Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Fibromyalgia Treatment
Fibromyalgia, a condition that affects the bones and muscles of the body, affects 4 million Americans and is thought to affect the way the brain processes pain signals. Because of the pain signals being influenced by fibromyalgia, the painful sensations become intensified.
Although it is uncertain what causes fibromyalgia, professionals believe it may be due to an issue of how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals coming from the nerves. The bridge between the brain and spinal cord that allows them to send signals back and forth in the brain stem.
If the brain stem is disrupted by interference, such as an upper cervical misalignment that presses up against it, the signals can become misinterpreted and cause many problems to happen throughout the body.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
When fibromyalgia is left untreated, fibromyalgia symptoms can worsen over time and cause permanent changes to the body – such as how the body perceives pain. Below is a list of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms. If you or a loved one believe you may have fibromyalgia, it is best to seek out a professional for treatment before symptoms worsen.
Fatigue - Simple tasks can be exhausting for someone with fibromyalgia. They can feel drained after cooking, doing laundry, and feel too tired to exercise.
- Morning stiffness - Muscles and joints of the back, arms, and legs could feel stiff in the morning and those with fibromyalgia may feel the need to “loosen up” right away. This stiffness is often compared to those with rheumatoid arthritis and the amount of time morning stiffness lasts varies from person to person: anywhere from a few minutes, hours, or for the entire day.
- Pain and tenderness - The pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia are what usually motivates sufferers to see a doctor. Those with fibromyalgia ache all over the body with pain similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis.
- Mood disorders - Depression and anxiety affect about 50% of fibromyalgia sufferers. The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia can begin affecting a person’s everyday life and become hard to deal with. Stress begins to increase substantially because of difficulty keeping up with daily life. It is possible that depression and anxiety play as much of a role in fibromyalgia as the pain.
- Fibro fog - “Fibro fog” is when your ability to think is affected and leads to confusion, memory loss, and inability to concentrate. This is one of the most common fibromyalgia symptom complaints with sufferers conveying fibro fog is more of a disability than other physical fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Restless leg syndrome - Fibromyalgia sufferers may feel their feet and legs below the knees are constantly uncomfortable. This leads to them moving their legs around frequently to find a way to rest them. This symptom often makes it difficult for those with fibromyalgia to sleep at night.
- Painful menstrual cramps - Fibromyalgia can cause unusually painful menstrual cramps. Women with this fibromyalgia symptom can have this symptom for years along with other symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
- Numbness and tingling sensations - These numbness and tingling sensations occur in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. These sensations may last for as little as a few minutes or happen constantly. Swelling in the affected areas may also occur. Even though this fibromyalgia symptom can become bothersome, it usually does not get in the way of daily tasks.
- Difficulty peeing - Urination while having fibromyalgia can hurt or be uncomfortable. Some can also feel the need to urinate often or have a leaky bladder.
- Irritable bowel syndrome - This fibromyalgia symptom causes stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or make one feel as if they need to throw up.
- Trouble with sleeping - Sleep can be difficult for those with fibromyalgia. This fibromyalgia symptom does not let sufferers reach deep sleep and can cause them to wake up easily. Because of difficulty sleeping, they can feel tired after waking up and this symptom adds to the fatigue linked to fibromyalgia.
- Headaches - Migraines and tension headaches are common fibromyalgia symptoms. This symptom affects 2 out of 5 fibromyalgia sufferers and is often related to the tight neck muscles caused by upper back pain or tender points.
Treatments for Fibromyalgia
The most common treatments for fibromyalgia focus on reducing symptoms associated with the condition. Exercising helps release endorphins to fight pain, depression, and stress that comes with fibromyalgia. While exercising does not get rid of all pain or fibromyalgia symptoms, it does help make the condition less uncomfortable.
Another treatment for reducing fibromyalgia symptoms is medication, albeit it does come with side effects. The pain is relieved temporarily through medication and medication will need to be used repeatedly as the pain returns.
The body can end up depending on the medication if it becomes a daily routine and continuous use of the medication to ignore the symptoms will cause the body’s current condition to worsen over time.
Natural Treatment That Helps Fibromyalgia
Although the most common treatments known target the fibromyalgia symptoms without healing the current state of one’s body, there is a natural treatment that targets what could be causing fibromyalgia while strengthening the body’s system.
The pain behind fibromyalgia has a strong connection to how a person’s nervous system processes pain signals. Pain signals pass through the nerves, spinal cord, and through the brain stem (the “bridge” to the brain to body communication). If this “bridge” is disrupted, signals are unable to pass through appropriately – leading to pain signals being intensified or receiving pain signals without reason (“false” signals).
To help correct these pain signals and brain to body function, upper cervical chiropractors look to correcting brain stem function. Unlike general chiropractic, upper cervical adjustments are gentle, precise, and are focused on the upper cervical spine area located beneath the base of the skull.
Correcting upper cervical misalignments allow the brain and body to communicate properly so it can return to repairing and healing the body as it should.
Patients with fibromyalgia have noticed improvements in their condition in as little as one adjustment as removing any interference with the brain stem caused by an upper cervical misalignment results in the brain to body communication to begin repairing and healing the body as soon as the upper cervical spine is aligned correctly.
Because these adjustments return the body’s natural ability to correct underlying issues that may be the cause of fibromyalgia, it is possible for both the fibromyalgia symptoms and the condition to be treated effectively simultaneously.
The goal of the upper cervical chiropractor is to adjust the patient as little as possible as their body heals itself. Over time, fewer adjustments are made as the patient’s upper cervical spine becomes strong enough to hold the alignment.