Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues throughout the body. It is often combined with other symptoms like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD), irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, depression, anxiety, cognitive issues, and sleep interruption. This painful and mysterious condition affects around three to five percent of the American population, predominantly women.
If you’ve never been to a chiropractor, you may have some questions about how it works. Chiropractors believe that the body is a connected system. If your bones, ligaments, muscles, joints, and tendons aren’t functioning correctly, then they can lead to an improperly functioning system. When your skeletal structure is healthy, your body is strong. Chiropractors help restore the balance in your skeletal structure through adjustments, manipulations, and stretches to eliminate the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, your chiropractor can use whatever tests or forms your doctor used for the diagnosis to work out a treatment plan for you. If you aren’t yet sure about your symptoms, you might be wondering, can a chiropractor diagnose fibromyalgia?
The answer is yes. Since there are currently no lab tests that can determine a diagnosis, current guidelines state that if a person has widespread pain that has lasted for a minimum of 90 days. There is no known underlying medical condition or reason to explain their symptoms; they can receive the fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Your chiropractor will do a complete exam and thorough medical history before making any diagnosis, the same as any doctor would do. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may feel as if there will never be an end to the tingling, pain, and exhaustion that accompany this syndrome. However, help may be as close as your chiropractor’s office.
Finding a Cause
Beyond the painful symptoms, one of the more frustrating aspects of fibromyalgia is that doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of this condition. At this time, medical professionals and experts believe that various factors cause fibromyalgia, namely:
- Physical or emotional trauma/stress
The Chiropractic Connection
Subluxations, misalignment of the vertebrae in the spine, can be caused by the three Ts, toxins, trauma, and thoughts (stress). These subluxations hinder the optimal function of the nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and a network of nerve cells and fibers. All of them transmit signals from different parts of the body. When subluxations thwart this communication between the brain and the body, health issues can arise. Chiropractors use gentle adjustments to the spine to remove these subluxations.
Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
There are two treatment options for those with this condition; traditional doctors and what is considered alternative or complementary treatments. The conventional approach that doctors use is to manage pain through a variety of prescription painkillers, anti-inflammatories. Those include ibuprofen, sleeping pills, antidepressants, and muscle relaxers. Symptoms are usually managed with drugs and, occasionally, psychotherapists.
Alternative methods use holistic and natural means for managing symptoms, including vitamin and herbal therapy, meditation, biofeedback, acupuncture, and chiropractic. Chiropractic is one of the most common treatments fibromyalgia patients seek because it has offered the best management of symptoms when compared to other therapies.
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