What Is Fibromyalgia?

by | Aug 12, 2022

It is estimated that 70 million Americans live with some form of chronic pain, and many are unable to find relief in the traditional medical model of care. Fibromyalgia is considered a primary chronic pain condition, and it may lead to significant impairment in function and even disability. Characterized by widespread pain in the muscles and other soft tissues of the body, it can be diagnosed when other conditions that may explain the pain better are ruled out, the pain has been present for more than three months, and tenderness occurs when the doctor presses on specific areas of the body called tender points. The pain in fibromyalgia is often described as burning and shooting, similar to what one may feel after an overly vigorous workout or while sick with the flu.

Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Muscle pain, particularly in the large muscle groups such as the neck, back, arms, and legs
  • Profound fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • Nausea and changes in bowel function (such as constipation and diarrhea)
  • Cognitive impairment (brain fog)
  • Depression

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

It is thought that fibromyalgia is caused by a problem in how the nerves send pain signals to the brain. Our bodies respond to pain by creating a signal that is sent along the nerves to the brain, and the brain then interprets that signal as painful so we can respond accordingly. For many, fibromyalgia starts when an injury or illness occurs, activating those nerve signals. Only in some, that activation does not go away when the initial injury or illness is healed, leading to chronic pain. In others, the process begins for reasons that scientists have not identified fully.
The International Society for the Study of Pain has classified fibromyalgia as a form of nociplastic pain, a new term that means that there is no longer any evidence of damage to the tissue itself but the nerves are continuing to send pain signals or the brain is interpreting those signals incorrectly. It is similar to neuropathic pain and may often overlap with that and other painful conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and migraines. Chiropractic care may be able to restore function and reduce pain by helping the nerves send and receive the correct messages.

What Can Bare Chiropractic Do to Help You Find Relief?

Both the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the International Society for the Study of Pain recommend non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of fibromyalgia, including gentle and specific chiropractic adjustment. Studies have shown a reduction in chronic pain and improved quality of life for those who participate in non-invasive methods of care.
Dr. Thomas Keogh can help identify which techniques can offer practice members the best possible outcomes and guide you through the process of recovery using evidence-based chiropractic care. Contact us today at Bare Chiropractic in Billings, MT, to make an appointment and get the compassionate care you deserve.

Sources

El-Tallawy SN, Nalamasu R, Salem GI, LeQuang JAK, Pergolizzi JV, Christo PJ. Management of Musculoskeletal Pain: An Update with Emphasis on Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain. Pain Ther. 2021;10(1):181-209. doi:10.1007/s40122-021-00235-2
Hawk C, Whalen W, Farabaugh RJ, et al. Best Practices for Chiropractic Management of Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline. J Altern Complement Med. 2020;26(10):884-901. doi:10.1089/acm.2020.0181
Skelly, A.C., Chou, R., Dettori, J.R., et al. Noninvasive Nonpharmacological Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US), Rockville (MD); 2018. PMID: 30179389.
Siracusa R, Paola RD, Cuzzocrea S, Impellizzeri D. Fibromyalgia: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options Update. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(8):3891. Published 2021 Apr 9. doi:10.3390/ijms22083891

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