Fibromyalgia syndrome can literally be a pain in the neck. In fact, 4 of the 18 fibromyalgia trigger points used to diagnose the condition are found in the neck. Two are in the back of the neck at the base of the skull. Two more are located in the front of the neck on either side of the throat. In fact, four more points are located in the shoulders and upper back not far from the neck, and an additional 4 points are located near the spine in the lower back and hips. This clearly shows the connection between fibromyalgia and spinal health, particularly the neck.
With that in mind, we’re going to look at five sources of natural relief for fibromyalgia. All of these are related in one way or another to spinal health and especially upper neck health.
#1 Maintain Proper Posture
Posture is often an afterthought in modern society. People often sit hunched over in the car for a long commute to and from work. At the office, it is more of the same – hunched sitting at a desk with monitors that are too low, feet not flat on the ground, and a phone held between the ear and shoulder. Then at home people binge-watch TV shows. Finally, we look down at our phones dozens of times per day, putting extra strain on the neck due to a forward head position.
Proper posture can allow your body to correct the damage that is being done to the neck and the rest of the spine. It can also help to prevent further damage from occurring. Thus, posture plays a definite role in natural fibromyalgia syndrome care.
#2 Exercise Every Day
You’ve probably heard this a lot. But how can you exercise daily when you are in constant pain and physical activity makes it worse? The recommendation is graded exercise. Start slow, perhaps even with just some active stretching. But then work your way up and gradually increase your stamina. Before long, you may find that going for walks or swimming daily are activities you can learn to enjoy (or enjoy again if you used to be active before fibromyalgia set in).
Regular exercise reduces pain in the body. It also strengthens the body, so maintaining good posture will be easier. Finally, staying active can keep you from gaining weight. Putting on weight can add to the strain on joints and increase pain levels.
#3 Stress Management Techniques
Stress builds up in the neck and shoulders. This leads to pain, headaches, and it can even trigger a fibromyalgia syndrome flare-up. As a result, stress management is important for fibromyalgia syndrome sufferers. You can’t avoid all stress whether it be related to work, family, or even your health. So here are a few things that can help you to cope:
- Massage – Whether you get a massage from a loved one or spring for an appointment with a licensed massage therapist, the goal is to relax and relieve stress.
- Talk – Speak about your anxieties with a confidant. You may even want to hire a professional to talk to if your fibromyalgia is combined with depression or general anxiety disorder (which is very common).
- Meditate – Don’t merely clear your mind of negative thoughts. Replace them with positive thoughts. You may find this difficult when dealing with the lack of focus that accompanies fibro fog, but don’t give up. Start with short sessions, even just a few minutes per day. Before long, you will train your mind to focus on the good things in your life.
Additional ways to cope with stress include limiting caffeine and nicotine intake, daily exercise, a regular sleep schedule, and cultivating good time management skills.
#4 Supplementation and Aromatherapy
We’ve combined these two methods into one since both require more research regarding their efficacy for fibromyalgia. The good news is that many scents such as lavender and peppermint seem to have a calming effect, so using these in an oil diffuser may help with stress management. Vitamins B, C, and D have all been recommended for help with everything from central nervous system function to immune function. Just be sure that you avoid scents you are allergic too and consult a physician before starting on any new supplements.
#5 Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
If fibromyalgia pain is focused in the neck, then this is the fastest way to get right to the source. What makes upper cervical chiropractic unique in its field?
- Focus – Upper cervical chiropractors focus on the top two bones of the neck – the atlas (C1) and axis (C2). These bones play a vital role in everything from protecting the brainstem to facilitating blood flow to the brain.
- Gentle – Adjustments are extremely gentle making this a form of chiropractic that every member of the family can enjoy, from the very young to the very old. Less force also means less inflammation, which is always good when a person has a chronic pain condition.
- Precise – We focus on misalignments that are mere hundredths of a millimeter. In other vertebrae, such a slight misalignment may not matter, but when it comes to blood flow to the brain and brainstem function, fractions of a millimeter can make a big difference.
If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, find an upper cervical chiropractor in your area to learn if this may be a beneficial form of care for you. A consultation may be your first step to significantly improved health and perhaps even complete remission of the syndrome.