Fibromyalgia (FM) is a musculoskeletal disorder, like osteoarthritis and tendinitis, but it is also a pain processing disorder. Some of its hallmarks are widespread pain in the bones and muscles, extreme fatigue, and tender points all over the body. Since no test can identify these symptoms, misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia often happens. Some doctors also doubt the existence of the condition. They do not recognize fibromyalgia as real. This results in depression among patients as they suffer from pain and a lack of a cure for their illness.
On a brighter note, researchers are getting closer to understanding fibromyalgia. They are working harder to discover a permanent way to help sufferers. Doctors have also started encouraging lifestyle changes instead of prescribing medications to treat FM. Read on to find out the side effects of the common steroid prednisone, and how our fibromyalgia treatment clinic in California is helping patients find relief through a natural alternative.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Tender Points
Fibromyalgia is known for its tender points, or the areas of pain and tenderness in the body. There are 18 spots, and they tend to be painful when pressed, even with light pressure. These tender points used to be the basis for diagnosing fibromyalgia until doctors realized that not every person feels pain in these spots every day.
The tenders points are located in these areas:
- Back of the head
- Tops of the shoulders
- Upper chest
- Outer elbows
At the moment, doctors use these tender points to shorten their long list of possible diagnoses. The pain in these tender points may feel like a constant dull ache. Patients get a fibromyalgia diagnosis if the pain lasts longer than 3 months. Fibromyalgia includes other symptoms such as the following:
- Sleep problems
- Extreme exhaustion
- “Fibro fog” or difficulties concentrating and remembering things
- Pain in the lower abdomen
The Causes of Fibromyalgia
There’s no definite answer as to why fibromyalgia happens. Medical researchers are still studying to pinpoint its exact cause. All they know for sure is that there is a contribution of many factors in the development of this chronic condition:
- Infections: Previous illness may worsen FM or even trigger it in some people.
- Genetics: Having a family member with fibromyalgia makes you more prone to getting it too.
- Stress: Stress has wide implications in the body that may make you suffer for months or even years. Stress is also associated with hormonal imbalances that may trigger fibromyalgia.
- Trauma: FM was found to have a link with post-traumatic stress disorder. Experiencing intense emotional or physical trauma puts you at higher risk of developing FM.
Some of the existing theories on why fibromyalgia sufferers experience widespread pain are the following:
- The body nerves and receptors are more sensitive to stimulation
- The brain lowers the pain threshold for an unknown reason
- A misalignment in the neck may result in severe problems throughout the body
Is Prednisone a Good Choice for Fibromyalgia Care?
Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug that is frequently recommended by doctors to help with fibromyalgia. While it does the job of reducing inflammation and making you feel better, it can be dangerous as it comes with serious side effects. Before taking prednisone, be well-educated of its side effects, including:
- Problems falling asleep and staying asleep
- Blotches under the skin that look red or purple
- Changes in hair growth
- Bulging eyes
- Puffy face
- Thin skin
- Black or tarry stools or diarrhea
- Increased or loss of appetite
- Irregular menstruation
- Increased sweating
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
- Decreased sex drive
- Personality changes
Another side effect you should be aware of is adrenal fatigue. Long-term use of prednisone may stop your adrenal glands from working, which can lead to unpleasant results when it happens. Doctors often suggest taking a break from using it to allow the body to recover, but they will want you to return to using the drug as soon as possible. The body needs a break and recovery period. Getting deprived of this can result in adrenal crisis. You may suffer from nausea and vomiting and go into shock.
After learning the risks and dangers of taking prednisone, you may be wondering if there is a natural alternative to medications. The good news is that there is!
Where to Get Natural and Safe Fibromyalgia Care
One that is worth noting among the theories on the possible causes of fibromyalgia pain is a misalignment in the bones of the upper neck. To help you understand how this can lead to fibromyalgia, you must know the functions of the body and the brain.
The bones of the neck, specifically the C1 and C2 vertebrae, protect the brainstem. The brainstem serves as the communication highway between the brain and the body. However, the C1 and C2 are prone to misaligning due to their position and unique shape. It only takes a minor hit to the head or overextending of the muscles to misalign these bones. When this happens, instead of protecting the brainstem, they put it under pressure and cause it to send distorted signals to the brain, including the presence of pain in the body even when there is none. This can result in fibromyalgia.
Here at Evoke Spinal Care in Pleasant Hill, California, we use a gentle technique to realign these bones without forceful popping or cracking of the spine. If you want to manage your fibromyalgia, visit our chiropractic clinic in CA. Be among our patients who experience improvement in their fibromyalgia symptoms through upper cervical chiropractic care. After we’ve corrected their misalignment, some of our patients even report that their fibromyalgia has gone away and not returned.