What is fibromyalgia?

It is estimated that about 5 million Americans, or 2% of the population, are affected by fibromyalgia. 80% of all fibromyalgia suffers are women, however men get diagnosed with this condition as well. Fibromyalgia is a multifactorial condition, meaning that there are a variety of triggers and a multitude of symptoms that fibromyalgia sufferers struggle with.

At this time, researchers don’t know the exact cause for fibromyalgia as there is no specific lab or imaging to confirm it. Doctors rely on your symptoms and physical exam to formulate your diagnosis since the common symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap with symptoms of other conditions. As a result, people often live through years of pain with no explanation or relief.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia

  • Chronic muscle pain including muscle spasms and tension
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and waking unrefreshed
  • Stiffness
  • Digestive distress
  • Mental fog, depression, and anxiety
  • Headaches, jaw & facial pain
  • Hypersensitivity to environmental substances, foods, lights, noise, odor and temperature
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Increased urinary urgency and frequency
  • Exercise intolerance

Although doctors and researchers don’t know the exact cause of fibromyalgia, there are a few theories that seem applicable.

Causes for Fibromyalgia

  • Emotional or physical trauma: studies show that there is a link between post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.
  • Infections: organisms such as Epstein-barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and lyme disease can trigger or mimic fibromyalgia symptoms.
  • Digestive health: when the health of the digestive tract is compromised, an inflammatory and immune response is triggered, which in turn causes pain and fatigue.
  • Genetics: growing amounts of research shows a strong genetic link to fibromyalgia. Individuals with family members with fibromyalgia are eight time more likely to develop the condition as well.

Why does Fibromyalgia hurt?

Again, no one knows the exact mechanism for fibromyalgia pain; however, there are a few theories. It has been suggested that repeated nerve irritation causes the brain’s pain receptors to start developing memory of the ongoing pain. As a result, our pain receptors become more sensitive and thus overreact to sources of pain.

What does an appointment look like?

Although not enough is known about fibromyalgia, there are several treatment options. Our Redmond, Oregon Chiropractor and massage therapists are experts at evaluating and treating the musculoskeletal complaints that often accompany this condition. Studies show that chiropractic care and massage can reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia by eliminating the irritation to your nerves and therefore eliminating the source of chronic pain.

In addition to treating musculoskeletal complaints associated with fibromyalgia, you can also find helpful treatment ideas in the Naturopathic fibromyalgia section on this site. In this article, we’ll discuss other avenues of addressing fibromyalgia including identifying and treating underlying infections, establishing care to address any past traumas and supporting potential genetic predisposition to fibromyalgia.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mike Sorensen, our Chiropractor, Dr. Katie Mercer, our Naturopath, and our massage therapists.

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