The word fibromyalgia explains the hallmark symptom of the condition – pain. Fibro refers to the fibrous tissue of the body, such as fascia, tendons, and ligaments. Myo is the Greek term meaning muscle, and algia means pain.
The best-known symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread pain and tenderness as well as fatigue and sleep troubles. These characteristics, while certainly some of the more debilitating, just begin to scratch the surface of a very complex disorder.
Fibromyalgia is not a new condition, but it wasn't until recent times that it has become better understood and accepted. Some of the first documented descriptions of fibromyalgia were made in the early 1800s when a health condition called "muscular rheumatism" was described. Its symptoms were listed as aches, pains, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue. The first scientific study to take a detailed look into the condition occurred in 1981, and research has been ongoing since then.
When the term fibromyalgia comes up, the first thing many people think of is the widespread pain associated with the condition. However, there is a multitude of other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia that are lesser known:
These other symptoms, which on the surface may not seem associated, highlight just how complex of a disorder fibromyalgia really is. It impacts many facets of a person's health and wellbeing. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, many fibromyalgia sufferers also experience anxiety and depression that are extremely detrimental to overall quality of life.
Part of the difficulty in caring for fibromyalgia is that its origins are not fully understood and diagnosis itself is difficult. This creates solutions that are symptom-driven. Common recommendations include:
Some healthcare providers may recommend other, more natural solutions such as gentle stretching, light exercise, and stress management strategies. Another lesser-known but effective means of addressing fibromyalgia is through upper cervical chiropractic care.
The junction between your neck and your head is a complex area that's a delicate balance of strength and flexibility. In this area, the majority of our head's movement is made possible. The way the upper cervical vertebrae are shaped allow us to move our head in all directions – up and down, side to side, and tilting to the left and right. The vertebra that sits at the very top of the neck is called the atlas (C1).
Above the atlas is the skull, and below it is a vertebra called the axis, or C2. This small, 2-ounce bone has the tough job of supporting the weight of the head, which is approximately 10 to 12 pounds in the average adult. This, unfortunately, lends itself to instability and makes this area of the spine particularly susceptible to injury.
One of the other important jobs of the vertebrae of your spine is to protect the spinal cord that lies inside of it. The vertebrae form the spinal canal through which your brainstem and spinal cord pass. It is critical that this canal remain intact so that the spinal cord can do its job – transmit signals to and from the brain that coordinate every single function of the body.
When there is an injury to the upper cervical spine, it can cause a misalignment of the atlas or axis. As a result, it can hinder normal nervous system function due to irritation to the brainstem, spinal cord, and surrounding branches of the spinal nerves. The brainstem is the part of your nervous system that regulates many of your vital functions, including heart and lung function. It also acts as a "switchboard" for signals traveling between the brain and body.
Although there is still an element of mystery surrounding the exact origins of fibromyalgia, a known connection is that oftentimes an injury or illness precedes the onset of the condition. In an upper cervical chiropractic context, that makes perfect sense, and it's also part of the reason why many fibromyalgia sufferers are achieving such promising results with care. A neck injury doesn't need to be severe to cause damage to the upper cervical spine.
Current research is looking at fibromyalgia as a disorder of pain processing. It is known that people with fibromyalgia perceive pain differently than those without the condition. If there is a disturbance or miscommunication of pain signals over the central nervous system because of an atlas misalignment, then a logical solution would be to address the issue at its root cause. That is exactly our goal at Premier Family Wellness and Spinal Care.
We assess each of our patients as they visit our office to identify if an upper cervical misalignment, or subluxation, is compromising their body's ability to heal and function normally. The majority of fibromyalgia sufferers that find their way to us have, in their words, "tried everything".
When they experience the thorough, gentle and precise nature of an upper cervical adjustment and start feeling the results, many are pleasantly surprised. Once the atlas alignment is corrected, the body's natural healing processes can occur as optimally as possible and begin to repair damaged tissues. This is what leads to the lasting results that our patients experience. Some fibromyalgia sufferers report small, steady improvements in their quality of life and others experience a complete remission of their symptoms.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Perkins, call 248-780-8864 or just click the button below area.
If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.
Dr. Perkins grew up in Novi, Michigan and attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He received his Doctorate Magna Cum Laude with a focus on Upper Cervical Chiropractic care. Chris is well known in the community for his public speaking and holds a number of professional certifications. We are proud to say that Dr. Perkins and Perkins Family Wellness has been recognized by Hour Magazine as one of the Top Chiropractors in Metro Detroit for 3 years in row.