Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome which is used to describe many symptoms. These symptoms include muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple sensitive tender points. Currently, Fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million people within the United States, 90% of these people are women. However, it is still unknown why the number of people that suffer from Fibromyalgia are predominantly women.
It is extremely difficult to diagnose the chronic disease of Fibromyalgia and it can take many years to properly identify. Fibromyalgia has been defined as a pain lasting more than 3 months in all four sections of the body, meaning both your right and left side along with above and below the waist.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that may never go away throughout your entire lifetime. However, on the plus side it doesn’t cause any damage to your joints, muscles or internal organs.
A buildup in the muscle of a protein called “ground substance” is caused by the disease process of Fibromyalgia. This protein is found throughout the whole body and helps to make all of the different structures stronger. However, when there is an excessive amount of protein formed an injured area does not heal properly and can form knots.
Treatment of Fibromyalgia is extremely difficult, however a combination of Chiropractic care, trigger point therapy and lifestyle changes can be highly effective in reducing the severity. When treating Fibromyalgia it requires a team approach and it is important that the sufferer finds the appropriate professionals that understand the condition and are happy to work together.
Chiropractic Care for Fibromyalgia
When a person suffers from Fibromyalgia, their muscles will begin to tighten and lose their flexibility. This causes the spine to decrease its own flexibility, which leads to further tightening of the muscles. This is a vicious cycle and it can get worse and worse, causing more and more pain. Chiropractic care is essential for Fibromyalgia sufferers as it allows the spine and muscles to keep as much flexibility as possible. Spinal adjustments and frequent movement of the spine can counteract the effects of Fibromyalgia. Regular treatments, around 3 to 4 per month, will help to alleviate the pain experienced. These sessions will be gentler than normal in order to compensate for the muscles’ susceptibility to injury. Ensure that the Chiropractor you visit fully understands Fibromyalgia and the effect it has on the muscles.
Trigger Point Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Small knots in muscle fibers are known as trigger points, these points can easily be mistaken as “tender points”.
- A trigger point is painful under firm pressure, whereas only very light pressure on a tender point will cause pain.
- A trigger point can be painful without any pressure exerted on it, as it relays its pain to other parts of the body.
- A trigger point is made up of knotted muscle fibers that have gone into spasm, whereas tender points are knots filled with ground substance.
The majority of Fibromyalgia sufferers will experience both trigger and tender points, and can benefit from trigger point therapy. However, a lighter treatment should be used to ensure that the muscles are not injured.
Self-Care Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Lifestyle choices are a key factor in the treatment of Fibromyalgia and those who take care of themselves better are more likely to see better outcomes than those who do not. They experience much lower levels of pain and are usually more active, both of which have a huge impact on quality of life. Try to follow this advice if you are suffering from Fibromyalgia:
- Sleep Well – Sleep is an extremely important part of recovering from Fibromyalgia and it can help to combat the pain and fatigue experienced. However, this can be very difficult when several symptoms of Fibromyalgia prevent sleep.
- Exercise – Aerobic exercise has been proven to reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and can prevent the condition from limiting your physical activity. The best exercises for Fibromyalgia sufferers are low impact activities, such as walking or swimming. These activities gently ease the sore and tight muscles into action. Anything more strenuous than these can create further problems.
- Work Smart – Fibromyalgia does not directly prevent most people from working, however there does need to be changes. You may need to reduce your working hours due to fatigue and you may have to work on a more flexible schedule. Office ergonomics are also important in order to lessen the stress placed on the muscles.
- Eat Healthy – The type of foods that you eat are extremely important in the healing process and eating the wrong foods can negatively impact your system and stop it from working at its optimum level. The best choices of food for a Fibromyalgia sufferer are the fresh, raw and organically-grown foods. This means plenty of foods like brown rice, oats, soy, turkey, nuts, and berries. Choosing the wrong foods will only slow down the healing process.
There are many different treatments for Fibromyalgia and using a combination of different techniques will speed up the healing process. For more advice and help on Fibromyalgia contact our office and see how we can help you today! We look forward to hearing from you!
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb