Fibromyalgia is one of the most common pain conditions, and yet it is also quite misunderstood. Therefore, it is vital to get the answers to your questions regarding fibromyalgia. That is why we have compiled this fibromyalgia FAQ. These are some of the most essential and common questions that you may ask about fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia FAQ: What Is the Underlying Cause of Fibromyalgia?
The short answer is: No one can say for sure. But that doesn’t mean there is a lack of theories or research.
There were specific theories in the past that are now debunked. For example, fibromyalgia was once believed to be an inflammatory condition. In other words, people believed that the pain was due to swelling. As a result, the disease was considered musculoskeletal. However, while a fibromyalgia patient may experience inflammation at times, this is no longer considered the primary cause of pain. In fact, many fibromyalgia patients have minimal swelling.
The larger push now is to consider the central nervous system as the source of the pain. A person with fibromyalgia may experience pain on a regular basis and more pain when under less stimuli due to a heightened pain sensitivity. A process in the body called central sensitization, in which the body’s sensory system is ramped up, may be at the heart of this condition.
Some researchers have also been looking into occurrences that trigger the onset of the condition. Some current considerations include a genetic predisposition, physical or emotional trauma, other health conditions, or environmental and lifestyle factors.
Fibromyalgia FAQ: Which Fibromyalgia Symptoms Are the Most Common?
Fibromyalgia can come with a whole host of symptoms and these indicators may vary from person to person. What are some of the most common symptoms that the majority of fibromyalgia patients have in common?
Pain is obviously the most present symptom. This can occur as whole-body pain, but it also targets explicitly 18 points on the body, the fibromyalgia tender points. In fact, having pain at 11 of these 18 points is sometimes enough to make a diagnosis. Interestingly, 14 of these 18 points are in proximity to the spine with 4 in the neck. We will discuss why later.
Neurological symptoms include memory and concertation problems known as fibro fog – a nickname for the cognitive symptoms that accompany this syndrome. Other nerve symptoms include numbness and tingling, particularly in the feet and hands, sensory sensitivities, headaches or migraines, and depression or anxiety.
There are also a number of other issues that include diarrhea or constipation, restless leg syndrome, painful urination, insomnia, painful menstrual periods, and things such as these.
Fibromyalgia FAQ: How Does a Person Receive a Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia?
We briefly mentioned the tender points associated with fibromyalgia. These points are part of an older diagnosis model, and some physicians may still use this method. However, it is more common now for a medical professional to look for widespread pain and the other symptoms noted here over a period of three months or more.
Since fibromyalgia mimics the symptoms of many other conditions, you may need to undergo a lengthy process of ruling out other conditions. That can mean a lot of tests and doctor visits. Some patients become frustrated with this process, but it is important not to jump to a quick diagnosis and miss another condition that may have a more straightforward solution.
Fibromyalgia FAQ: How Do Physicians Attempt to Control Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
Part of the problem with providing care for fibromyalgia is that it varies so much from person to person. That means the medications approved for use with this condition may work better for some people than others. The drugs may also have more side effects for some patients. Most medicines will target specific symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or an inability to sleep at night.
On the other hand, there may be some lifestyle adjustments that can help you to cope with the pain and additional symptoms. Having a regular exercise program, a set schedule for sleep, and a balanced diet have all proved beneficial in many instances.
Fibromyalgia FAQ: Is There a Link Between Fibromyalgia and the Neck?
While we can’t speak dogmatically, there certainly seems to be a connection. For example, many of the pain spots associated with fibromyalgia appear in the neck or along the spine. Neck pain is also related to headaches and migraines as well as many of the other common symptoms of fibromyalgia.
When the C1 and C2 (the top two bones in the neck) are misaligned, this can place pressure on the brainstem. It can also affect blood flow to the brain. Therefore, an upper cervical misalignment can create the right conditions in the body for fibromyalgia symptoms to arise. It is no wonder that upper cervical chiropractors have had success with fibromyalgia patients in case studies.
If you or a loved one has been living with fibromyalgia symptoms, we encourage you to give an upper cervical specific chiropractor a call to schedule a consultation or examination. You may find that this gentle and effective form of chiropractic care is just what you have been searching for. We hope that you have benefited from this fibromyalgia FAQ and that you find success in improving your quality of life.