Because fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in specific areas of the body, conventional treatment usually involves prescription medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. However, chiropractic care has increasingly gained recognition as an effective complementary therapy for managing fibromyalgia pain.
Chiropractic care focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. This non-invasive approach aims to restore the proper function of the body and alleviate pain and discomfort. In this blog, we will discuss the ways in which chiropractic care can help manage fibromyalgia pain and improve the overall quality of life for those suffering from this debilitating condition.
Can chiropractic care help relieve fibromyalgia pain?
Yes. Chiropractic care can help with the pain of fibromyalgia but it can’t cure it. We don’t know enough about fibromyalgia yet to speak in terms of curing it but we can help clients manage their pain.
We do know it is a nerve condition that causes pain throughout the body. As chiropractors, we treat the body to eliminate pain. We have plenty of therapies and treatments that can help provide relief from those symptoms. If you’re in a flare-up, we can often get that to calm down or even shorten its duration.
The Root Cause of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord (i.e. the central nervous system) process painful and non-painful signals. That’s why you’ll sometimes hear it referred to as a nerve or neurological disorder.
Spinal Misalignment and Fibromyalgia
A misaligned spine doesn’t cause fibromyalgia but it can definitely contribute to or compound some of the symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a nerve disorder. If the spine is misaligned and putting pressure on a nerve that’s going to cause a problem, right? Getting the spine properly aligned, and relieving tension in the muscles that may have resulted from that misalignment, all of that should ease some of the discomfort that a patient may be experiencing.
The Best Treatment for Fibromyalgia
There is no single, universal treatment that is best for all fibromyalgia patients. Every patient is experiencing a different level of severity in terms of symptoms. The right and most effective treatment to provide relief from the symptoms depends on what the patient is feeling at the time.
If I feel that there’s a lot of muscle tension in an area, massage in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments might be recommended. If someone is in the midst of a severe flare-up, muscle stem to reduce the inflammation could be the best course of treatment. There are different ways to treat fibromyalgia pain, but generally, massage therapy (sometimes including trigger point), adjustments, and physical therapy may all be employed to help relieve the pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
Managing Symptoms and Flare-Ups
Fibromyalgia affects the entire body, so to limit the impact of symptoms, take care of your entire self. We know that poor quality of sleep, bad nutrition, dehydration, stress, anxiety, etc., all affect our body; these all affect fibromyalgia flare-ups, too. The recommendations here won’t be novel: exercise, eat right, and stop your tobacco use (if you are a tobacco user). Maintaining good health, both emotionally and physically, is important to managing a chronic condition like this.
You want to make sure you are doing everything you can to take care of your mind and body on a regular basis so that, hopefully, you can limit the frequency and intensity of flare-ups.
Common Treatments That Actually Worsen Symptoms
When dealing with nerve pain and inflammation in a certain area, putting heat on it is not recommended. Heat causes blood vessels to dilate and brings more inflammation to the area, exacerbating the problem. A similar situation likely occurs in people with fibromyalgia, where a hyperactive nerve causes discomfort and pain. While it’s not certain whether there is an inflammation response, heat could make it worse. Again, it’s important to avoid being too aggressive with treatments, as this can cause other symptoms to flare up and worsen.
Chiropractic As a Treatment for Other Chronic Pain Conditions
Can chiropractic care help with other kinds of chronic pain? Yes! Can chiropractic treatment always get a patient 100% free of pain? No, but often chiropractic techniques can help to reduce that pain significantly. For example, if a patient comes in reporting a pain level of eight out of ten, treatment can often reduce that pain to a three out of ten, improving that patient’s quality of life.
The degree to which pain is reduced and made manageable depends on the underlying causes of the pain. These causes might include surgery, degeneration, arthritis, etc. These are issues that can’t necessarily be eliminated or ‘fixed’ but the pain they cause can be reduced.
Other times, chronic pain issues stem from letting an injury, discomfort, or other pain go unaddressed. You feel pain and think it’ll work itself out but over time, it worsens rather than getting better. In those cases, we can diagnose the cause of that pain and we can get rid of that altogether.
Chronic Pain Conditions Best Suited to Chiropractic Care
Any condition related to the musculoskeletal system is likely suited for chiropractic treatment. Commonly, these include conditions like low-back pain, neck pain, tension headaches, osteoarthritis, (and fibromyalgia, of course).
Smerglia Chiropractic Can Help
At Smerglia Chiropractic, our holistic approach to health and wellness includes non-invasive, drug-free treatment for a wide range of ailments including fibromyalgia and other chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions. Reach out to learn more about how we can help you manage pain and discomfort today.