Fibromyalgia can bring about persistent pain in all areas of the body, including in the neck, back, hips, and thighs.
The pain and stiffness it brings to the body are spread in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It can also cause extreme fatigue and sleep problems, disrupting the day-to-day life of someone suffering from it. Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, but women are seven times more likely to have the condition. It is often seen in middle-aged people.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is another topic of debate in the medical community. Medical researchers have yet to agree on one, definite answer as to why fibromyalgia occurs. Some of the existing theories on its triggers and contributing factors include the following:
- Repetitive strains
- Repeated exposure to cold or damp conditions
- Physical or emotional stress
- Other health conditions such as lupus, Lyme disease, or rheumatoid arthritis
What has been established is that people with fibromyalgia have an intensified sensitivity to pain as the brain processes and perceives sensations more intensely than they actually are. This phenomenon is known as central sensitization.
What Is Central Sensitization?
Characteristics of central sensitization are often identified in fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. Central sensitization is the amplification of pain by the central nervous system. The nervous system goes through a “wind-up” process, making it in a consistent state of heightened reactivity. When this state continues for an extended period, it becomes an individual’s new baseline, which lowers the pain threshold.
Central sensitization presents these two features:
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Heightened sensitivity to touch
Both of these features stem from nerves that have heightened sensitivity. These nerves facilitate the sending of incorrect signals to the brain, and the brain reads and interprets them as being much more painful than they should be. When central sensitization happens, the ordinarily non-painful sensations are translated as painful.
All-Natural Methods to Combat Fibromyalgia Pain
Many people opt for natural options when relieving the pain of fibromyalgia as medications often come with unpleasant side effects. Thankfully, several natural relief options are available for fibromyalgia sufferers that can improve their symptoms, overall health, and quality of life.
- Improve your quality of sleep: If you want a good, restful night of sleep, make sure you have a regular sleep-wake cycle. By sleeping and waking up at the same time every day and even on weekends, you can regulate your circadian rhythm and improve the quality of your sleep. Also, try to limit your screen time before bedtime, maintain a dark room, avoid food and drink if its close to bedtime, and invest in a quality mattress.
- Change your diet: To introduce probiotics into your gastrointestinal system, include fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt in your diet. Probiotic-rich foods can help prevent yeast overgrowth in your gut, which can help your immune system. Foods that are antioxidant and filled with omega 3 fatty acids can also reduce inflammation and help with pain levels. Steer clear of caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods if you want to stop inflammation in your body.
- Take supplements: Some suggested supplements are magnesium (not having enough can bring about fibromyalgia), melatonin (to improve the quality of your sleep), and 5-HTP (to ease insomnia, anxiety, and pain). You can get these vitamins and minerals from foods such as dark leafy greens, fish, banana, nuts, and seeds. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting new supplements.
- Have gentle, regular exercise: Incorporating regular, mild activities into your daily routine can decrease your pain levels and boost your quality of sleep. You can begin with easy, short walks and slowly increase to 30-minute walks. Swimming, yoga, and tai chi are also great forms of gentle exercises.
- Take care of your nervous system: As mentioned earlier, the nerves in your body carry signals to and from the brain. Pain is just one of the signals interpreted by the brain. Ensure your nervous system is functioning correctly. It also regulates hormone production, which is crucial in achieving good night sleep and energy through the day.
Your Nervous System and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
A common denominator among all fibromyalgia sufferers is the abnormal processing of pain in their bodies. This makes the condition challenging to manage as pain can vary so widely from person to person.
Upper cervical chiropractic is a discipline within the chiropractic field that focuses on the function of the nervous system. Among all the parts of the nervous system, upper cervical chiropractors pay attention to the brainstem. The brainstem serves as the communication highway between the brain and body, enabling the processing of pain signals. The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae protect the brainstem from damage. They are located at the top of the neck. They are the most movable vertebrae of the entire spine, and they allow the head to move in a wide range of motion.
These facts are critical for people with fibromyalgia because of the reasons below:
- In many cases, the onset of fibromyalgia occurs following a trauma or injury to the head or neck. These injuries could result in a misalignment of the upper cervical spine, which can irritate the brainstem and nerves around the affected area.
- The central nervous system is responsible for the processing of pain signals. Any misalignment in the area of the upper cervical spine can lead to a distortion of these signals, and later, development of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Here at Balanced Living Chiropractic in Rochester Hills, Michigan, we understand how the upper cervical spine could be the reason why the nervous system may not function properly. We can determine when a misalignment in this area is negatively affecting your brain’s ability to communicate correctly with the rest of the body.
Our technique is gentle and precise, and we perform adjustments with one goal – to have them hold in place as long as possible and maximize your healing. Once the bones have been realigned, your body’s natural healing process can take place. Visit our fibromyalgia relief care clinic in Rochester Hills to restore the optimal function of your central nervous system and your healthy life.
To schedule a complimentary NUCCA consultation, call 248-652-7225 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.