Fibromyalgia is one of those conditions that can be so debilitating that it can prevent you from taking care of even the most basic daily tasks. For the more than 4 million adults throughout the U.S. that suffer from fibromyalgia, this can mean the inability to work consistently, less time spent with friends and family, and an overall reduction in quality of life.
The most recognizable and better-known symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- All-over pain – fibromyalgia sufferers experience a widespread, constant dull achiness throughout their bodies.
- Fatigue – sleep difficulties often plague fibromyalgia sufferers. Sleep can be disrupted by pain, can be unrefreshing, and can be accompanied by other disorders such as restless leg syndrome.
- Cognitive problems – sometimes referred to as “fibro fog”, cognitive difficulties faced by people with fibromyalgia include poor concentration and focus, and having a hard time paying attention.
Fibromyalgia and the Processing of Pain
The prevailing understanding of fibromyalgia is that those people who suffer from its effects process pain differently than those who do not. The system that is responsible for sending and receiving pain signals between the brain and the rest of the body is the nervous system. Your central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of your brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is made up of all of the nerves that branch off of the CNS in order to give function (movement, sensation, etc.) to all of the other parts of your body. These functions include the things that we consciously do such as moving our feet to walk, as well as the things that we do not have to think about to coordinate, such as our digestion and the way that our brain perceives certain sensations like pain, heat, or cold.
Since the nervous system is the one that controls all of our life-giving functions, its delicate tissues and nerves are protected by one of our bodies toughest tissues – bone. Your skull and the vertebrae of your spine surround the central nervous system to help ensure that signals can be sent and received without being interfered with. The problem comes in when there is a misalignment of your vertebrae, particularly of the ones that sit at the very top of the neck. Your upper neck, or upper cervical spine, protects a particularly critical part of the CNS, your brainstem. The brainstem controls many of the body’s unconscious functions (the ones you don’t have to think about) and acts as a relay station for many of the other signals between the brain and body. In order for pain processing to take place normally, pain signals must reach and be interpreted by the brain appropriately. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, to try and address the cause of the abnormal pain processing?
How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Can Help
Upper cervical chiropractors look very closely at central nervous system function. We recognize the importance of a properly functioning nervous system and how when signals are not interpreted correctly this can lead to the start of numerous health conditions, including fibromyalgia. The area of the spine that we focus on, the atlas (C1) and axis (C2), is the most unique of the entire spine. These bones not only hold up the weight of your head, but they are also shaped differently from the rest so that we can move our heads around. Because of this, these bones are also particularly vulnerable to misaligning. This becomes problematic when a misalignment starts to irritate the brainstem and inhibit normal blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow between the head and neck. Brainstem irritation can contribute to abnormal pain processing, abnormal hormone production
There are cases of very promising research emerging about success stories from upper cervical chiropractic care:
- After a two-year history of constant pain, periods of being bedridden, and severe depression a 32-year old female experienced a complete remission of her fibromyalgia symptoms after having her atlas alignment corrected with upper cervical chiropractic care.
- A 31-year old female had been suffering from constant back pain, shooting pain down her legs, 3 to 4 headaches per week, fatigue, GI troubles and depression. Under upper cervical specific care, she was able to discontinue use of all pain medications and start to improve her quality of life by working out regularly at the gym and running.
- A 45-year old female with an 11-year history of fibromyalgia underwent a course of upper cervical chiropractic care to correct her atlas misalignment. Her symptoms included migraines, chronic neck and back pain, sciatica, depression, and ulcers. Within her first 6 months of care, she no longer needed her wheelchair. She was able to perform all of her basic daily functions unassisted and get a full night of sleep in any position. She reported increased energy levels, discontinued medication use, and no more headaches. At the end of her care, she was able to swim, walk longer distances, and take care of house and yard-work without any pain.
The fact that fibromyalgia can be helped so dramatically by a simple, effective, and natural means is big news for those who have been coping with debilitating symptoms for any length of time. At Advanced Spinal Care, we perform a detailed analysis on each of our patients to determine if our approach can help to address the underlying cause of your condition. If your fibromyalgia symptoms are being caused or worsened by an atlas misalignment, then we can gently correct it here at our office to get you started down the path towards a better quality of life.
Tedder N, Tedder A, Gorshack S. Resolution of Chronic Fibromyalgia and Improved Spinal Curves Following Correction of an Atlas Subluxation: A Case Report & Selective Review of the Literature. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res 2015; Jul 13:24-29.
Soriano W, Apatiga A. Resolution of Fibromyalgia & Polypharmacy Concomitant with Increased Cervical Curve & Improved Quality of Life Following Reduction of Upper Cervical Subluxation: A Case Study. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res 2014; Oct 21:61-67.
Alibhoy N, Resolution of Fibromyalgia Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Case Study. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res 2011; Jun 20:39-44.
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