It’s hard to believe that even today some eyebrows still go up when the mention of chiropractic care is made. However, as time goes on, the conventional medical community is becoming more relaxed with it – especially since there are some syndromes and conditions that respond better to chiropractic than almost any other type of treatment. As it turns out, chiropractic care is an excellent and common alternative treatment for fibromyalgia pain.
Fibromyalgia – A Nervous System Disease?
Although the underlying cause of fibromyalgia is still undetermined, most researchers agree that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a Central Nervous System (CNS) disorder that may be related to a chemical imbalance in the brain or to oversensitive nerves that react intensely to external stimuli. Whatever causes it, the research studies indicate that FMS patients have increased levels of substance P, a peptide found in body tissues, especially nerve tissue that is involved in the transmission of pain and in inflammation, as well as having low levels of blood flow to the thalamus. There are also low levels of serotonin and tryptophan, an essential amino acid, and abnormalities in the immune system. There are studies that seem to indicate a person may be genetically predisposed to FMS susceptibility; however, for many people the symptoms of FMS are triggered by an accident, illness or injury – some sort of trauma. The studies are ongoing in a bid to find a solid link between FMS and a CNS defect.
Chiropractic Cure For Fibromyalgia?
Chiropractic philosophy is based on the premise that the body is a self-healing organism. To reduce pain and increase healing, spinal adjustments are used by the doctor of chiropractic. Pain of pressure points, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and musculoskeletal pain are all treatable with chiropractic. In the case of FMS, chiropractic may be effective because it improves pain levels and increases range of movement in the cervical and lumbar regions of the body.
To increase mobility between the spinal vertebrae that may be restricted, locked, or out of position, chiropractors use hand adjustments. There are a variety of ways the chiropractor will make an adjustment:
· with gentle pressure or stretching
· multiple gentle movements of one area
· specific high-velocity thrusts
The adjustments help return the bones to their proper alignment or promote movement that in turn reduces pain and promotes healing.
Since chiropractic therapy applies the theory that the status of the CNS and its relation to the spine and muscles determines the health of an individual, without the use of medications or surgery, it is reasonable that spinal manipulation is a valid protocol for FMS. Spinal manipulation is used to relieve pressure and increase blood flow to specific nerves and works to alleviate abnormalities in the central nervous system that are associated with fibromyalgia.
The Alternative Treatment For Fibromyalgia
There is no single test to determine if a person has fibromyalgia. There are a series of applications that point to it, but often the diagnosis takes up to five years because symptoms of other illnesses and conditions often overlap FMS. A chiropractor will test the 18 specific tender points, study the person’s history, and perform a physical examination in his efforts to determine the condition. Experiencing pain in 11 of the 18 points, and widespread debilitating pain throughout the body can be strong indicators that the individual has fibromyalgia.
As an alternative to the medical method of treatment fibromyalgia – that is treatment geared toward treating the symptoms with medication – chiropractic offers treatment without the pills. Pain killers can negatively affect the way the central nervous system processes information. The more medication that is taken the greater the chance of numbness to external stimuli, which means the body can no longer react properly to certain stimuli. By relieving the pressure on the spinal nerves through spinal manipulation, proper nerve pathways are open and pain is relieved, and proper reaction to stimuli is restored.
Although chiropractic treatment does not cure the syndrome, it is very effective in alleviating symptoms, relieving pain, restoring movement, and increasing quality of life as the FMS sufferer receives a sense of freedom for the constraints of this syndrome. Read more about fibromyalgia and chiropractic here.