Fibromyalgia is a painful, chronic health condition that is experienced at varying intensities for each person. The most common features of fibromyalgia are listed below:
- Widespread muscular pain
- Fatigue that makes accomplishing daily activities difficult or impossible
- Cognitive difficulties, sometimes referred to as “fibro fog”, that include memory problems and trouble concentrating
- Sleep disturbances
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as IBS
Fibromyalgia has been called a “pain amplification syndrome”, which is an accurate description of most people’s experience of the condition because they perceive pain differently than those without it. To make matters more complicated, the nature of the pain can change over time – for example a primary problem with headaches can turn into neck or back pain after a few months or years.
Identifying the Triggers That Flare Fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia may experience regular symptoms on a day to day basis, but there are times when symptoms become worse or become more frequent. In some cases, the cause of the flare-ups is not avoidable – for example if it was due to a weather change, we can’t control the weather. On the other hand, there are a number of common triggers that can be avoided to some degree with lifestyle modifications. Identifying the problem areas is not always easy. Neither is making some of the necessary changes, but it usually won’t take drastic measures to begin making a noticeable difference in how you feel day-to-day.
- Hormone imbalance – since the majority of fibromyalgia sufferers are women (it’s 7 times more common in women than in men), it makes sense that fluctuating hormone levels that are natural for women to experience could be a potential trigger of a fibromyalgia flare.
- Stress (physical or psychological) – any time stress levels rise, it can cause an increase in fibromyalgia symptoms. There is plenty of stress in our daily lives that is not altogether avoidable; however, doing what you can to cultivate a calm environment and learning effective stress-relieving techniques can be of great benefit. Adding daily practices such as meditation, journaling, or blogging can help release some stress and build a positive environment.
- Poor sleep – a well-known issue for fibromyalgia sufferers is not being able to get a thorough night’s sleep. There are a few habits that can help with the depth and quality of sleep that are definitely worth a try. The first thing to do is establish a consistent bedtime routine of going to sleep at the same time very night. Another great strategy is to create a sleep-worthy atmosphere in the room, keeping it cool and dark.
- Weather and temperature changes – extreme hot or cold temperatures, humidity, or even changes in barometric pressure can have an effect on those with fibromyalgia.
- Schedule changes – an erratic schedule, staying up later than usual, or jet lag are all contributors to fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Diet – as is the rule with any chronic health condition, being sure you are taking in nutritious foods that promote healing in your body is essential. By being consistent with proper nutrition, you can boost your energy levels and it can have the additional benefit of preventing additional health problems.
- Injury – there are many cases of fibromyalgia that are worsened or followed by some kind of physical injury or trauma. Something that many fibromyalgia sufferers have in common is they have sustained a head or neck injury of some type, such as whiplash, prior to the onset of their symptoms.
- Overdoing it – getting a daily dose of some form of gentle exercise is recommended for fibromyalgia patients because this has been proven to reduce the muscle pains. However, if you choose to push yourself too far physically, this will actually hinder your healing process instead of helping it. When you are experiencing a flare-up, it is best to do some gentle stretching or short walks.
- Changes in medications – unfortunately, many of the commonly prescribed medications for fibromyalgia symptoms include side-effects that can make a flare-up worse. For example, a medication used to treat depression might cause additional fatigue.
- Illness – in some situations, a viral infection or other infection such as Lyme disease can trigger fibromyalgia. Other health conditions that magnify symptoms and affect some fibromyalgia sufferers are lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Finding Natural Relief for Fibromyalgia
For condition like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many other related health conditions, most of the energy and attention is focused on reducing individual symptoms (such as pain or sleeplessness) rather than going after the underlying reason for the condition. One area that has had very little research surrounding its possible role in what causes fibromyalgia is the central nervous system. It is general knowledge that people who suffer from fibromyalgia process pain uniquely from those without the condition. Upper cervical chiropractors are can look into these changes in signal processing by identifying areas where these signals might be getting interrupted. The upper part of the neck at the brainstem is the most likley place where this would happen because of its role as a relay station for signals traveling between the body and brain (as well as the other way around from the brain back to the body). When misalignment occurs to the vertebra that is situated just beneath the bottom of the skull where the brainstem exits, it can cause irritation and pressure that disrupts the body’s ability to send and receive pain processing signals the way it needs to in order to function optimally.
At Vital Life Wellness Center, we examine and specialize in the tiniest details of the upper cervical spine and the proper alignment of the atlas vertebra. To maintain healthy communication between the brain and body, the atlas must be aligned, eliminating any added pressure to the brainstem. We take precise measurements using specific diagnostic imaging to determine, down to fractions of a degree, the nature of each patient’s atlas misalignment. NUCCA technique adjustments are designed to be precise, and the goal of each adjustment is to gently return the atlas to normal alignment. After receiving these customized adjustments, many fibromyalgia patients report that they have lasting relief for even their most stubborn symptoms.
To schedule a complimentary NUCCA consultation, call 925-829-7900 or just click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.
Dr. Andrea Pritchett of Vital Life Wellness Center in Dublin, California is an Dublin Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Her upper cervical clinic also serves Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville. She is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including children’s conditions such as ear infections, colic and scoliosis and problems that adults face including migraines and other headaches, fibromyalgia, sciatica, neck and back pain, and more. More information can be found on our website at https://www.vlifewellness.com/