Fibromyalgia (FM) affects millions of Americans each year. The back and neck pain, sleep problems, headaches and so on add up to a syndrome that has a lot of disease over-lap. Patients with headaches are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. Irritable bowel syndrome is also more common among those with FM. It’s important not think of all of these different symptoms as different diseases. In fibromyalgia, the nervous system is feeding pain signals more quickly to the brain. Even if injuries are relatively minor, this heightened sensitivity makes them more painful.
Irritated spinal nerves can cause back pain but can also refer pain into the arms and chest, or the knee and leg. These are not all separate problems. In many patients with fibromyalgia, they have several areas of their spine that show signs of injury. Multiple spinal injuries can give a “widespread pain” picture, which is one manner in which fibromyalgia is defined. Many patients do not realize that spinal problems can also refer pain to the stomach, and neck injuries can cause headaches.
Since widespread muscle pain is characteristic of fibromyalgia, some patients choose rest to ease their pain. This can be disastrous. Rest feels good temporarily, but weakened muscles only make joint problems worse. In fact, rest for greater than two days can actually worsen back pain. Many fibromyalgia patients also choose to decrease activities and not exercise. This can create even greater pain. Several studies have shown that graduated exercise programs can help ease muscle pain in patients with fibromyalgia. This is also the best way to help the joints of the spine and other areas, which might also be causing pain. Preserving movement is key to keeping your quality of life at a high level.
When you combine exercise with good nutrition, including anti-oxidants, you’ll have the best chance to treat your fibromyalgia symptoms more naturally. Eating a diet that does not promote inflammation is as important as maintaining an optimal weight. You cannot heal on soda pop and hamburgers.
In fibromyalgia you need to treat your symptoms with a comprehensive and natural approach that addresses problems in a global manner.
By using chiropractic adjustments to make sure the spine is flexible and pain-free, you can engage in more rigorous activities or exercises. As exercise becomes less painful, strength can be improved. Diet and proper rest round out the holistic treatment approach.