One of today’s most common yet baffling chronic pain issues is fibromyalgia. The American College of Rheumatology estimates that 1 in every 50 Americans currently suffers from this disease. That number is most likely higher since many people suffer in silence or are never properly diagnosed.
There are two treatment options for those with this condition; traditional doctors and what is considered alternative or complimentary treatments.
The traditional approach that doctors use is to manage pain through a variety of prescription pain killers, anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, and muscle relaxers. Symptoms are usually managed with drugs and, occasionally, psychotherapists.
Alternative methods use holistic and natural means for managing symptoms, including vitamin and herbal therapy, meditation, biofeedback, acupuncture, and chiropractic.
Chiropractic is one of the most common treatments fibromyalgia patients seek because it has offered the best management of symptoms when compared to other therapies.
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, your chiropractor can use whatever tests or forms your doctor used for the diagnosis to work out a treatment plan for you.
If you aren’t yet sure about your symptoms, you might be wondering, can a chiropractor diagnose fibromyalgia?
The answer is yes. Since there are currently no lab tests that can determine a diagnosis, current guidelines state that if a person has widespread pain that has lasted for a minimum of 90 days and there is no known underlying medical condition or reason to explain their symptoms, they can receive the fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Your chiropractor will do a complete exam and through medical history before making any type of diagnosis, the same as any doctor would do.
Perhaps one of the most attractive things about chiropractic for fibro patients is that it has nothing to hide. Other than the pamphlet hidden in the bottom of the prescription box, your doctor probably won’t tell you about all the side effects of those medications.
The truth is a triangle, one side being your view, one side being the other party’s view, and the truth which makes up the base.
We want to talk to you about the 7 truths you should know about fibromyalgia and chiropractic care from our point of view. You might find others who disagree, but we bet you find far more people who will agree with this article.
Let’s face it, pharmaceutical drugs have their place in this world. Countless lives have been saved by some of these fascinating and complicated drugs, however, they all seem to have a price to pay for using them, don’t they? Sometimes, the list of side effects is longer than the list of benefits!
Chiropractic care is 100% drug free. This type of therapy takes an all -natural approach because we know that, in many cases, once the root problem is resolved, the body will heal itself.
This is why chiropractic care is considered to be holistic. Symptoms are not treated as they arise, but the entire body is considered to be a single working organism, where each part is related to one another. Treating one part of the body affects all the other parts.
One thing you can expect when you go to the chiropractor for your fibromyalgia is that you won’t get a script pressed into your hand and be sent off to the pharmacy until your next visit.
You might be concerned about receiving chiropractic adjustments, wondering if this type of treatment is safe for fibromyalgia patients. Perhaps one of the best things about chiropractic is that it has been proven to be very safe.
While the media loves to play up those exciting videos where chiropractors are “cracking” the backs and joints of patients, fibromyalgia patients receive only the lightest of pressure to achieve the desired results. You should know that, after untold thousands (perhaps even hundreds of thousands) of adjustments that have been performed on fibromyalgia patients, there is not a single reported case of a patient being harmed in some manner.
Can chiropractic help fibromyalgia pain? Yes, it can. Studies have linked the management of pain symptoms, as well as other issues, to chiropractic care. Another study found that adding ultrasound to chiropractic adjustments saw improvements in pain and better sleep, even one year later and when chiropractic adjustments were made in combination to ischemic compression, this study found subjects had reduced pain levels of up to 77%.
A systematic review of fibromyalgia and chiropractic research performed in 2009 found that chiropractic was effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
This isn’t to say that everyone will receive the same results or that chiropractic is a cure-all that will work like magic, but scientific studies, as well as thousands of testimonials, show that chiropractic is an effective treatment for the management of fibromyalgia symptoms.
While it’s true that some people feel energized after their first visit, it takes others several visits before they feel as if they could return to the dance floor!
If you look at any of the studies listed in this article, all of them had multiple, on-going visits to a chiropractor. This study was 4 weeks, this one was 20 sessions, and this one involved 30 treatments.
Of course, these studies don’t mention at exactly what point subjects felt their first improvement, but if you read online testimonials, you will find that most patients needed several treatments before they enjoyed the benefits.
Perhaps one of the main problems with fibromyalgia is widespread nerve pain. This constant pain is difficult to deal with and while most patients seek out chiropractic care for their pain, they often find that their other symptoms improve as well.
Can fibromyalgia affect the spine? Actually, chiropractors believe it’s possibly the reverse; that subluxations in the spine occur, they block the lines of communication between the brain and nerves.
When the spine is adjusted and aligned, it minimizes pressure points, increases range of motion, and often improves the quality of sleep by allowing the restoration of communication. Less pain and a minimization of tender points allows many patients to enjoy a deeper level of sleep and sleep for longer periods of time.
Virtually everyone who sees a chiropractor regularly for their fibromyalgia sees an improvement in most areas, making it a very valuable tool in their health care regime.
Because fibromyalgia is a multifaceted issue, it’s no surprise that there are several factors that will need to be addressed to treat this problem completely. Chiropractic itself is the removal of subluxations from the spine and the improvement of stiffness or restrictions in the joints.
True comprehensive care, however, involves much more than just adjustments. Your chiropractor might also employ massage therapy, ultrasound, exercise instruction, routines to do at home, or suggestions for modifying any exercise program you are currently doing.
Your doctor might also provide advice regarding natural, herbal anti-inflammatory supplements, diet information, the elimination of toxins, and/or stress reduction techniques. It is not uncommon for your treatment to be shared by several health care professionals within your chiropractor’s office.
The ultimate goal is to manage your symptoms for the long term in whatever way works best for your individual case. While traditional medicine seeks to make it easy by swallowing pills, a chiropractor will work towards the holistic goal of treating your entire body, not just individual symptoms.
Sometimes, fibro patients feel as if the odds are stacked against them. They feel helpless in the face of a condition that isn’t understood and can only be managed as it happens. Is it any wonder that most fibro sufferers feel depressed and anxious about the future?
When you are faced with a chronic and painful condition, such as fibromyalgia, you need to know that with your chiropractor as your health care partner, you can take charge of your health and manage your symptoms!
There are a great many options for fibromyalgia patients when it comes to managing pain and other symptoms. Chiropractic is a valuable tool, but even if you find that there are other therapies that help you outside of the chiropractor’s clinic, that’s great! Your doctor will be happy to work with you to ensure that you are getting the help you need to manage your symptoms as best possible.
Feeling more in control when it comes to managing your personal sense of well-being and believing that your chiropractor is a partner in your health care will help you to feel empowered in this area, not so much as a victim of this disease, but a victor!
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At Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab, our doctors love to see people removed from pain and on the road towards healing. If you or someone you love has fibromyalgia or if you are experiencing any type of joint, muscle, back or neck pain, don’t hesitate to call one of our 4 locations or you can make an appointment online by clicking here.
Our doctors have been helping fibromyalgia patients for years. Why not consider the multitude of benefits that comprehensive chiropractic care can offer you?!
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.