syndrome affects 3-6 million people in the United States and is chronic disorder which includes widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. Fibromyalgia is associated with long-term pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue, often spread throughout the entire body, and can be associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Fibromyalgia has also been associated with chronic fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. The word fibro-my-algia is derived from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek words for muscle (myo) and pain (algia).
For reasons that are unclear, more than 90% of those who develop fibromyalgia are women, often between the ages of 20 to 50. It is not currently known whether the predominance of women who suffer from fibromyalgia is a phenomenon of the socialization of women in the American culture or whether it is some combination of the female reproductive hormones and other genetic predispositions. Although the cause if often unknown fibromyalgia is often triggered by trauma (physical or emotional), abnormal pain responses associated with areas in the brain, sleep disturbances, and infections.
There are several conditions that can be associated with or mimic fibromyalgia making diagnosis at best tricky. Some of the conditions that must be ruled out are chronic neck add back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, and sleep disorders.
There are several symptoms to watch for. The first is painful areas referred to as tender points or trigger points, these are found in the soft tissue, and are located in the back of the neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, and knees. The pain then spreads out from these areas, and may be described as deep, achy, shooting, or burning pain. This pain does not come from the joints but may radiate into them. These trigger points often get worse thought the day and are affected bu cold damp weather, anxiety, stress, and infection. The trigger points can often lead to fatigue, depression, and sleep disorders (trouble falling asleep or trouble staying awake). Other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), memory loss, concentration problems, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, heart palpitations, inability to exercise, and headaches.
“Fibromyalgia is defined as “a history of pain in all four quadrants of the body lasting more than 3 months” according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Pain in all four quadrants means that you have pain in both your right and left sides, as well as above and below the waist. The ACR also described 18 characteristic tender points and you must experience symptoms in at lest 11 of these, there are nine on the right and nine on the left and they are arms (elbows), buttocks, chest, knees, lower back, neck, rib cage, shoulders, and thighs. Blood and urine tests are usually normal. However, tests may be done to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is often confused with other conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome or myofascitis. Both fibromyalgia and myofascitis can cause pain in all four quadrants of the body and tend to have similar tender point locations, but that is where the similarities stop. Myofascitis is an inflammatory condition due to overuse or injury to your muscles, whereas fibromyalgia is caused by a stress-induced change in metabolism and healing. Myofascitis comes on suddenly and is associated with a particular activity or injury. Fibromyalgia is slow and usually beginning in early adulthood. It is very important to diagnose each of these correctly, for they require very different approaches to treatment. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time, possibly a lifetime. However. it won’t cause damage to your joints, muscles, or internal organs.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment, so it is important to find a doctor who is. Fibromyalgia treatment often requires a team approach, utilizing chiropractic care, trigger point therapy, massage, dietary changes, as well as exercises and stretching.
Treating Fibromyalgia With Chiropractic
Chiropractic care is essential for those who suffer from fibromyalgia because fibromyalgia causes the muscles to tighten up and lose some of their natural pliability resulting in a global loss of movement in the spine. The loss of movement in the spine results in a neurological reflex that causes the muscles to tighten further and over time will lead to increased pain, increased muscle tightness, loss of movement, difficulty sleeping and the development of more and more trigger points.
The best option is to adjust the spine and keep it moving. Chiropractic adjustments are modified to be gentle so as not to create more issues. This helps to decrease the stress on all of the small supporting muscles of the spine, which can be easily injured. It is important when seeking chiropractic care, to make sure that the doctor is familiar with the muscular changes that occur with fibromyalgia so that they can adjust their treatment accordingly.
Treating Fibromyalgia with Cold Laser Therapy
Since poor healing of muscle tissue and chronic pain are characteristic traits of fibromyalgia, laser therapy is an important part of any treatment plan. Two of the major benefits of cold laser therapy is stimulation of tissue healing and decreased sensations of pain.
A 1997 study of 846 people with fibromyalgia reported in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery demonstrated that two-thirds of the patients experienced improved pain and mobility with cold laser therapy. Another study published in Rheumatology International in 2002, showed that those who received laser therapy had a significant improvement in pain, fatigue and morning stiffness.
We have successfully helped fibromyalgia sufferers and we can help you too! Our approach involves a combination of chiropractic, laser, rehab and nutrition. The goal is to reduce inflammation and irritation making you feel better! We’d love to hear from you and we are looking forward to helping you live a pain-free life for years to come!By: Paul R. Mahler Jr. DC Mahler Family Chiropractic Center 1144 wyoming Ave. Kingston, PA. 18704 http://mahler-chiropractic.com May be reproduced in whole only. We can treat fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Cold laser is effective in conjunction with chiropractic care.