The key to finding a suitable treatment option for fibromyalgia is understanding the condition and why it happens. Fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition next to osteoarthritis. The condition is a long-term and chronic experience of widespread pain in the bones and muscles, extreme exhaustion, and areas of tenderness. These symptoms cannot be identified or evaluated by using tests, making it a common situation for fibromyalgia to be misdiagnosed as another illness. This is what has led some doctors to question whether the disease actually exists. Although this condition has grown in recognition, still there are many who do not validate FM as being a real thing. This can be a very hopeless experience for patients and make it more difficult for them to find answers.
As researchers learn more about fibromyalgia, the stigma that envelops it is decreasing. One of the concerns that some doctors have is that patients will use this undetectable pain as a guise to obtain pain medication for personal use. This has motivated many doctors to encourage lifestyle changes instead of medicating their FM patients. As more doctors confirm the validity of fibromyalgia, research will continue to increase in order to find effective ways to bring relief to sufferers.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
One of the well-known characteristics of fibromyalgia is that it causes areas of tenderness called trigger points. There are 18 spots on the body that become painful with just a slight application of pressure, and at one period of time, this was used as an indicator for diagnosing fibromyalgia. However, eventually they learned that not everyone feels pain in these areas every day. Currently this is still one way that doctors narrow down their list of possible diagnoses. Patients describe the pain associated with these pressure points as a constant dull ache. If the person endures this pain for longer than 3 months, they will most likely be diagnosed with FM. The areas of trigger points are:
- Outer elbows
- Back of the head
- Upper chest
- Tops of the shoulders
Other symptoms include:
- Problems getting a good night’s rest
- Extreme exhaustion
- Sleeping a lot without feeling rested
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Poor concentration and focus
- Fibro fog
Reasons for Fibromyalgia
Researchers and the medical community still do not have an answer for what exactly causes fibromyalgia. However, there are a few factors that can lead to or trigger this condition that are now being agreed upon:
- Genetics: Having a family member with FM puts you at a much higher risk of getting it.
- Infections: Previous sickness may make FM worse or even trigger it in some people.
- Stress: Stress creates far-reaching effects in your body that you may have to deal with for months or even years. Stress is linked to hormonal imbalances that contribute to FM.
- Trauma: If you have experienced severe emotional or physical trauma, you may be at risk to develop FM as it has been linked to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
We still don’t fully understand why people experience widespread pain while suffering from fibromyalgia. Some theories exist, such as the following:
- The brain lowers the pain threshold for some reason.
- The nerves and receptors in the body are more sensitive to stimulation.
- A misalignment in the neck may cause some serious issues throughout the body.
Treating Fibromyalgia: Is Prednisone the Solution?
Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug that is usually prescribed for fibromyalgia relief. While it does help reduce inflammation and could help you feel better, it includes a long list of serious side effects. If you are considering taking this drug, it would be a very good idea to do your research before deciding. Here is list of possible side effects from taking Prednisone:
- Black or tarry stools or diarrhea
- Blotches under the skin that look red or purple
- Bulging eyes
- Changes in hair growth
- Decreased sex drive
- Irregular menstruation
- Increased or loss of appetite
- Increased sweating
- Puffy face
- Personality changes
- Problems falling asleep and staying asleep
- Thin skin
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
Another additional side effect to be wary of is adrenal fatigue, which can happen as a result of using this drug for the long-term. The adrenal glands could actually stop working, which is extremely serious. Usually doctors recommend taking a break from using prednisone so that the body can recover, but they will encourage you to begin taking it again as soon as possible. In situations where the body is not provided a break and a recovery period, adrenal crisis is possible. The symptoms that would follow due to adrenal issues are nausea, vomiting, and going into shock. After hearing about these dangerous side effects, the pressing question is whether there is an alternative to taking any medication. We have good news up ahead.
A Safe and Natural Relief Option for Fibromyalgia Sufferers
Among the list of theories describing why fibromyalgia happens, there is one that has been proven. There is clear evidence that a misalignment in the bones of the upper neck can be a cause. Understanding how the brain and the body work together will help you see the way that this contributes to fibromyalgia. The neck bones of the upper cervical spine, specifically the C1 and C2 vertebrae, have the important role of protecting the fragile brainstem. The brainstem functions as the communication highway between the brain and the body.
However, the unique shape and position of these bones make them particularly susceptible to misaligning. Just a minor blow to the head or overextending the muscles can cause these bones to misalign. Unfortunately, in these types of situations, instead of protecting the brainstem, the bones now are putting pressure on the brainstem, interfering with its ability to send accurate signals to the brain. Fibromyalgia is a result of the brain getting pain signals in the body when there is no pain.
Here at Evoke Spinal Care in Pleasant Hill, California, we use a gentle method to return these bones to their properly aligned position without popping or cracking the spine. Correcting the misalignment initiates the body’s natural healing ability and improves fibromyalgia symptoms for many of our patients. Give us a call to see how we help make it go away and not return.