What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is the name given to a condition consisting of chronic pain in multiple areas, global stiffness, and soreness. It affects around 2% of the population and, although it can occur in men, the vast majority of sufferers are women. It can be difficult to diagnose as it shares symptoms with many other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. Fibromyalgia is usually triggered following a single or series of stressful events, these can be physical, chemical, or emotional.
Fibromyalgia Key Points
- Diagnosis of fibromyalgia made once other conditions have been ruled out such as; chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Fibromyalgia is commonly associated with IBS, anxiety and depression; these conditions are diagnosed separately
- 3-6 sites of severe pain or 6-7 sites of mild pain lasting for 3 months are needed for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia
- Exercise is a good way to help manage the condition
- Brain fog or “fibro-fog” is a common symptom affecting memory
What are the Different Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
- Pain & stiffness all over the body
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Depression and anxiety
- Cognitive problems (memory)
In fibromyalgia the pain signals are thought to be amplified in the body. The pain needs to be consistent for over 3 months, on both sides of your body, above and below your waist. People who have fibromyalgia often have associated issues such as TMJ problems, headaches/migraines, anxiety and depression.
Fibromyalgia can cause extreme tiredness. This can range from mild symptoms to debilitating, enough to make you not want to leave your bed, even after just waking.
People with fibromyalgia are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression at the time of diagnosis. The relationship may be due to connections of the parasympathetic nervous system - the area of our body that responds to stress - and the chemicals released that cause an increase in pain sensitivity.
This is often described as brain fog or ‘fibro fog’. This is the feeling of poor memory issues, forgetfulness or inability to concentrate short term. There is no known reason for this.
What are the Common Causes of Fibromyalgia?
The cause of fibromyalgia is still not understood. However it is increasingly thought that the increased stimulation of the spinal cord and nerve fibers cause neuroplastic changes. This in turn causes an increase in chemicals in the body that the brain recognises as pain signals.
Many factors can be attributed to the cause such as genetics. Infections also seem to trigger or aggravate the symptoms and increase physical, chemical or emotional stressors.
Fibromyalgia & Upper Cervical Chiropractic
Chiropractic care focuses on allowing the nervous system to function free of interference. Patients with a problem with the upper cervical spine can see changes in the way their nervous system functions which can result in pain signals being sent to your body which shouldn't be sent. The increase in pain signals can lead to an increase in stress hormones which intensifies the pain signals.
Meet the Team
Christian is a graduate of the UK's largest and oldest chiropractic institution, the Anglo European College of Chiropractic. Additionally he is one of the very few Europeans to be admitted into the esteemed Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers (ACP).
Christian also serves as one of the board members for the United Chiropractic Association (UCA).
Elliott is registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) and is a member of the United Chiropractic Association (UCA), and a member of the International Federation of Chiropractors and Organisations (IFCO).
He is passionate about helping patients achieve their goals and providing the best standard of care to enable them to thrive.
Study to Support
The 48-year-old female in this study had been previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She also had neck pain, shoulder pain, upper mid back pain, headaches, and low back pain. Her back pain was so severe that she could not sit for longer than an hour or stand longer than 30 was a painful task. She could not function to complete any household duties without pain had severely impacted her social life. She had episodes of dizziness and Meniere’s disease, sleep loss, and dysmenorrhea. She was on medication for her fibromyalgia, hot flashes, depression, fluid retention, allergies, and sleep loss. She had been on these medications for a long time, but they did not help to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
The chiropractor examined her and found structural shifts in her neck, upper back, mid-back, low back, and also had very tight muscles and trigger points in her mid-back and lower back. Range of motion, quality of life questionnaires, and x-rays confirmed the findings. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is these obstructions, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.
Following chiropractic adjustments, the patient experienced marked improvement in her symptoms. She reported going from having ‘severe pain’ to ‘minor pain’. Her Neck Pain Index and Back Pain Index scores improved dramatically and her medical doctor updated her diagnosis to remission of fibromyalgia.
The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.
Fibromyalgia Log Book
We have created a resource for sufferers of Fibromyalgia to use in order to track the frequency and intensity of their symptoms as well as see how things are impacting their condition.
We have both an online version and a downloadable version.
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