Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects muscles and soft tissue. Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain disorders; affecting about 10 million people in the United States alone with an estimation of affecting 3-6% of the world’s population.
Not all fibromyalgia sufferers have heard of upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management, however, but patients who have tried upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management have found great success in it.
Before we understand why upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management works, we must know the symptoms of fibromyalgia, what could be the underlying cause of the symptoms, and how upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management helps it.
Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by widespread pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping, mood disorders, and cognitive difficulties.
Widespread Pain - The widespread pain is often described as a dull ache that persisted for at least three months. For the pain to be considered widespread, the pain must be present on both sides of the body as well as above and below the waist.
Fatigue / Trouble Sleeping - Fatigue or having trouble sleeping is a common issue for those with fibromyalgia. Pain from fibromyalgia can disrupt your sleep and patients with fibromyalgia can also have other sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. Tests in sleep labs have shown patients with fibromyalgia have interruptions of brain activity while they are asleep. These interruptions are like the activity the brain goes through while you are awake and limit the number of times patients with fibromyalgia spend in a deep sleep. Deep sleep is very important as it allows the body to restore itself, but if deep sleep is limited and constantly interrupted it can make you feel tired or unrefreshed after waking up.
Mood Disorders - Up to half of all patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia have depression or an anxiety disorder. Being in pain and suffering from fatigue consistently can be extremely stressful and take a toll on your daily life.
Cognitive Difficulties - Those who have fibromyalgia may find it difficult to concentrate, focus, and pay attention; this is also known as “fibro fog”, one of the most common complaints patients with fibromyalgia report. Fibro fog can also cause memory deficits and confusion. Some patients have also stressed their fibro fog is more of a disability than any of their physical symptoms.
Why Does Fibromyalgia Hurt?
Repeated nerve stimulation can cause the brains of patients with fibromyalgia to change. Changes in the brain involve an abnormal increase of certain chemicals that signal pain (called neurotransmitters) to the brain.
The brain’s pain receptors can develop a memory of the pain and become more sensitive to where they overreact to pain signals. Fibromyalgia may also not have one cause and could be caused by muscle tissue abnormalities, abnormal blood flow, or irregularities in the endocrine system and autonomic nervous system.
If you have muscle tissue abnormalities, they could be a cause of your fibromyalgia. The muscles can have functional, metabolic, or structural abnormalities caused by a disturbance in the endocrine system. The disturbance can decrease growth hormone levels and prevent muscle tissue from repairing properly.
Having abnormal blood flow could change the way your brain responds to pain, with a 2008 study determining there could be a link between fibromyalgia and abnormal blood flow in two areas of the brain. In this study, brain scans found that women with fibromyalgia have too much blood flow (or too little blood flow) in the same area their brain interprets pain intensity.
Researchers have also noticed the more severe their symptoms were, the more severe the abnormal blood flow was. (Guedj E, 2008)
In addition, it is seen that those with fibromyalgia have a disturbance in the endocrine system. The endocrine system includes various glands that produce hormones. Under stress, these glands stimulate your body and release hormones to help your body adapt.
These hormones also help with other body processes such as mood and emotions, energy storage and usage, digestion, and your immune system. When it comes to fibromyalgia, these glands do not activate as they should and can cause symptoms such as stiffness in muscles, poor sleep, and fatigue.
An autonomic nervous system dysfunction (known as dysautonomia) is found to have a strong correlation to fibromyalgia. It is unknown if dysautonomia leads to fibromyalgia or if fibromyalgia leads to dysautonomia, but there is a strong connection made.
The autonomic nervous system is made up of two parts, or branches called the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. These two parts work simultaneously by sending messages or signals using neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the body that carry messages back and forth from the brain to the body. Your sympathetic nervous system is what causes you to respond under stress as the parasympathetic nervous system regulates your sleep and digestive processes. There are some specific neurotransmitters and hormones that play a large part in fibromyalgia:
- Substance P - A neurotransmitter located in the spinal fluid that communicates pain sensations to the brain and body. Studies have shown fibromyalgia sufferers have three times the amount of Substance P in the spinal fluid when compared to healthy individuals; because of this, they have an increased perception of pain.
- Growth Hormone - A hormone that controls and regulates the metabolism along with tissue and muscle growth. Low levels of the growth hormone are seen in patients with fibromyalgia, which means they cannot repair their tissues or muscles. This hormone is released during exercise and deep sleep, but since fibromyalgia sufferers aren’t usually able to get proper sleep, it keeps the growth hormone from being released.
- Serotonin - A neurotransmitter that regulates your moods, keeping you from becoming overly excited or depressed. Numerous studies have noticed fibromyalgia sufferers usually have low serotonin levels which lead to depression, chronic headaches, and anxiety.
- Cortisol - Known as the “stress hormone”, cortisol is seen to be functioning abnormally in those with fibromyalgia. As their body is in a constant state of stress, more cortisol is released more than normal leaving you consistently tired and fatigued.
- Endorphins - A natural opioid to help the body deal with pain and fatigue. Only about 50% of this endorphin is found in fibromyalgia sufferers, which could be a reason why they experience a lot of pain.
- Norepinephrine - Those who suffer from fibromyalgia usually have lower levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that contributes to the pain and fatigue.
How can Fibromyalgia Chiropractic Management with Upper Cervical Treatments Help?
An upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management is a natural way to treat fibromyalgia and to help the body heal and repair itself. Fibromyalgia usually comes from the brain and spinal cord rather than areas of the body the pain is felt in as the condition could be related to disturbances in how the brain processes sensory information, including pain.
If you have muscle tissue abnormalities, abnormal blood flow, or irregularities in the endocrine system and autonomic nervous system, upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management works to improve those issues.
Upper cervical chiropractic is the study of the top two bones of your spine, the upper cervical spine, and how they affect the brain stem. When one or both two bones become misaligned, the misalignment applies pressure onto the brain stem and causes your brain to body communication to be disrupted; this will cause mixed signals, change your chemical balance, and disable your body’s ability to repair and heal.
Within your brain stem is the location of where all nerves originate. If the brain stem is compressed, nerves will also be affected and can cause issues throughout your body – including nerve damage.
The rest of the spine is also affected by the top two bones: When the upper cervical area is misaligned the head tilts, causing the rest of the spine to turn, twist, and curve abnormally in order to level the head again. These misalignments or abnormal positioning throughout the spine will cause more pinched nerves and damage, or weaken, any muscle or tissue surrounding them.
In an upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management adjustment, the top two bones are realigned and remove the pressure placed on the brain stem. This opens the communication pathway between the brain and body and allows your system to correct and repair itself.
The rest of the spine will then follow the correct placement of the top two bones and begin to shift back to its normal state. Patients who have had upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management reported improvements as soon as their very first adjustment.
As soon as the brain stem is given the ability to work as it should, without pressure, the body reacts quickly to begin the repair and healing process.
Upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management will help your body rebuild damaged tissues and muscles. With no more pressure put on the brain stem, the nerves will no longer be compressed either and as the rest of the spine begins to correct itself, stress will alleviate other affected nerves.
Many fibromyalgia patients have had great success with upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management because of its strong connection with the body’s natural functions and nervous system. Best of all, upper cervical fibromyalgia chiropractic management is a very effective, all-natural option for those who want to stray from drugs and surgery.