As a Calgary chiropractor for fibromyalgia, I get the picture of the condition. Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain throughout the body and dozens of other symptoms. As many as 5 million people have fibromyalgia in the United States alone. It mostly affects women between the ages of 20 to 50. Despite its prevalence, getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be a long process.
Let’s take a closer look at all the signs and symptoms that accompany fibromyalgia. These symptoms can take a toll on a person’s body, emotions, mental health, and social life. However, we also want to remind you that there is hope and natural relief for fibromyalgia, so read on until the end of the article.
Fibromyalgia Tender Points and Pain-Related Symptoms
Pain is the primary characteristic of fibromyalgia, but doctors try to look for specific pain symptoms to identify fibromyalgia. Some of its pain symptoms include the following:
This was a key factor in getting a fibromyalgia diagnosis for many years, and many doctors still use it to help narrow down the possibilities. Tender points or trigger points are sensitive spots on the body that become painful when you apply pressure to them. There are exactly 18 tender points in the body, but a patient must have at least 11 to get a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Many of the trigger points are near the spine, near the neck, shoulders, and hips.
Chronic Aches and Pains
This pertains to more generalized pains. Pain may come and go, and even return, depending on a person’s exertion levels and stress. Inactivity can increase pain and cause joint stiffness and weight gain.
Headaches or Migraines
It is common for fibromyalgia patients to also experience headaches or migraines. Migraines bring several other symptoms, and episodes can be debilitating in themselves.
Sensory Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can also have an impact on the senses. Researchers believe that the body experiences central sensitization, which is the reason for the brain to recognize norally non-painful sensations as being very painful. As a result, fibromyalgia patients experience hypersensitivity to pain. Sometimes a gentle touch can be unbearable. There are more ways fibromyalgia affects the senses. Other symptoms include the following:
- Sound sensitivity
- Light sensitivity
- Sensitivity to strong smells
- Food sensitivities
- Sensitivity to temperatures
Fibromyalgia patients may also experience a pins and needles feeling, specifically in the hands and feet. They may feel swollen at times even though they are not. Many patients describe sensations of inflammation and arthritis. However, medical tests show that these conditions are not present.
Cognitive Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
“Fibro fog” is the most well-known cognitive symptom of fibromyalgia. It includes the following characteristics:
- Inability to concentrate – Fibromyalgia patients find it difficult to focus and pay attention to something.
- Memory issues – One study showed that fibromyalgia patients have impairments in their working, semantic and episodic memory that mimic about 20 years of aging.
- Mental fatigue
- Balance or coordination problems
- Lack of motivation
Sleep and Mood Disorders
Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from various sleep problems or mood disorders:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Non-restful sleep
- Interrupted sleep
- Anxiety – Generalized anxiety and panic attacks often happen. Most of the time, this is due to the fear and anticipation of when the next fibromyalgia flare-up will occur.
- Depression – This can manifest as chronic feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, and low energy levels.
- Emotional Sensitivity – Emotional responses are stronger and sometimes incontrollable.
- Inability to cope with stress – Stress is a major trigger of fibromyalgia, and this can lead to a cycle of worse symptoms.
- Nervous energy – An elevated mood can almost send a fibromyalgia patient into a frenzy of nervous energy which can lead to overexertion and a flare-up of the syndrome.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms Related to GI Tract
Gastrointestinal problems are also common in fibromyalgia patients. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is often associated to fibromyalgia since many fibromyalgia sufferers have it. There are other common symptoms too:
- Severe abdominal pain
A Promising Form of Care for Fibromyalgia Symptoms
If you experience most of these fibromyalgia signs and symptoms, don’t give in to despair. There is a natural therapy that may help you get relief. I’d like to introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care, a niche in the chiropractic field that has been bringing hope to many fibromyalgia patients. Patients in a case study have reported complete resolution of their symptoms, thanks to this unique form of care.
What Makes Upper Cervical Chiropractic Unique
Upper cervical chiropractic uses x-rays and diagnostic images to get precise measurements of the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the uppermost bones of the spine. They are critical bones as they are responsible for protecting the brainstem and facilitating blood flow to the brain. Since they sit right at the base of the skull, even the tiniest misalignment can lead to various symptoms in the body, including those related to fibromyalgia. Upper cervical chiropractors perform gentle adjustments of the C1 and C2 vertebrae to realign the bones back to their original position.
The Importance of Spinal Alignment in the Body’s Functions
Proper spinal alignment is important for everything from proper functioning of the central nervous system to how well the gastrointestinal tract operates. Thus, upper cervical chiropractic care is a great method to get relief if the cause of your symptoms is a misalignment.
To determine if you have an upper cervical misalignment, visit Hunter Spinal Care in Calgary, Alberta and undergo an examination. If you have a history of neck or head injury, such a misalignment is more likely. Many of my patients can attest to the positive results of upper cervical chiropractic. Contact us to learn more about it.