WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA, AND WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that causes physical pain and mental discomfort. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), in the United States, approximately 5 million adults over the age of 18 experience fibromyalgia and roughly 80 – 90% of those who suffer are female. Fibromyalgia is neither an autoimmune or inflammation based illness, but research does suggest nervous system involvement.
Common symptoms include widespread pain, stiffness in the jaw, tired facial muscles and surrounding tissues, headaches, disturbed sleep, painful menstruation, irritable bowel syndrome, numb and tingling hands and feet, temperature sensitivity, fatigue, memory/concentration problems, and restless leg syndrome.
Frequently, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia takes some time. Many other conditions resemble fibromyalgia, such as hypothyroidism and polymyalgia rheumatica, and must be ruled out. There are no laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis and this also contributes to the complication..
The American College of Rheumatology describes three criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
- Pain and symptoms, based on the number of painful areas (out of a possible 19), the severity of fatigue, waking up unrefreshed, and having cognitive disturbances.
- Ongoing symptoms for greater than 3 months
- Lack of clear diagnosis of another condition that would explain the pain and accompanying symptoms
IS THERE A CURE FOR FIBROMYALGIA?
Unfortunately, doctors are unable to find an exact cause for fibromyalgia. Medical experts believe that there are three main factors that cause fibromyalgia: infectious disease, genetics, and physical or emotional traumas.
There is also a hereditary component, in that women who have a close relative diagnosed with fibromyalgia have a higher risk of being affected by fibromyalgia. Further, people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or ankylosing spondylitis have a higher risk of developing the condition.
HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC CARE HELP?
Numerous studies have connected the dots between chiropractic care and symptom management of fibromyalgia, including pain, fatigue and sleep quality. One study found that ‘chiropractic management improved patients’ cervical and lumbar ranges of motion, straight leg raise and reported pain levels,’ and another study showed that fibromyalgia patients who combined resistance training and chiropractic care at least twice weekly reported improvement of their symptoms, flexibility, coordination, balance, and endurance.
At Innate Life Chiropractic, we provide gentle chiropractic care that along with proper self-care such as exercise, proper diet, and good sleep hygiene, may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of our patients report that their symptoms are markedly improved after regular chiropractic care with us.