Fibromyalgia: Dissecting the Syndrome and Reducing Your Risk


Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. It tends to wear you down physically and emotionally. Fibromyalgia is very difficult to diagnose since this condition shares common symptoms with other diseases. For this reason, this condition is tough to understand. There is currently no special test that can precisely identify fibromyalgia.

People with fibromyalgia suffer from these symptoms:

  • Persistent and widespread pain all over the body
  • Numbness and tingling in the joints, and muscles throughout the body
  • Fatigue
  • Disordered sleep
  • Cognitive and memory issues
  • Headaches, including migraines

Facts about Fibromyalgia – What It’s Not

Over the years, the understanding of fibromyalgia has evolved. It was first documented and described by physicians as early as the 1600s. Fibromyalgia-like symptoms had its first name: muscular rheumatism. However, it’s not until recently that this condition gets more recognition.

There were some old myths about this condition. Here are a few known facts: 

  • It is not arthritis
  • It is not an autoimmune condition
  • It is not an inflammation-based condition
  • It is not “all in the person’s head.”

Fibromyalgia is NOT all of the statements above. What is it then?

Facts about Fibromyalgia – What It Is

  • Current research and studies reveal the involvement of the nervous system in fibromyalgia. It also shows how people with the condition recognize and process their pain differently compared to those without the illness.
  • Central sensitization is currently being explored as a potential component of fibromyalgia. With central sensitization, the nerves of the central nervous system become super sensitive to painful stimuli, which cause a heightened reaction to each painful stimulus.  
  • People with fibromyalgia can either experience extreme pain from something that might typically be mildly painful (paper cut or a pinprick, for example) or might feel pain from something that would not be ordinarily painful (like a regular handshake).  

Fibromyalgia Risk Factors

  • Gender

Women are much more prone to get fibromyalgia than men. The precise reason for this gender discrepancy is not entirely clear.  Some gender-related factors might include such as varying hormone balance and levels between men and women, differing reactions to stress, and variations in gene expression.

  • Obesity

Excess body weight may increase fatigue, pain levels, and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

  • Age

The most common age range for fibromyalgia diagnosis is between 35 and 45 years old. By the time of diagnosis, however, most fibromyalgia patients have had chronic pain and other symptoms for many years.  

  • Social or emotional stress

The beginning of fibromyalgia can happen after an extremely stressful period, such as coping with a loved one's death or divorce, or any traumatic events.

  • Trauma or injury

Frequently, injury can precede a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. A one-time trauma such as a motor vehicle accident, or repetitive injury, or wear and tear can trigger an initial flare-up of fibromyalgia. Because the damage may have happened months or even years before diagnosis, the connection may not be instantly visible.

  • Illness

The onset of fibromyalgia may appear after a viral disease triggers the condition.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

(RA) or Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes recurrent inflammation in the joints and can also influence the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and eyes. Individuals with RA are at higher risk of also developing fibromyalgia.

  • Lupus 

Lupus is also an autoimmune condition. People with lupus experience skin lesions, fatigue, rashes, joint pain and stiffness, and even headaches.  Similar to RA, people with lupus are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

  • Genetics

If you have a family member who has fibromyalgia, you may be at more risk of also developing the condition. Genetics are involved in monitoring the processing of pain and the management of sending pain signals to the brain.

Fibromyalgia Care Using a Nervous System-Based Approach

With our most current understanding of fibromyalgia as a neurological disorder, it would be logical to make sure that the nervous system is functioning at its optimum best.  

Upper cervical chiropractic care is an essential branch of chiropractic that targets the restoration of healthy brain-body communication via the brainstem. Adjusting misaligned bones in the upper cervical region restores proper body and nerve communication.

The brainstem is the central hub that transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body. The brainstem performs a significant role in the processing and transmission of pain signals. It is surrounded and protected by the atlas (C1) vertebra which sits at the very top of the neck. 

However, trauma, injury, or extreme pressure can cause the atlas to misalign. As a result, it begins irritating the nerves it should be protecting.  When this happens, it can compromise normal blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow between the neck and the head.  

Relieving Fibromyalgia with The Help of Upper Cervical Doctors

Upper cervical chiropractors can identify and correct the specific misalignments of the upper neck. Upper cervical care is gentle and precise, which makes it an excellent fit for individuals with fibromyalgia who feel pain on forceful approaches.

Once the atlas returns to its correct position and the body redeems the healthy neurological function of the central nervous system, healing begins, and people with fibromyalgia may experience relief and resolution of their chronic pains and other symptoms. 

Feel free to browse for an upper cervical chiropractor using the search function on our website to consult with the one nearest you. Let us help you reclaim a life of higher standards and less pain.


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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.