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Chiropractic Helps Woman with Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Facts

Fibromyalgia is not fully understood, and the cause is unknown. It has a distinct clinical presentation with no distinct characteristics beyond the presence of at least 11 out of 18 tender points and chronic pain in all four quadrants of the body. It is more common among young middle-aged women and in those with other associated disorders or systemic rheumatic disorders. It is a disorder that causes generalized aching, stiffness, fatigue, mental fog, poor sleep, and widespread tenderness in muscles, joints, and soft tissue.

Some symptoms are dependent on the level of environmental and emotional stress; therefore, episodes of flare ups may come and go. Patients tend to always be stressed, anxious, tense, fatigued, and sometimes depressed. Diagnosis, although often difficult, is made through a history, physical examination, imaging, and lab work. Fatigue is most often the primary complaint and general pain and tenderness.

Treatment may include exercise, heat, stress management, drugs to improve sleep, and analgesics. Stress management is also important. Stretching, aerobic exercise, adequate sleep, heat, and massage can provide relief.
Fibromyalgia appears to stem from an abnormal nervous system response which causes the immune system to attack joints and other healthy tissues. An imbalance in brain chemicals may cause the brain and nervous system to misinterpret or overreact to normal pain signals.
The nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body and structural shifts in the spine can occur that obstruct the nerves and interfere with their function. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. By removing the structural shifts, chiropractic improves nerve supply and function.

Case Study

The 48-year-old female in this study had been previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She also had neck pain, shoulder pain, upper mid back pain, headaches, and low back pain. Her back pain was so severe that she could not sit for longer than an hour or stand longer than 30 minutes. Walking was a painful task. She could not function to complete any household duties without pain. Her pain had severely altered her social life. She had episodes of dizziness and Meniere’s disease, sleep loss and dysmenorrhea. She was on medication for her fibromyalgia, hot flashes, depression, fluid retention, allergies, and sleep loss. She had been on these medications for a long period but they did not help.

The chiropractor examined her and found structural shifts in her neck, upper back, mid back, low back, and pelvis. She also had very tight muscles and trigger points in her mid back and lower back. Range of motion, quality of life questionnaires, and x-rays confirmed the findings. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.

Following chiropractic adjustments, she experienced marked improvement in her symptoms. She reported going from having “severe pain” to “minor pain.” Her Neck Pain Index and Back Pain Index scores improved dramatically and her medical doctor updated her diagnosis to remission of fibromyalgia.

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this population.

Reference

Remission of Fibromyalgia & Resolution of Depression in a 48-Year-Old Female Following Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation: A Case Study & Review of Literature. Theresa A. Dunton, DC & Nicole Hirshowitz, DC. Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ Volume, 2020.

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