Fibromyalgia is a neurologic chronic health condition that causes pain all over the body and other symptoms. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia that patients most often have are:
Tenderness to touch or pressure affecting muscles and sometimes joints or even the skin
Sleep problems (waking up unrefreshed)
Problems with memory or thinking clearly
Some patients also may have:
Depression or anxiety
Migraine or tension headaches
Digestive problems: irritable bowel syndrome (commonly called IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (often referred to as GERD)
Irritable or overactive bladder
Temporomandibular disorder - often called TMJ (a set of symptoms including face or jaw pain, jaw clicking, and ringing in the ears)
The causes of fibromyalgia are unclear. They may be different in different people. Current research suggests involvement of the nervous system, particularly the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Fibromyalgia is not from an autoimmune, inflammation, joint, or muscle disorder. Fibromyalgia may run in families. There likely are certain genes that can make people more prone to getting fibromyalgia and the other health problems that can occur with it. Genes alone, though, do not cause fibromyalgia.
There is most often some triggering factor that sets off fibromyalgia. It may be spine problems, arthritis, injury, or other type of physical stress. Emotional stress also may trigger this illness. The result is a change in the way the body “talks” with the spinal cord and brain. Levels of brain chemicals and proteins may change. More recently, Fibromyalgia has been described as Central Pain Amplification disorder, meaning the volume of pain sensation in the brain is turned up too high.
• Begin a mild exercise program and very gradually increase it in activity and intensity over time. • Prioritize good, restorative sleep habits:
a. Avoid drinking excess fluids before bed.
b. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals 4 hours before bed.
c. Try not to nap in the afternoon.
d. Avoid having lights from computers, TV and cell phones in the bedroom during sleeping hours.
e. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning.
• Spend time around supportive friends and family. • Manage chronic pain through stress reduction techniques such as biofeedback, massage therapy, prayer and meditation, deep breathing exercises, and more. • Consider alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal therapies and flotation therapy or water exercises. • Avoid stress and extra obligations.
Dietary Tips and Caveats:
• Make organic fruits and vegetables the diet’s foundation for the antioxidant support they provide against inflammation. • Focus on high amounts of fiber from flaxseed meal or ground chia seeds and from complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as the whole grains quinoa and brown or black rice. • Emphasize omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines) and omega-9 fats (olive oil, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados, macadamia oil and coconut oil) to help control inflammation. • Choose lean, clean, quality protein at each meal such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, fish (especially salmon and sardines), eggs and whey protein to fuel muscles with energy to address protein needs; avoid dairy if it causes flare-ups. • Avoid nightshades such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. • Drink at least 64 ounces of filtered or non-chlorinated water every day. In addition, drink 2-3 cups of naturally decaffeinated green tea daily and/or up to 2 cups of dandelion tea. • Limit caffeine and other potentially neurotoxic compounds like aspartame, nitrates and MSG. • Use herbs and spices high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties such as turmeric, rosemary, ginger and basil. • Strive to keep blood sugar optimal and snack on healthy fats such as coconut, nuts, seeds, avocados • Stay well hydrated.
How Can Neurofeedback Help?
Pain receptors in the brains of people suffering from fibromyalgia appear to have developed an oversensitivity to pain signals. Neurofeedback directly targets brain function. It creates new, healthier, brain patterns which short-circuit the malfunctioning pain receptors. It’s often an effective way of quieting the alarm bells that go off in the brain of someone suffering from fibromyalgia. Neurofeedback literally teaches your brain to function optimally. Some changes that you may experience:
Reduce your pain
Give you more energy
Allow you to sleep better
Improve your cognitive function
Increase your sense of calmness and well-being
Will Chiropractic Care Help?
Many fibromyalgia patients seek natural treatment for fibromyalgia, and chiropractic care is one of the most frequently considered, especially for pain management and to improve the range of motion of joints.
This form of medicine is based on the principle that the body has the ability to self-heal and recover from a disease. The nervous system runs between the spine and carries messages from the brain to every cell of the body. When the vertebrae are restricted, locked or misaligned there will be pressure on the nerves and symptoms will occur. For this reason, a chiropractor will perform adjustments using gentle pressure, stretching or certain high velocity thrusts to bring the vertebrae to optimal position and restore health.