February Newsletter: Chiropractic Care for Fibromyalgia
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Chiropractic Care for Fibromyalgia
Controlling pain can be a never-ending challenge when you have fibromyalgia. Medications don't always completely relieve symptoms or may cause side effects that make you feel worse. Chiropractic care decreases your pain and may even reduce fatigue and improve headaches.
Fibromyalgia and Pain
Everything hurts when you have fibromyalgia. Pain is hard to treat because you never know where you'll experience it next or how long a flare-up will last. Unfortunately, pain isn't the only symptom of fibromyalgia. If you have the condition, you may also experience:
- Stiff Muscles and Joints
- Sleep Problems
- Jaw Pain
- Tingling and Numbness in Hands and Feet
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Irritable Bladder
- Memory and Concentration Problems
Although inflammation may seem like a likely reason your joints and muscles hurt, that may not always be the case. In fact, the condition might be related to an issue with the nervous system, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
Pain involves a complex relationship between your brain and your nerves. Your nerves constantly send information to the brain via the spinal cord. Some messages help the brain identify the position of your limbs and keep you from falling. Others make it possible to feel heat from a hot oven and help you avoid a burn.
Nociceptors, nerve cells responsible for pain stimuli, also send signals to the brain. The brain determines if the stimuli are painful and decides how much pain you'll feel. If there's a problem during any part of this complex process, you may feel pain even if you haven't injured yourself.
How Chiropractors Treat Fibromyalgia
Chiropractors commonly treat conditions that affect the nerves and understand how nervous system problems may play a part in fibromyalgia symptoms. Improving the function of your nervous system with chiropractic could help you control and decrease common symptoms.
Pressure on your nerves could be making your fibromyalgia symptoms worse. It's difficult for signals to travel back and forth to the brain when nerves are compressed. If the nerves to your stomach are compressed, you might experience indigestion or other stomach issues. Pressure on the nerves that serve your soft tissues could increase the pain you feel in your muscles.
Tight muscles or tissues or subluxations are possible causes of increased pressure on the nerves. A subluxation occurs when a vertebra in your spinal column becomes misaligned.
Chiropractors offer several treatments that could ease your symptoms, including:
- Spinal Manipulation. Spinal manipulation involves adjusting the position of misaligned vertebrae with an activator or quick, hands-on movements. Realigning the vertebrae eliminates pressures on the nerves, improves range of motion, and may ease pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms. Australian researchers noted the positive effects of chiropractic in a study published in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia. A woman who received spinal manipulation treatments during the study reported less pain and fatigue, better overall health, and improved sleep quality after the treatments.
- Massage and Soft Tissue Manipulation. Chiropractors use these therapies to gently relax sore muscles and tissues. Massage and soft tissue manipulation ease pain, reduce stiffness and tender spots, and improve flexibility. These therapies can also be helpful if tight neck and shoulder muscles contribute to your headache pain.
Chiropractic treatments prompt the body to release endorphins and serotonin, hormones that naturally ease pain. The hormones also help you feel relaxed, which could improve sleep quality and duration.
Regular visits to the chiropractor will help you keep your symptoms under control. As part of your treatment plan, your chiropractor may also recommend exercises that will ease pain and stiffness and strengthen your muscles.
Ready to find out if chiropractic can reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms? Contact our office to schedule a visit with the chiropractor.
American College of Rheumatology: Fibromyalgia, 2/2023
Chiropractic Journal of Australia: Chiropractic Treatment for Fibromyalgia, 3/13/2018
CDC: Fibromyalgia, 5/25/2022
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease: Fibromyalgia