Dissecting Fibromyalgia and Its Central Nervous System Origins

If you or someone close to you has had fibromyalgia, chances are you have already familiarized yourself with its incapacitating symptoms such as muscle and bone pain, fatigue, sleep troubles, cognitive issues, and many others.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, long-term condition that impacts about 3-6% of the world population, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. In the United States, as many as 10 million people have fibromyalgia. Women are twice as likely to suffer from it than men. It is often diagnosed in middle adulthood.

Distressing Facts About Fibromyalgia

Dealing with a chronic health condition like fibromyalgia can be an everyday struggle for people who have it. When you have it, you feel pain all over your body even when you’re not sick or injured. The possible experiences and complications that fibromyalgia patients go through should not be taken lightly.

  • Fibromyalgia patients are twice as likely to be hospitalized than people without the condition.
  • People living with fibromyalgia are at higher risk of developing other rheumatic conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Women with fibromyalgia are 70% more likely to experience mental health issues.
  • Higher rates of depression are reported in adults who have fibromyalgia, with suicide and injuries as the leading causes of death.

Fibromyalgia is a unique and complex condition. It is not categorized as an autoimmune disorder, nor is it inflammation-induced. Although researchers have yet to establish its definite cause, they have identified issues within the central nervous system as a possible origin.

How Fibromyalgia Is Diagnosed

Since pain is subjective, and there are no specific tests that would give fixed results, fibromyalgia diagnosis is completed based on symptoms.  Nearly everyone who has fibromyalgia reports widespread pain all over their body. Some of the other recognizable symptoms of fibromyalgia are as follows:

  • Extensive pain with tender points throughout the body
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • “Fibro fog” or problems with memory and concentration
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Painful menstrual periods in women

Most people must undergo several doctor’s visits and diagnostic tests before a fibromyalgia diagnosis is given. The laborious process is required to rule out other possible health conditions since fibromyalgia shares its common symptoms with many other disorders.

The Link Between Fibromyalgia and the Central Nervous System

The central nervous system is composed of the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. Fibromyalgia stems from an issue or miscommunication in the way the brain processes pain signals and other sensory information. In fibromyalgia patients, pain signals are magnified as the nervous system is in a persistent state of high reactivity. For instance, a simple touch or feeling that is ordinarily painless can be felt as extremely painful by people who are suffering from fibromyalgia.

This condition is also referred to as central sensitization. When central sensitization ensues, it makes a person more sensitive to pain and sensation of touch.  Not only is the pain recognized as being greater, but it can also take longer for the feeling to dissolve.

The Role of the Brainstem in Fibromyalgia, and Getting to Its Root Cause

Upper cervical chiropractic care is a gentle and specific type of chiropractic care that concentrates on the uppermost vertebrae in the neck, particularly the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae. This fragile area of the spine does a crucial job of protecting the brainstem from damage.

The brainstem plays multiple major functions in guaranteeing your body’s ability to work normally:

  • It connects the brain to the spinal cord
  • It serves as a pathway for the millions of messages that are continually being exchanged by the brain and body
  • It runs numerous life-sustaining functions in the body such as breathing, digestion, and circulation
  • It processes pain signals, temperature, and sensation
  • It regulates alertness, awareness, and consciousness
  • It controls involuntary muscles

The C1 and C2 vertebrae, when in correct alignment, provide a durable layer of protection for the intricate nerves and tissues of the brainstem. However, an upper cervical misalignment can put pressure on the brainstem, resulting in malfunction and distorted pain processing. This can result in the development of fibromyalgia.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Makes Relief Achievable

By now it should be clear that the root cause of most fibromyalgia symptoms comes from a misalignment in the spine, and that upper cervical chiropractic care can help you address it.

With Trillium Spinal Care in Altoona, Wisconsin, you only receive an adjustment that is necessary and based on scientific assessments. Our upper cervical chiropractic care includes multiple diagnostic examinations to ensure that we give a personalized treatment for your case. We do not resort to forceful twisting or popping to return your bones in their normal positions. We check your adjustments on follow-up visits to ensure your body is responding to the gentle corrections we make.

Our goal is for you to hold the normal alignment of your upper cervical spine for as long as possible so that you achieve long-term recovery and health. Contact us and let us take care of your fibromyalgia symptoms the best way possible!