Fibromyalgia is one of the most common pain conditions in existence today. However, the pain is not the only factor that leads to reduced quality of life for sufferers. What are some of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia? How are blood pressure problems linked to the condition? Is there a natural way to find relief and restore some quality of life? Read on to learn more.
The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are many and varied. Pain is more than just generalized pain. There are a number of tender points associated with the condition. They affect both sides of the body as well as points both above and below the waist. Sensory sensitivity not only leads to problems with bright lights, loud sounds, and strong smells, but also leads to pain even from touch sensations that should be considered gentle.
Fatigue is another major factor in fibromyalgia. In fact, it would be easy for a doctor to confuse this condition with chronic fatigue syndrome if a patient presents with mild achiness rather than moderate to severe pain. Some of the tiredness may be due to sleep disturbances that are common in fibromyalgia patients. The pain may keep a person awake at night, or the patient may have a secondary sleep disorder such as OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) or restless leg syndrome.
Fibro fog is yet another debilitating part of the condition. This is an array of cognitive difficulties ranging from memory problems to inability to concentrate and stay on task. Constant pain, lack of sleep, headaches, and other elements associated with fibromyalgia inhibit focus and attention.
All of this is beside the many associated conditions that often come along with fibromyalgia. For example, many with this condition also deal with depression, anxiety disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and other issues that a person with fibromyalgia is at greater risk for.
While all of these symptoms can affect a person’s quality of life, social relationships, and ability to work, researchers have recently discovered that one of the biggest factors that affect fibromyalgia patients is the condition’s effect on blood pressure regulation.
How Fibromyalgia Is Related to Blood Pressure
An additional struggle for fibromyalgia patients is the inability to maintain proper blood pressure when faced with a stressor. Something as simple as standing up can lead to a drop in blood pressure and symptoms like dizziness or vertigo.
The term for the body’s mechanism that helps to maintain a constant blood pressure is the baroceptor reflex or simply baroreflex. There are a number of factors that go into this process. In short, a malfunction in baroreflex can lead to fluctuations in blood pressure that lead to exhaustion, dizziness, and many other symptoms. These can be debilitating, especially when heaped on top of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
While research connecting fibromyalgia and baroreflex issues has been well documented for several years now, a very recent study linked this problem to a reduced quality of life for patients. It seems the more fibromyalgia affects a person’s baroreflex, the lower the patient-reported quality of life scores. The researchers assessed patients using the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ) which is the standard assessment test for fibromyalgia patients.
Is there a natural way to find relief from fibromyalgia symptoms and even problems like blood pressure fluctuations?
How the Upper Neck May Be Involved
Case studies have linked upper cervical misalignments to both fibromyalgia as well as blood pressure problems. Why is this the case?
The top bones of the spine (C1 and C2, called the atlas and axis respectively) facilitate blood flow to the brain and protect the area where the brainstem meets the spinal cord. If the atlas is misaligned, this can put pressure on the brainstem and cause it to malfunction. Any issues here can lead to many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. These cervical vertebrae also have a loop of bone called the vertebral foramen. These vertebral foramina provide a clear route for the arteries that bring blood to the brain. Even the slightest misalignment can cause a slight kink in the line and restrict blood flow to a degree. Again, this can have far-reaching effects on the body.
So the question is: How can you correct this type of misalignment? Is this the type of thing you can go to a general chiropractor for and just have then neck twisted and popped back into place?
Why You Should See an Upper Cervical Chiropractor
There are a limited number of chiropractors who specialize in the upper cervical area and specifically adjust the C1 and C2 only. Upper cervical chiropractors use a very different method from general chiropractors, including the following:
- Precise Measurements – Diagnostic imaging allows us to find misalignments down to hundredths of a degree. This allows us to provide precise adjustments that are customized for each patient.
- Gentle Adjustments – Precise adjustments can be administered in a gentle manner, rather than the popping and twisting that most people associate with chiropractic. This leads to longer lasting adjustments, which also makes this a cost-effect method of care.
If you are suffering fibromyalgia, there is good reason to seek an examination by an upper cervical chiropractor. To learn more, find a practitioner near you and schedule a no-obligation consultation.