, when one of the top two bones go out of alignment, it takes your head with it because your head just sits on top. It doesn’t have anywhere else to go because it doesn’t have any other choice but to just move with those two bones.
When there’s a misalignment at the top of the neck, it takes the head with it, which can also start to bring a lot of compensations and different things that happen throughout the body, like bringing a shoulder or hip up. This is due to the righting reflex, which forces the brain to always be level. If the top two bones are out of alignment, it may take your head up to the right. It’s going to do everything it can by bringing the shoulder up, bringing a hip up, and causing all different types of weak spots throughout the rest of the spine, which can cause muscle pain and muscle fatigue.
All day, every day we are dealing with the weight of gravity. We’re always using muscles, always while we’re walking, while we’re sitting, while we’re standing, while we’re working, all those different things. If the spine is out of alignment, causing all those different types of compensations, then there can be weak spots like I said, and especially if the correct communication isn’t happening from the brain to body because of the interference at the top of the neck, then that’s when that abnormal pain perception processing can take place.
There is hope! We’ve had great success within the Upper Cervical Chiropractic world with fibromyalgia patients and cases. Just about a hundred percent of the time, once people start getting under care, allowing the brain to be able to communicate with the body the way it’s supposed to again, and the body can communicate with the brain. Then once we get our head on straight and all the compensations start to work themselves out through the rest of the spine, people see great results. There is hope!