Do you have widespread pain in four quadrants of the body (lines intersecting vertical and horizontal at the nave) and have tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points (see below) when pressure is applied? Do you have one or more of the following symptoms?
Fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorders, chronic headaches, jaw pain, cognitive or memory impairment, malaise and muscle pain after exertion, morning stiffness, menstrual cramping, numbness and tingling sensations, dizziness or lightheadedness, and skin/chemical sensitivities?
If you do then you probably have a disease known as fibromyalgia. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) 3-6% of Americans have fibromyalgia syndrome. Even the diagnosis of FMS is difficult and can take up to 4 years to be accurately diagnosed. A correct diagnosis must include the above mentioned criteria and the tender points which are as follows:
1) Either side of the base of the skull.
2) Either side of the back/middle of the neck.
3) Either side of the midpoint of the muscle that runs from the back of the neck to the shoulder-upper Trapezius muscle.
4) Either side of the origin of the Supraspinatus muscle that runs along the upper border of the shoulder blade.
5) Either side where the second rib meets the breastbone.
6) On the outer aspect of elbow.
7) In the large buttock muscles (Glut Medius).
8) Just behind the large prominence of either hip joint.
9) On either knee in the fatty pad just above the inner aspect of the joint.
The main focus of this disease, and the mystery of it, has to do with the many theories that cause it. These are as follows;
Neuroendocrine disorders (mainly thyroid hormone imbalance), Serotonin reduction due to sleep disorders due to a decrease in endorphins and an increase in substance P levels, muscle micro-trauma causing calcium leakage, pain modulation disorder, congenitally acquired disorder (inadequate thyroid regulation), allergic infections/toxicity/nutritional deficiencies, low CO2 levels during rest, psychogenic or psychosomatic condition, trauma, immune system dysfunction, and an extreme presentation of myofascial pain syndrome.
Whatever the cause may be, they all lead to fibromyalgia. Thus, it is very difficult to cure the disease due to so many causes but the symptoms can be controlled through nutrition, diet, and alternative medicine like acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic. Allopathic medicine via drug control is best for trying to combat the cause of these symptoms and through a combined effort with alternative and allopathic medicine, this disease can be controlled. Some of the chiropractic and nutritional approaches are as follows:
Chiropractic care including Anodyne Therapy®, acupuncture, massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and chiropractic manipulation can help by modulating pain. Chiropractic manipulation increases spinal mobility which tends to decrease transmission of pain from adjacent structures. This stimulates the release of pain modulating opoids called endorphins and enkephalins from the brain.
Nutritionally, supplementation of malic acid, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, coenzyme Q10 (anti-oxidant), and melatonin (for sleep disturbances) can help. Patients can also take supplements/or teas with passion flower and valerian root to alleviate nervous tension and alleviate pain. Also a diet with a balance of Omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flax, walnut oils to name a few) and Omega-6 fatty acids can help. Patients should stop smoking, limit drinking, and refrain from poor-fast food diets. You can also take Epson salt baths by adding 2-4 cups of salt to a warm bath to sooth aching muscles.
Again, with a combined effort of allopathic and alternative medicine a patient can hopefully combat fibromyalgia and carry on a normal life. If you have any questions please contact me at Nill Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center at 459-2205 or e-mail at drnill@nillfamilychiropractic. Thank you and have a healthy day.
Dr. James P. Nill DC.
Quick Access- A Professional Guide to Conditions, Herbs, & Supplements Integrative Medicine Communications:2000 pp109-111
The Mystery of Fibromyalgia JACA June 2004 Volume 41 No. 6 pp. 10-20
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