Fibromyalgia is a painful and little understood condition that scientists believe to affect as many as 5 million Americans. For reasons unknown, women are the primary sufferers, making up an estimated80-90% of the patient population. Those who experience fibromyalgia are afflicted with widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and tender points throughout the body. In order for a diagnosis to be made, a couple of factors must be present:
- Four Quadrants – This means that pain must be present in all four quadrants of the body: right and left side, as well as both above and below the waist.
- Tender Points – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) identifies 18 tender points that may be associated with fibromyalgia. Eleven or more must be present for diagnosis.
- Slow Onset – Fibromyalgia is sometimes confused with a condition called myofascitis. While both are associated with pain in all four quadrants and similar tender points, myofascitis typically occurs rather suddenly following a particular injury or activity. Fibromyalgia, however, tends to progress slowly and often shows its first signs during early adulthood.
For patients who are given a diagnosis, finally knowing the reason behind their constant discomfort offers little in terms of relief. Science is getting closer to discovering the real reasons behind fibromyalgia, but current understanding is so limited that treatment options are widespread with minimal data to support results. What one patient finds success with may offer no relief to others. What healthcare providers can agree on is that it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a well-balanced diet, and getting plenty of exercise and quality sleep in order to help reduce symptoms.
How Chiropractic can Help
While a chiropractor may not be able to cure fibromyalgia, he or she can certainly help alleviate pain through management of the spine and surrounding soft tissue. Much of the discomfort associated with fibromyalgia comes from tightening of muscles and reduced mobility. When loss of movement occurs in the spine, a neurological reflex will cause muscles to constrict even further. Maintaining comfortable range of motion in the spinal area is one of the most important factors for all fibromyalgia patients, and some may require adjustments as frequently as 3 or 4 times each month in order to preserve their mobility.
Particularly in those suffering from fibromyalgia, diminished ability of the muscles to heal themselves is a concern. For this reason, it is important to seek treatment from a physician who is skilled in matters of the spine and surrounding tissue. A chiropractor’s unique understanding of this region allows them to offer gentle manipulation that can restore blood flow and range of motion without causing additional pain or damage to the tissue. Additionally, other services often found within chiropractic practices such as nutritional advising and acupuncture can prove beneficial in many cases as well.
At SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers, we understand the devastating impact that fibromyalgia can have. We’ve successfully treated many patients suffering from the condition, bringing them increased levels of comfort and mobility. For patients in the Greater Charlotte area, we have skilled teams of chiropractors at offices located in Gastonia, Belmont, and Denver, NC. If you are in these areas and considering chiropractic care to treat your painful fibromyalgia symptoms, click here to request your initial consultation and begin the process of developing a specialized treatment plan.