Fibromyalgia is defined as a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues throughout the body. It is thought by medical researchers that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. People suffering from fibromyalgia experience fatigue, and sleep, memory and mood difficulties.

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting an estimated 10 million people in the U.S., as well as 3 percent to 5 percent of the world population. This is according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. This disorder is prevalent in women with 75 percent to 90 percent of the people diagnosed being women. However, it does occur in men and children, as well.

Chiropractor Care As a Treatment Option for Fibromyalgia

For the treatment of fibromyalgia, many people reach for over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs like muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. But one treatment is especially effective at treating fibromyalgia — chiropractic care!

As fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal issue, addressing the pain at its source with regular, gentle adjustments is highly effective at reducing the pain. Chiropractors believe that the body is a connected system. If your bones, ligaments, muscles, joints and tendons are not functioning properly then they can lead to an improperly functioning system. Chiropractors help restore the balance in your skeletal structure through adjustments, manipulations and stretches to eliminate the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Patients with this syndrome have been seeking out chiropractic care in increasing numbers in recent years for the neck pain, back pain, and leg cramps that are typically associated with fibromyalgia. Many patients have found that a few adjustments to the neck and spine can greatly relieve the chronic pain.

How Chiropractic Care Addresses the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

As chiropractors, one of our focuses in overall health and well-being is stress. Subluxations—misalignment of the vertebrae in the spine — can be caused by the three Ts — toxins, trauma, and thoughts (stress). These dilocations hinder optimal function of the nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs and a network of nerve cells and fibers that transmit signals from different parts of the body. Health issues emerge when subluxations thwart this communication between the brain and the body.

Vertebral subluxations are local areas of spinal restriction and/or malposition. These lesions can not only irritate the nerves that exit the spine (peripheral nervous system), but the irritation caused by subluxations will also feed back into the brain (central nervous system). Information from the joints of the spine is transmitted to an important structure in the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a vital portion of the brain responsible for body awareness, balance and coordination.

As a result, irritation of the joints in the spine caused by vertebral subluxation may be linked to any of the symptoms commonly related to fibromyalgia.

Chiropractors use gentle adjustments to the spine to remove these subluxations.

When a patient with fibromyalgia visits a chiropractor, that chiropractor will typically treat the pain at the pressure points in their back, neck, shoulders, and other joints. Chiropractors address the fibromyalgia symptoms by using gentle pressure or stretching, multiple gentle movements of one area, or specific quick thrusts to help return bones — often in the spine — to a more normal position. These adjustments help the body work better mechanically and enable nerve signals to travel more easily.

Chiropractic Care As A Short-Term & Long-Term Solution

Studies have linked chiropractic care and management of the fibromyalgia systems such as pain, fatigue and quality of sleep. One study, in particular, found that “chiropractic management improved the patients’ cervical and lumbar ranges of motion, straight leg raise and reported pain levels.”

Another study examined the effectiveness of spinal manipulation done by chiropractors on relieving symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. For instance, after just 15 treatments, patients reported a decrease in pain and fatigue, and an increase in the quality of their sleep!

There is yet more medical research that indicates that chiropractic care can have a major impact when treating fibromyalgia. For example, one study involved chiropractors who surveyed fibromyalgia patients before, during and after a series of treatments. They did this to see if they responded favorably to chiropractic adjustments, combined with a specific soft tissue technique known as ischemic compression — a physical therapy technique. In this preliminary study, 60 percent of the subjects who were treated with this protocol experienced a significant improvement — with respect to reduced pain, improved sleep, and less fatigue.

What is even more encouraging from this study is that improvements were reported to be maintained in 1-month follow up appointments. A routine consisting of bi-weekly or monthly chiropractor appointments is generally very helpful for fibromyalgia patients.

Chiropractic Care Improves Quality of Life

Regular adjustments from your chiropractor can help fibromyalgia patients live a more active life, restoring proper positioning and range of motion, which results in reduced pain or event eliminated pain. The evidence from numerous studies points out that chiropractic care really does enhance the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients.

If you are tired of living with pain, consider visiting your local chiropractor at NewEdge Wellness Center located in Kennewick. Call (509) 737-9355 or schedule your appointment by going to  schedule online.

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