Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that effects up to one in fifty people in the United States, according to the American College of Rheumatology. Some experts also estimate that women experience fibromyalgia as much as ten times more than men. On top of that, it’s difficult to diagnose and its symptoms are largely “invisible” making it a condition not easily understood by the general population. However, relief may be closer than you think: in the hands of a chiropractor.
Much of the time, medical professionals will treat fibromyalgia with a combination of different medications, including those for pain, muscle relaxers, and even anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications. There is another alternative, however. Holistic medicine can also be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. This whole person-centered approach is helpful by examining the patient’s lifestyle, eliminating negative practices and introducing new techniques to improve symptoms and combat p6ain. If you are interested in exploring this further, a chiropractor is a great place to start.
What is Fibromyalgia?
One of the reasons Fibromyalgia is so hard to diagnose is that medical science does not yet understand exactly what it is or how it comes about. It is suspected, however, that it affects the manner in which pain is processed by the brain. Somehow, the brain receives a signal to amplify pain and spread the pain to different points throughout the body.
For some people who suffer from this disease, it seems to appear suddenly, sometimes after a severe trauma, psychological or physical. Other times, it seems to come on gradually over time. Symptoms of fibromyalgia are varied and include such things as mood swings, memory loss, depression, pain and fatigue. People with this condition are often also plagued with tension headaches, TMJ, and irritable bowel syndrome.
There are two major treatment modalities for fibromyalgia. The first involves traditional medicine which works primarily through medications to treat the symptoms. As previously mentioned, this may involve painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications among others. The other form of treatment involves a wholistic approach. It incorporates such things as nutrition, mindfulness, exercise and chiropractic care, to name just a few.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
There are a variety of methods a chiropractor might use to treat fibromyalgia. First, it’s important to remember that chiropractors believe in treating the whole person instead of just symptoms. They believe the body is a system of connected parts. If one of those parts is not functioning properly, then the entire system may malfunction. A chiropractor believes that a strong skeletal structure is one of the most important components of the system. Therapeutic treatments center around restoring balance to the system as a whole. Keeping that in mind, the following are some of the treatments a chiropractor might use for fibromyalgia.
This technique is one of the hallmarks of chiropractic care. It helps to realign the spine and repair the connection with the nervous system. Some experts believe that this helps to, in a way, “reset” the nervous system, allowing the brain to process pain more appropriately. This benefits fibromyalgia treatments as the cause of the pain related to this disease is often attributed to the inaccurate pain signals sent by the brain throughout the central nervous system.
Your chiropractor may also recommend physical therapy. Many chiropractors even offer this service in their office. Since fibromyalgia patients suffer from severe pain, it often results in a lack of exercise and reduction in muscle tone. Physical therapy can assist in restoring muscle tone and setting the patient on a regular stretching and exercise regimen that can help to maintain strength and reduce pain.
Since chiropractic care focuses on a whole person-centered approach, your chiropractor may also make lifestyle recommendations to counteract your fibromyalgia symptoms. They will conduct an evaluation to determine what changes you can make to your current lifestyle. They may also suggest additions to your regular routine. So, for instance, if you are normally sedentary, your chiropractor might suggest a short walk every couple of hours. If you suffer from anxiety, they might recommend some meditation or mindfulness practice.
Nutrition plays an important role in overall wellness. Your chiropractor can make recommendations for dietary changes that can positively impact fibromyalgia symptoms. They may also suggest nutritional supplements. This treatment is often used in conjunction with other suggested treatment options.
Are Chiropractor Treatments for Fibromyalgia Effective?
Studies have shown that chiropractic care can be very effective in treating fibromyalgia pain. One study in particular examined the effects of spinal manipulation on symptom relief. Participants reported an increase in the quality of sleep as well as a decrease in pain and fatigue after just fifteen treatments.
While the number of visits and type of treatments will vary between patients, many do report a significant decrease in pain in the neck, back, and legs after only one visit. Furthermore, there is less risk associated with chiropractic treatments for fibromyalgia as there are no medications involved. One important thing to keep in mind for fibromyalgia patients, though, is to build a treatment plan slowly, as the condition already causes fatigue and pain, so it’s necessary to work within the patient’s current capacity and take the time to build an effective treatment plan.
If you have fibromyalgia and are struggling to find relief from your pain and other symptoms, consider consulting with a chiropractor. Chiropractic treatments for fibromyalgia range from nutritional advice and lifestyle changes to physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments. With no surgery or medications involved, chiropractic care is safe and also provides a myriad of treatment options. It can also be conducted in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
Reach Out to a Chiropractor Today to Manage Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms
If you would like to learn more about seeing a chiropractor to treat your fibromyalgia, please contact Freedom Health Centers at (972) 542-3300 today. Our experienced staff can provide a full evaluation to determine if chiropractic care is appropriate for your needs and develop an individualized treatment plan.