Fibromyalgia cannot be detected on an X-Ray and it doesn’t show up in a blood test. Its causes are unknown. Yet fibromyalgia is a debilitating health condition that affects up to 5 million people in the U.S., most of them women.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder of the intricate central nervous system, which consists of the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves that branch off throughout the body. The brain controls every function of the body via the nervous system, and the spinal cord is the means of delivering vital information. With fibromyalgia, that pathway of communication is corrupted. Signals, particularly pain messages, go awry.
Seeking to understand the disorder, researchers have focused attention on the hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with stress. Some theorize that fibromyalgia may be the result of trauma overload. In fibromyalgia, the hippocampus cannot adapt to stress and shows it by an increased pain response. The chronic pain, in turn, intensifies strain. A pain/stress cycle is set in motion that can be difficult to stop.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
These are the defining symptoms of this chronic condition:
- Pain throughout the body
- Tenderness of the soft tissues
Additional symptoms may include:
- Allodynia (a pain response to a stimulus that would not normally cause pain)
- “Fibro fog” (difficulty with thinking and memory)
- Muscle spasms
How Stress Overload Begins
The spinal column is an interconnected series of 24 bones that protect the spinal cord. These spinal bones, or vertebrae, are set one on top of the other and are held in place with ligaments, joints, tendons and muscles. The activity of modern life can jostle the vertebrae out of alignment. In chiropractic terms, these misalignments are called vertebral subluxations, and they create tension and stress within the nervous system.
A 4-Step Pain Relief Program for Fibromyalgia
Doctors of chiropractic are trained to detect and correct vertebral subluxations. By gently adjusting the spine so that it is realigned, chiropractors open up the communication pathway between the parts of the nervous system, allowing true healing to begin. Your 4-part plan for pain relief consists of:
- Chiropractic care – Correcting the underlying cause of nervous system dysfunction optimizes the body’s ability to deal with stress.
- Deep breathing – if you find yourself in a stressful situation, try inhaling slowly for 4 counts, and exhaling slowly for 4 counts. The calming effect will be immediate.
- Walking – light exercise helps reduce stress by increasing oxygen levels to all parts of the body.
- Massage – the healing power of touch will help your muscles relax.