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Reducing Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

What is fibromyalgia, and what are the symptoms?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome that causes physical pain and mental discomfort. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), in the United States, approximately 5 million adults over the age of 18 experience fibromyalgia and roughly 80 – 90% of fibromyalgia patients are female. Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune or inflammation based illness, but research does suggest nervous system involvement.

Common symptoms include widespread pain, stiffness in the jaw, tired facial muscles and surrounding tissues, headaches, disturbed sleep, painful menstruation, irritable bowel syndrome, numb and tingling hands and feet, temperature sensitivity, fatigue, memory/concentration problems, and restless leg syndrome.

Frequently, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia takes some time. Many other conditions resemble fibromyalgia, such as hypothyroidism and polymyalgia rheumatica, and must be ruled out. There are no laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and this also contributes to the complication.

Fibromyalgia can be thought of as a differential diagnosis for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, but the difference lies in the symptoms and blood work. Unlike fibromyalgia, these rheumatic diseases cause joint and tissue inflammation.

The American College of Rheumatology describes three criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

  1. Pain and symptoms, based on the number of painful areas (out of a possible 19), the severity of fatigue, waking up unrefreshed and having cognitive disturbances.
  2. Ongoing symptoms for greater than 3 months
  3. Lack of clear diagnosis of another condition that would explain the pain and accompanying symptoms

How does Chiropractic Care improve symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Numerous studies have connected the dots between chiropractic care and symptom management of fibromyalgia, including pain, fatigue and sleep quality. One study found that ‘chiropractic management improved patients’ cervical and lumbar ranges of motion, straight leg raise and reported pain levels,’ and another study showed that fibromyalgia patients who combined resistance training and chiropractic care at least twice weekly reported improvement of their symptoms, flexibility, coordination, balance, and endurance.

At Community Chiropractic of Acton, we provide gentle chiropractic care that along with proper self-care such as exercise, proper diet, and good sleep hygiene, may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of our fibromyalgia patients report that their symptoms are markedly improved after regular chiropractic care with us.