brain stemFibromyalgia is a condition with no known medical cure. It is characterized by chronic and debilitating pain all over the body, and heightened pain under pressure. Its symptoms can cause patients to suffer from widespread pain, poor sleep, chronic tiredness and even depression.

The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. Some theories cite that the patient’s low pain threshold may be attributed to increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. [1] Other possible causes could be a genetic predisposition [2]; stress; the disruption of normal dopamine related neurotransmission [3]; abnormal serotonin levels [4] and deficient growth hormone secretion [5]. While there is currently no cure for the condition, its symptoms can be alleviated by chiropractic treatment.

Tender points in up to 18 locations throughout the body are a typical pattern .  Because the adjustments made during treatment help to restore the posture of the skeletal system, many sufferers find that treatment helps to reduce a significant amount of pain and associated disability.

Some fibromyalgia sufferers experience a condition known as cervical spinal stenosis, which results in compression of the spine’s meninges, which are the coverings of the upper spine.  This results in debilitating pain all over the body.  Cervical spinal stenosis is often alleviated by precise adjustments to the upper cervical spine, which reduces compression and eliminates much of the resulting symptoms. [6]  The effectiveness of chiropractic care has been studied in sufferers of fibromyalgia [6], where patients were asked which method of treatment, medical or alternative, helped the best with their condition. The majority voted for chiropractic treatment.  In addition, the effectiveness was tested by using spinal adjustments to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, and after 15 treatments, results concluded that patients had reduced fatigue and pain as well as improved sleep quality.

While fibromyalgia sufferers continue to look for a cure, it is great to know that there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and live a more normal life. If you or someone you know suffers from undiagnosed chronic pain or fibromyalgia, please share this article with them and encourage them to seek a consultation with Dr Sooley.  We’re here to help!

References Used:

[1] Accessed September 2011

[2] Buskila D, Sarzi-Puttini P (2006). “Biology and therapy of fibromyalgia. Genetic aspects of fibromyalgia syndrome”. Arthritis Res Ther. 8 (5): 218. doi:10.1186/ar2005. PMC 1779444. PMID 16887010.

[3] Cervenka S, Plhagen SE, Comley RA et al. (August 2006). “Support for dopaminergic hypoactivity in restless legs syndrome: a PET study on D2-receptor binding”. Brain 129 (Pt 8): 201728.doi:10.1093/brain/awl163. PMID 16816393. Retrieved 2008-05-21.

[4] Moldofsky H, Scarisbrick P, England R, Smythe H (1975).”Musculoskeletal symptoms and non-REM sleep disturbance in patients with “fibrositis syndrome” and healthy subjects”. Psychosom Med 37(4): 34151. PMID 169541. Retrieved 2008-05-21.

[5] Anderberg UM, Liu Z, Berglund L, Nyberg F (1999). “Elevated plasma levels of neuropeptide Y in female fibromyalgia patients”. Eur J Pain 3 (1): 1930.

[6] Accessed September 2011