Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that is known primarily for widespread pain throughout the entire body. It causes specific areas of tenderness and extreme exhaustion. These symptoms are called subjective because they cannot be determined by a certain medical test. This also indicates there is no known cause. Other conditions mimic fibromyalgia, and it is often misdiagnosed.
Researchers continue to struggle to find a way to understand fibromyalgia. They seem to be closer than ever. Previously, some doctors questioned the condition, assuming that patients were using it to seek out pain medication. However, pain medication does not help this condition. Lifestyle changes seem to be more effective, and doctors are beginning to accept it as a real disease.
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The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
One of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia is having tender points or trigger points. These are areas of your body that, when even light pressure is applied, can produce great pain. In the past, these points were used to diagnose fibromyalgia. However, now they are just used as one way for doctors to trim down the list of possible diagnoses. Doctors rely on other consistent symptoms and possibly other medical testing to find the reason for how you are feeling. Below is a list of other symptoms:
- Extreme exhaustion
- Problems sleeping well
- Waking up from a good night’s sleep feeling unrefreshed
- Depression and anxiety
- Abdominal pain or aching
- Problems paying attention or focusing
It is possible that the symptoms of fibromyalgia come about due to the nerves misinterpreting or overreacting to normal pain signals.
Conditions That Play a Role in Fibromyalgia
Two very interesting conditions accompany fibromyalgia: allodynia and hyperesthesia. What are these and what do they do?
Allodynia: This is a rare type of pain, usually experienced on the skin, that is brought about by something normally not responsible for causing a pain response. You may compare it to the way you feel if you have ever had a sunburn. Even putting a shirt on or taking a shower can be excruciating. There are three different types of allodynia:
- Tactile allodynia: Pain is brought about by touch. This can be something as simple as clothing touching the skin, a hug, or a light touch on your arm.
- Mechanical allodynia: Pain is induced by movement across the skin. For example, towel drying, brushing up against the bed sheets, or air from the fan blowing on you can all induce pain.
- Thermal or temperature related allodynia: Pain is caused by heat or cold that is not intense enough to damage your tissues. If your hands and feet get cold, they may feel as they are burning or if they get too hot they may become achy. (*Please note: if your extremities turn blue, call your doctor. This may be a condition called Raynaud’s syndrome and needs to be cared for before damage to tissue occurs).
Allodynia is very hard to understand, even for those coping with it. However, be assured the pain is real, and you are not going out of your mind.
Hyperesthesia: This is an increase in the sensitivity of any of your senses — touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. The symptoms of hyperesthesia are different depending on the individual and which of your senses are impacted.
- Those with touch sensitivity may have severe pain when their nerves are triggered.
- Auditory sensitivity can bring about pain when hearing loud noises.
- Sensitivity to smell can actually cause you to smell things that are not there.
A combination of these things can exist in one person. In very extreme cases, the nervous system can be affected, leading to inflammation of nerves and possibly seizures.
Sleep deprivation: Restorative sleep is often not possible for those suffering from fibromyalgia. It is not necessarily about how much sleep you get but how deeply you are resting. Lack of sleep can be linked to sensitivities in the body. Being hypersensitive to external stimulation can make getting a good night’s rest very hard.
Finding Help for Fibromyalgia
One reason that the body may become hypersensitive, as mentioned above, can be due to a problem with the central nervous system not functioning at its peak. A connection has been seen between this and a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, especially the C1 and C2 vertebrae. By correcting this misalignment, the symptoms of fibromyalgia have been seen to improve. How do we know?
Fibromyalgia Study and Upper Cervical Chiropractic
One woman who was 31-years-old had been in a number of serious accidents beginning at age 5. She found herself in extreme pain and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, low back pain, and headaches. She began taking various prescription medications to help her cope but found little or no relief. She began looking into more natural approaches to deal with the pain. She discovered upper cervical chiropractic care during her search. She began receiving adjustments to correct her problem and started to notice a big difference in her fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as her headaches and back pain. She was very pleased with her results.
The C1 and C2 vertebrae are designed to protect the delicate brainstem, However, a misalignment leads to pressure or stress being put on the brainstem. This leads to problems with the central nervous system as the brainstem sends improper signals to the brain. The brainstem tells the brain there is pain in the body, when, in fact, there is no pain. This results in the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Here at Balanced Living Chiropractic in Rochester Hills, Michigan, we use a gentle method to encourage the bones of the upper neck to move back into their original position. This is done without the need for popping or cracking of the neck or spine. Rather it is a natural process that allows the body to begin healing. Many report seeing an improvement in their symptoms of fibromyalgia.
To schedule a complimentary NUCCA consultation, call 248-831-0729 or just click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.