Fibromyalgia is a health condition that is known for chronic pain throughout the body. The intensity of the pain and other symptoms can very from person to person. The following are some of the most common symptoms:
- Widespread pain in muscles, joints, and other body tissues
- Extreme fatigue, even after a night of rest
- Problems staying asleep or getting quality rest
- Memory problems, trouble concentrating
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as IBS
Fibromyalgia used to be a little-known condition. Some doctors thought it was not a real condition but something that patients were making up because they wanted to abuse pain medication. Thankfully now that more research has been done on the condition, fibromyalgia is understood to be a pain-processing disorder. That means that someone with fibromyalgia processes pain differently than people who do not have fibromyalgia. For example, a non-painful touch like a hug or a handshake might feel painful to someone who has fibromyalgia.
How to Figure Out What Makes Your Fibromyalgia Worse
People with fibromyalgia can go through periods of time with fewer symptoms and periods of time where they have more symptoms. The type of symptoms can change, and the intensity of the symptoms can change. Some fibromyalgia patients have been able to recognize things that make their condition get worse and avoid those things if possible. The following list is 10 common things that can cause fibromyalgia flare-ups.
- Stress – few people are begging for more stress in their lives. Stress, whether it is physical or emotional, can be unavoidable at times. But your mindset and how you react to stressful stimuli can play a big part in how your body experiences the situation. If you keep calm and practice positive thinking, you are less likely to have a stress reaction in your body that releases stress hormones and causes a flare-up of fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Hormone changes – while stress can cause hormone fluctuations, other things can too. Most fibromyalgia sufferers are women. The natural hormone fluctuations that menstruating or menopausal women experience can affect their fibromyalgia symptoms. You might not be able to avoid these natural hormone surges and drops, but being mindful about what’s happening with your body can help you recognize that a flare-up could be due to the hormones.
- Sleep quality – fibromyalgia sufferers often have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Being sleep deprived can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms. To help yourself get better sleep, don’t drink sugary or caffeinated beverages in the evening. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day even if it’s your day off. Keep your bedroom free from lights, electronic screens, and noises that could disturb your sleep.
- Having an unusual schedule – if you work the night shift a few nights a week and then work a day shift, your body has a hard time adjusting back and forth. Try requesting a consistent schedule from your employer.
- Weather changes – when spring weather suddenly reverts to winter, and a few days later it feels like summer is in full swing, these temperature extremes can make it difficult for fibromyalgia sufferers to find relief.
- Over-exercise – mild to moderate exercise can be beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers, but when you have a chronic health condition, it can be easy to over-do it. Listen to your body and adjust your fitness routine as needed.
- Poor nutrition – a big struggle for people who are constantly in pain or feeling exhausted is having the energy to cook. Unfortunately, fast food and many restaurant menus don’t offer the variety of vegetables and healthy foods that our bodies need to be fully nourished. If cooking is difficult for you, try looking up some easy-prep meals that require little to no cooking.
- Illness – some fibromyalgia patients have noticed that their condition developed after fighting a serious viral infection or other type of infection such as Lyme disease. If you already have fibromyalgia, getting sick with the flu or even the common cold can increase your fibromyalgia symptoms. Having a healthy diet can help bolster your immune system and prevent you from getting sick as often.
- Medication changes – doctors usually prescribe medications to help with the various symptoms of fibromyalgia. Sometimes these medications have unwanted side effects. Changing medications can help, but it can also result in a flare-up.
- Injury – If you’re already experiencing widespread pain, it’s obvious that an injury would increase that pain. Interestingly, before the development of their fibromyalgia, many patients recall having a head or neck injury, such as whiplash.
Natural Relief for Fibromyalgia
Since fibromyalgia is a pain-processing disorder, it makes sense to take a look at the central nervous system to see where there might be a problem in the signals that are being sent to the brain or in how the brain is interpreting those signals. It might sound odd to visit a chiropractor about fibromyalgia, but upper cervical chiropractors are specialists who work to ensure a healthy central nervous system through the proper alignment of the spine, specifically the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae.
The atlas and axis vertebrae can have a negative effect on nervous system function because they can put pressure on the brainstem if they are misaligned. The brainstem is a critical junction in the central nervous system as it connects the spinal cord to the brain. If the brainstem is being hindered by a spinal misalignment, the signals being sent to the brain can be distorted, and this can cause a wide range of health conditions, including fibromyalgia.
At Hunter Spinal Care in Calgary, Alberta, we have had success in treating our patients who have fibromyalgia. By taking careful measurements and creating individualized treatment plans, fibromyalgia sufferers have experienced a decrease in their symptoms and even a complete disappearance of their fibromyalgia. We use a gentle adjustment technique that does not involve the forceful motions that regular chiropractors use. We know that fibromyalgia patients in particular appreciate our gentle technique. If you’re looking for relief from your fibromyalgia, call us today to see what upper cervical chiropractic care can do for you.