Fibromyalgia is probably the most misunderstood condition we help people for as St. Charles, IL upper cervical chiropractors. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic pain disorder known for widespread pain involving the muscles and ligaments. About 4% of Americans live with fibromyalgia. Women are predominantly affected. In the past, doctors referred to it as fibrosis. 

Fibromyalgia Signs and Symptoms 

Below are some of the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia.

  • Chronic pain all over the body affecting the muscles, bones, and joints
  • Tenderness throughout the body 
  • Inability to sleep or not achieving restorative sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Fibro fog or cognitive difficulties including poor concentration and forgetfulness
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bladder symptoms
  • Weight gain
  • Chest wall pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Allergies and chemical sensitivities
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pelvic pain

Causes of Fibromyalgia 

Fibromyalgia frequently runs in families, and this suggests that genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing the condition. The onset of the disorder often occurs after someone has been involved in a stressful event. 

  • Physical stress (a car or sports accident)
  • Medical stress (illnesses, surgery, or certain infections)
  • Emotional stress (a traumatic life incident)

Sometimes other health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and autoimmune diseases can bring about fibromyalgia. It seems that the pain of fibromyalgia has something to do with the method in which the brain and spinal cord process pain signals. 

People living with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain in general. This means they feel sensations more intensely as their sense of touch and pain is higher than normal. As a result, things that are normally not painful to someone without the condition can be extremely painful for someone with fibromyalgia. For example, massage is very comforting and enjoyable for most people. Fibromyalgia patients will find massage to be painful and disturbing. Even mild neck pain can be very painful.

People Who Are at Higher Risk of Fibromyalgia

People listed below are more likely to have fibromyalgia due to several factors such as genetics and other health conditions.

Those with family members with fibromyalgia

Studies show evidence of a strong connection between fibromyalgia and genetics. Parents, siblings, and children of fibromyalgia sufferers are eight times more likely to develop the condition than those without relatives with the disorder. Some genes may be responsible for fibromyalgia. Researchers looked closely at twins with fibromyalgia, and they found that half of the risk is genetic, and the other half is environmental. 

Those with an autoimmune disorder

Another factor that can make someone at greater risk of fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder. In this case, fibromyalgia is considered secondary because the autoimmune disease triggered it. 

Those who suffered from physical or emotional trauma

Both physical injury and emotional trauma can bring about fibromyalgia. This is especially true when the injury involved the torso and spine.

Describing the Chronic Pain of Fibromyalgia

Widespread pain and tenderness are just two of the hallmark symptoms of fibromyalgia. They affect multiple spots of the body, including the joints, muscles, and tendons. Fibromyalgia pain is chronic and lasts for more than three months. It can be felt either above or below the waist. It can also be localized, most of the time in the neck and shoulders or low back. Joint stiffness may also occur.

Fibromyalgia patients often complain of a flu-like feeling and pain they experience all over their bodies. Many patients complain of having flare-ups where the pain is more intense for a few days straight. 

Study Links Fibromyalgia to the Central Nervous System 

A study demonstrated the relationship between the central nervous system and fibromyalgia. German researchers examined the role of the central nervous system in conjunction with the onset of fibromyalgia. They revealed in their study that there is a difference in pain processing in those with fibromyalgia. They also pointed out a clear distinction between fibromyalgia and depression, although they can co-exist.

Here are some of the noteworthy results from the study: 

  • Fibromyalgia sufferers possess lower pain thresholds and higher pain intensities
  • At-threshold pain stimulation results in cerebral activation that is not present in those without fibromyalgia
  • Fibromyalgia patients register pain on both sides of the brain, even when they only experience it on one side
  • There was no difference in cognitive performance of fibromyalgia patients and control subjects, while prefrontal activation was different between those with fibromyalgia and depression

These results help those with the condition and even doctors to better understand fibromyalgia. But what can be causing the central nervous system to react incorrectly?

Fibromyalgia and the Central Nervous System

The central nervous system includes the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. The brainstem is responsible for many functions of the body and may not work properly when a misalignment in the bones of the upper neck puts pressure on it. The C1 and C2 vertebrae protect the brainstem from damage. But due to injuries to the head or neck, they may misalign and put the brainstem under pressure. As a result, the brainstem may send faulty signals to the brain. For example, it may send improper messages about the intensity of pain the body is experiencing, causing fibromyalgia symptoms.As upper cervical chiropractors in St. Charles, Illinois, we make sure our patients do not suffer from these small misalignments. Even the slightest misalignment can result in multiple serious problems. Visit 1st Place Chiropractic to reap the benefits of upper cervical chiropractic. This gentle method encourages the bones to move back into their original alignment without using strong force. It can provide you with St. Charles fibromyalgia relief and restore your healthy body and overall well-being.