Fibromyalgia Keeping You Up? How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Getting quality sleep is about more than just ensuring you’re not in a crabby mood the following morning; it is essential for maintaining a healthy life both physically and mentally. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep deprivation is linked to a higher risk of serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, obesity, and diabetes. Additionally, not getting enough rest could lead to poor cognitive performance and negative moods, which could impact your professional and personal life.
There are plenty of obstacles that could keep you up at night, and frequent pain is one of them. Whether it’s a short-term ailment or a chronic condition, losing rest due to physical discomfort could worsen your overall health in the long run.
One pain condition that can lead to sleep deprivation is Fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder in which a person experiences widespread musculoskeletal pain throughout their body. The musculoskeletal system is designed to support your body weight and help you move. This system includes your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues.
Some medical experts believe that Fibromyalgia impairs your body’s ability to process painful and non-painful sensations, which is why you become more sensitive to pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4 million adults in the United States have Fibromyalgia. Adults with this disorder are twice as likely to be hospitalized, and death rates due to suicide or injuries are higher among those with Fibromyalgia.
In addition to chronic pain and trouble sleeping, health experts say that people living with Fibromyalgia may experience the following symptoms as well.
When you don’t get enough shuteye, you’re likely to feel tired and groggy the next day. For folks up all hours of the night because of the discomfort of Fibromyalgia, daytime fatigue is one of the most prevalent side effects. Feeling tired during the day is especially dangerous since it puts you at an increased risk of workplace accidents or motor vehicle crashes.
Impaired Cognitive Abilities
All that tiredness you feel from a lack of sleep can result in thinking, memory, and concentration difficulties. This can be problematic for a variety of reasons. For working adults, this could negatively impact their job performance, and research shows that students who sleep better are more likely to do well in school.
Depression and Anxiety
People with fibromyalgia may also experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These could arise from the stress of the physical pain itself, a lack of sleep, or both.
A consistent lack of rest has been found to increase the risk of developing depression and anxiety. These mental health conditions can affect children, teens, and adults. You should contact a medical professional immediately if you or a loved one are experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety.
Fibromyalgia may also lead to stomach issues, including abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is unclear why this disorder may result in stomach problems, but researchers have found that many Fibromyalgia patients report having digestive issues, including IBS.
Recurring headaches or migraines are another potential side effect of Fibromyalgia. These can span from mild to severe, and in some cases, lead to nausea as well. People experiencing migraines may also be sensitive to light and sound.
According to health experts, headaches and migraines can develop when you experience pain or stiffness in your neck and shoulders.
Painful Bladder Syndrome
Interstitial cystitis, also known as Painful Bladder Syndrome, is a long-term problem that causes bladder pressure and pain. In some instances, patients may experience pelvic pain as well. Experts say that having a chronic pain condition such as Fibromyalgia can escalate your chances of developing Interstitial cystitis.
Tingling or Numbness
Those with Fibromyalgia may also feel tingling or numbness in areas of the body such as their hands, arms, legs, and feet. Sometimes, patients may feel these sensations in their faces too. According to the University of Washington School of Medicine, tingling or numbness could result from other unrelated conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or multiple sclerosis, adding that Fibromyalgia patients often get tested for these as well.
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
Fibromyalgia patients may also develop facial or jaw discomfort, including Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ). In this case, a person would feel pain in their jaw joints or the muscles controlling their jaw. Folks with TMJ may also notice a clicking sound as they open their mouth or chew food.
Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia
While experts have yet to pinpoint an exact cause of Fibromyalgia, certain factors may increase your risk of developing this condition.
According to the Mayo Clinic, genetics could determine your chances of developing this chronic pain condition since Fibromyalgia is known to run in families. They add that genetic mutations passed down to family members could make you more vulnerable to this disorder.
In some cases, an illness or viral infection could either bring about or worsen Fibromyalgia. Researchers have reported a link between Fibromyalgia and the Epstein-Barr virus. During a 1994 study, scientists wanted to determine whether there was a connection between Fibromyalgia and the human parvovirus B19 but ultimately found no conclusive evidence linking the two.
Additionally, there have been other infections associated with this condition. These include hepatitis C, HIV, and Lyme disease. Experts say there’s been some evidence that vaccines could help prevent Fibromyalgia, but more research needs to be done.
Physical or Emotional Trauma
According to the CDC, intense physical or emotional traumas, such as a car accident or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may also trigger Fibromyalgia.
Repetitive Movement Injury
An injury resulting from continued stress and pressure on a joint may be linked to Fibromyalgia. An example of this is frequently bending your knees.
Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis
People with Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis have a higher chance of developing Fibromyalgia. Both Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis are chronic disorders linked to inflammation and pain throughout the body.
Your sex could also determine your risk for Fibromyalgia, as the CDC reports that women are two times more likely to be diagnosed with this disorder than men. They go on to say that women with fibromyalgia may experience a lower quality of life.
While Fibromyalgia can appear in both children and adults, experts say your likelihood of developing this condition increases as you get older, adding that most people are diagnosed when they are middle-aged.
There is also a possible connection between obesity and Fibromyalgia. A 2010 study found that a higher body mass index (BMI) was common in Fibromyalgia patients.
In addition to Fibromyalgia, obesity puts you at increased risk for other severe health complications, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, infertility, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. The Mayo Clinic adds that obesity could lead to severe symptoms for those infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Chiropractic Care and Fibromyalgia
With an assortment of disruptive symptoms, finding the right treatment for Fibromyalgia is essential.
In addition to certain medications, your doctor may recommend an alternative treatment for your pain. These could include light exercises such as yoga or stretching, massage therapy, or acupuncture. However, evidence-based research shows that chiropractic care could be a successful treatment plan for your Fibromyalgia.
What is Chiropractic Care?
For those new to this type of care, a chiropractor is a licensed health professional that works to minimize pain and improve alignment and overall function of the body by manipulating the spine and joints. While some folks assume chiropractors only target the spine, they also treat pain anywhere in the body connected to the musculoskeletal system, including extremities such as the jaw, hips, knees, wrists, and elbows.
Chiropractors look at the body as a whole system, rather than solely focusing on where the pain presents. Where fibromyalgia can be so difficult to target, a chiropractic approach will focus on getting the body properly aligned and functioning as a whole, so it has the ability to heal itself.
A chiropractor can help alleviate pain due to migraines and headaches, neck and spine injuries, whiplash, and reduce joint discomfort in the arms, legs, and shoulders. It is important that you only seek this type of treatment from a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic. Going to an unlicensed person who isn’t properly trained increases your risk of complications.
Chiropractors do not prescribe medications. However, they can prescribe additional treatments and exercises and provide referrals to integrative medicine specialists. Depending on your condition, you may receive chiropractic care in addition to treatment from your physician.
Can a Chiropractor Help Treat Fibromyalgia?
Because Fibromyalgia pain stems from the musculoskeletal system, chiropractic care could be an excellent match for patients living with this condition. A 1997 scientific study found that chiropractic care was an effective treatment for Fibromyalgia patients. Participants in the study treated by a chiropractor saw an improved range of motion and reported less pain.
Living with pain is difficult enough, but when that pain also prevents you from getting vital rest, your Fibromyalgia could lead to more substantive problems that impair your daily life and long-term well-being. Chiropractic management, which focuses on the same musculoskeletal system linked to Fibromyalgia pain, could be a significant addition to your treatment plan and help improve your quality of life.
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