Fibromyalgia can affect your entire body and is a painful condition that can cause sufferers to withdraw from life. What’s worse is that many people with fibromyalgia feel their complaints go unheard or brushed aside as psychosomatic, or “all in their head.” It’s just recently that the healthcare community is taking fibromyalgia seriously as a condition with a real, physical cause. Science still doesn’t understand the exact cause of this pain, but the suffering it causes is clear.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that causes widespread pain, often throughout a person’s entire body. Individuals who have fibromyalgia can be more sensitive to pain as well, which is known as abnormal pain processing. It is unknown what causes the condition. However, age does seem to be a risk factor, as a fibromyalgia diagnosis becomes more likely as a person gets older. Having rheumatoid arthritis or lupus also makes an individual more likely to have fibromyalgia. Additionally, women are much more likely than men to suffer from fibromyalgia.

What are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia?

There are many symptoms of fibromyalgia. Two of the most common symptoms of the condition are pain and fatigue. However, the condition also causes a wide array of other symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive issues
  • Face and jaw pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Numbness and tingling in feet and hands
  • Photosensitivity

How can fibromyalgia impact your daily life?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that has a devastating effect on a patient’s daily life, potentially even causing disability. It can cause debilitating pain, making it difficult to function normally. Additionally, individuals with fibromyalgia frequently suffer from severe fatigue, which does not get better from resting. People with the condition are also twice as likely to be hospitalized and three times as likely to suffer from major depression than people who do not suffer from fibromyalgia. They are also more likely to be diagnosed with other rheumatic conditions.

Combined, all of these symptoms usually make daily life much more difficult and affect a person’s work or career significantly. Fibromyalgia can also have negative effects on a patient’s social life, straining relationships and requiring a loved one to work as an unofficial caregiver.

What are common treatments for fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is typically treated with medication therapy and a variety of other treatments. These treatments are intended to minimize symptoms, as there is no cure for fibromyalgia. The effectiveness of treatments can vary from patient to patient, and a combination of treatments is often used.

Doctors generally recommend a number of medications to address fibromyalgia. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are often recommended as they can help relieve pain and, by doing this, also help allow patients to sleep better. Sometimes, drugs that are used in treating epilepsy are given to fibromyalgia patients to help with pain management. In addition, antidepressant drugs can be offered to assist with pain and fatigue. It’s important to remember that these medications do not offer a cure for fibromyalgia, as one does not currently exist.

While medication is often recommended to help manage pain, there are other drug-free therapies, such as stress management, exercise and cognitive behavior therapy. These natural lifestyle changes can help patients relax more and reduce the mental toll that this condition takes.

What are the drawbacks/side effects of traditional treatments?

If you believe you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out other more serious conditions, such as MS. But it’s also important to understand that some of the conventional therapies prescribed by general practitioners can carry unpleasant side effects.

Antidepressants can cause weight gain, dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and come with additional mental health warnings. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, heartburn, and sometimes even liver, kidney, and cardiovascular problems. Likewise, anticonvulsants can cause cognitive impairment, dizziness, weight gain, and potentially liver damage. Also, muscle relaxants often require patients not to drive or operate machinery due to the drowsiness they can cause. Side effects can also include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and blurred vision.

How can chiropractic care help alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Given the many side effects of medication, along with their limited capabilities, many patients remain on an exhaustive search for more effective treatments. This is where chiropractic care can come in to offer a promising alternative. There are several ways in which Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy’s chiropractic team can help you with your fibromyalgia symptoms:

Chiropractic Adjustments

Our chiropractors perform precision adjustments that can address misalignments within your musculoskeletal system. Since one of the main causes of pain in fibromyalgia is believed to be caused by inaccurate pain signals being received by the brain, alignments can help provide pain relief by helping the brain to better receive the correct nerve signals. Unlike pain killing drugs, an alignment addresses the underlying cause of fibromyalgia pain, rather than simply masking the discomfort.

Nutritional Support

Taking a holistic approach to your care, we can recommend changes in your diet that may help reduce your pain. They may also recommend nutritional supplements to help address any nutritional deficiencies you may have. Both the pain and fatigue that come with fibromyalgia can potentially be addressed by correcting nutritional deficiencies, thus improving your quality of life.

Lifestyle Adjustment Recommendations

Because stress plays a role in fibromyalgia, our chiropractors will guide you through the lifestyle adjustments that can benefit you the most. Some common recommendations are stress reduction activities, adjustments to posture, and appropriate exercises. All recommendations are tailored to your particular circumstances.

Physical Therapy

At Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy, we offer both chiropractic care, and physical therapy, a combination which can be particularly effective for fibromyalgia treatment. Physical therapy is widely accepted as a beneficial treatment for fibromyalgia pain. Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia often limit their physical activities and range of motion, in an effort to not bring on additional pain. Unfortunately these “protective” measures can actually do the opposite and cause an increase in their pain. Physical therapy helps you to move safely, which can assist in  reducing pain.

Rather than a band aid approach to fibromyalgia, Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy takes a holistic approach to the treatment of this challenging condition. Natural and non-invasive, our goal is to reduce your pain and give you back parts of your life you lost due to this chronic condition.

Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Treatment for Fibromyalgia in New Jersey

Serving Bergen and Passaic County from our Oakland, Wayne, Fair Lawn, and Closter, NJ Offices