Helping Patients Manage Fibromyalgia through Gentle Chiropractic Care and Beneficial Massage
What is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that affects 3–6 million Americans annually, mostly women between the ages of 25 and 60. Women are up to 10 times more likely to develop this disease than men. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread, unexplained muscle and joint pain, chronic fatigue, and a decreased pain threshold, as well as many other symptoms. Because of the constant symptoms, patients suffering with Fibromyalgia can often experience depression. There is hope for recovery, however.
People suffering from fibromyalgia experience wide-ranging aches and pains. It may be painful to have someone touch you, and you may feel debilitating fatigue – even if you’ve just woken up. Fibromyalgia is caused by a stress-induced change in metabolism and healing. For sufferers of fibromyalgia who may be “touch sensitive,” energy work alone can be tremendously helpful for mind and body relief. Find out how our relaxing, stress-free, gentle chiropractic care can help alleviate your symptoms.
How Chiropractic Can Help
Fibromyalgia causes your muscles to tighten up and lose some of their natural pliability, which results in loss of movement in the spine. This loss triggers a neurological reflex that causes the muscles to tighten further. It is a vicious cycle that will lead to increased pain and muscle tightness, more difficulty sleeping, and development of more trigger points. Since the only option is to keep the spine moving, those with fibromyalgia may need adjusted three to four times per month to keep everything mobile and relaxed.
This is my first experience with a chiropractor and I started seeing them last year. There has been a great improvement in my pain, health and emotional well-being. I highly recommend them and their massage therapist. It is a great experience you will enjoy!Deborah
What is Fibromyalgia?
According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), fibromyalgia is defined as a history of pain in all four quadrants of the body lasting more than 3 months. “All four quadrants” basically means that you have pain in both your right and left sides, as well as above and below the waist.
The ACR also revealed 18 tender points on the body that are characteristic of fibromyalgia. You must have 11 or more tender points in order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Sufferers of fibromyalgia also experience sleep disturbances, mood changes, anxiety, isolation, and depression as a result of the life-changing symptoms. Some people report muscle spasms or twitching, or deep burning or stabbing sensations. Sensitive areas may occur in your joints, such as your neck, shoulders, back, and hips.
Fibromyalgia primarily relates to metabolic abnormalities that are caused by a stress-induced decrease in blood flow to your brain. Decreased blood flow results in a decrease in several important hormones, such as the thyroid stimulating hormone and the growth releasing hormone (somatotropin).
These hormonal changes lead to abnormal muscle healing and other cognitive changes. Fibromyalgia can also manifest with a variety of other symptoms, which vary from one patient to another:
Hypersensitivity to Cold/Heat
Painful Menstrual Periods
Dryness in Mouth/Nose/Eyes
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Numbness or Tingling in Fingers and Feet
While there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, many patients have successfully managed symptoms through trigger point therapy techniques, beneficial massage, and gentle chiropractic care. We can help you manage your pain and discomfort through a customized treatment plan.
The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is body-wide aches and pains with defined tender points, and many times, trigger points. It’s important not to confuse the two. Trigger points are made up of spasmed muscle fibers, whereas tender points are knots filled with ground substance. Sufferers of Fibromyalgia often have a combination of the two.
Trigger point therapy for fibromyalgia is similar to trigger point therapy for headaches or low back pain. The trigger points are the same with a change in intensity. Since the muscles in patients with fibromyalgia are very sensitive, it is necessary to use less pressure on their trigger points. Symptoms can improve dramatically with light trigger point therapy.
Another option for managing fibromyalgia is massage therapy. Therapeutic massage manipulates your muscles and soft tissues and helps relieve deep muscle pain. Massage also helps ease the pain of tender areas, muscles spasms, and stiff or tense muscles. We recommend massage therapy to all patients because it complements chiropractic adjustments and assists in the healing process.
Fibromyalgia Treatment with Chiropractic Care
All branches of your central nervous system connect to your spine. So chiropractic adjustments can reopen the energy pathways in your nervous system to the injured (or non-functional) parts of your body. Chiropractic care can help improve your response to fibromyalgia by correcting vertebral subluxations, realigning other joints, and improving body functions and the oxygen exchange in your tissues. Chiropractic care is critical in order to keep the spine and muscles from losing too much movement.
Because people with fibromyalgia have a diminished muscle healing ability, adjustments are usually modified slightly to be more gentle than normal. Gentle adjustments decrease the stress on small supporting muscles of the spine, which can be easily injured. Energy work may also be helpful for people who are “touch sensitive.” It is important to make sure your chiropractic doctor is aware of your fibromyalgia diagnosis so that they can adjust their treatment accordingly. We may also recommend Massage or Trigger Point Therapy to enhance your treatment.