What is Fibromyalgia?
Due to abnormal pain processing in the brain, the soft tissues and muscles experience widespread pain. Patients with fibromyalgia experience pain and tenderness throughout the body. Moreover, they have disturbed sleeping routines and cognitive behaviors.
Fibromyalgia often produces confusion and doubt among health workers at the time of diagnosis. Although it is a common neurologic disorder it is often confused with arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and other musculoskeletal disorders. Fibromyalgia is most commonly observed in women. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women.
What are the causes?
Rheumatology experts are still researching the causes of fibromyalgia. To this date, the exact cause of this neurologic disorder is not confirmed. However, doctors are confident that fibromyalgia is clearly not arthritis, inflammatory disease, autoimmune disease, or any joint and muscle disorder. Genetics has a huge contribution in transferring the likelihood of fibromyalgia from one generation to another.
However, genetics is not always the cause. Usually, physical or psychological trauma results in damage to the pain perceiving and processing region in the brain which ultimately results in insensitivity towards pain. Accidents and repeated blows to the head and neck region usually misalign the first vertebra of the spinal cord due to which the communication of signals becomes disrupted.
Moreover, the vertebral foramen of the cervical vertebrae facilitates the blood flow to the brain. Any damage to the cervical vertebrae impairs blood flow. Due to similar damage, the CSF is unable to drain and intracranial pressure begins to increase which alters the optimal functional ability of the body. Individuals who have been exposed to excessive stress like physical and sexual abuse, violence, anxiety, depression, or PTSD also fall victim to this chronic condition.
Who is at risk?
As mentioned earlier, women are at higher risk to experience fibromyalgia. However, males can also develop this disorder. Fibromyalgia is most likely to occur due to genetic interferences. It usually runs in a family.
If an individual is already experiencing a musculoskeletal disease their chances to develop fibromyalgia increase. Disorders like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus often contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. The most common risk factors include injuries, stress, and infections. Usually, road accidents, falling off from height, and being hit by a heavy object make it quite likely for the injured person to develop fibromyalgia.
Lastly, age is an important risk factor too. It is important and not so important at the same time. As young as a teenager or as old as a person of 60 years old, this chronic neurologic condition can develop in any of them. Most importantly, middle-aged to old-aged people are at a greater risk rather than young people.
What are the symptoms?
Fibromyalgia presents symptoms that are not noticeable instantly. Close observation of conditions helps in diagnosing FMS. In this condition, a patient suffers from persistent dull aches for a minimum of three months. This pain occurs on both sides of the body and above and below the waist. This means the pain spreads to the entire body. Due to this pain, the sufferer feels tired. Extreme fatigue causes restlessness and exhaustion throughout the day.
No matter how long the individual sleeps they wake up tired and sleepy. The desire to sleep even after long hours of sleep remains constant. In fibromyalgia, sleep apnea and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) are common occurrences.Since an individual with fatigue and an aching body do not satisfy their need for sufficient sleep their ability to critically think and analyze also fades away. Such individuals are unable to comprehend others’ instructions and details and fail to respond attentively to their talks.
This condition is called fibro fog or brain fog which is short for fibromyalgia fog. They not only have trouble staying alert and attentive but also experience memory lapses. In 2015, a study was published in Rheumatology International in which the point-of-view of patients with fibromyalgia was shared. According to the study, patients find brain fog more upsetting and stressful rather than pain. Unfortunately, the symptoms of fibromyalgia are more severe in women as compared to me. The pain is more exaggerated, morning fatigue is more severe, and is often coupled with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Women with fibromyalgia experience worse menstrual pain as compared to other women.
Pain is a hallmark of fibromyalgia
Chest pain, leg pain, and back pain are the most common sites for fibromyalgia pain. When pain in the chest is triggered it resembles a heart attack which often initiates panic in the person. Chest pain feels like sharp, stabbing, or burning pain. It originates in the cartilage that connects your ribs to your breastbone.
Pain from the chest is referred to as shoulders and arms. Back pain is a similar pain that is the most common complaint among patients. A dull ache in the lower back often puts the patient in discomfort. Lastly, leg pain coupled with fatigue develops an urge to move uncontrollably. This is called Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Legs feel tired and tied with weight. Either there is deep burning or throbbing pain in the legs or there are tingling and numbness. Both indicate fibromyalgia.
Upper cervical chiropractic is the solution!
Pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatment approaches are somewhat beneficial but upper cervical chiropractic care provides healing of symptoms and complete healing of Fibromyalgia within a few sessions.
According to chiropractors, a misalignment of only ¼ millimeters in the cervical bones can give rise to Fibromyalgia. Gently, the experts realign the C1 and C2 vertebra which secures the brainstem to ensure a decrease in the symptoms of fibromyalgia.