Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic disorder that involves a large spread of pain and sensitivity within the complete musculoskeletal system. Some of the disorders connected with FM are: prolonged fatigue, pains, disturbed sleep, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), psychological conditions, TMJ pain and dysfunction, and other autoimmune diseases. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia will generally possess at least 11 out of a total of 18 distinguishing tender points on the body.

Research has it that approximately 2% of the total number of people living in the United States suffer from this widespread disease. Women are 10 times affected more than men. With the numerous symptoms experienced by FM patients, it’s a bit tasking in finding the right solution to this disease.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

Medical researchers are yet to determine the catalyst of this condition. The vast variety of symptoms associated with fibromyalgia makes it pretty difficult to ascertain what causes it. Many experts have settled on focusing on the psychological aspect of it because a good number of patient suffering from FM usually experience altered moods such as depression.  Others are of the opinion that FM is a physiological entity derived from chronic postural alterations and physical trauma. Some are of the opinion that since patients with FM are hypersensitive to stimuli; therefore, it means that FM is a central nervous system disorder with imbalances in neurochemicals. Most often, these patients tend to experience pain to non-painful activity or pressure. It is pretty possible that a combination of psychological and physical triggers can result in a number of FM symptoms.

How Can Chiropractic Help?

Most often, chiropractors offer their professional skills to FM patients, hoping to assist them in relieving their symptoms. According to a research carried out at a the Mayo Clinic, about 37% out of the total of 300 FM patients surveyed had visited a chiropractor in the past couple of months. This illustrates that fibromyalgia patients regularly consult with chiropractors.

But do these chiropractic techniques work for them? In case you had your doubts, recent studies show that it does. A survey was conducted on fibromyalgia patients before, during and after a series of chiropractic adjustments with ischemic compression. Ischemic compression is a soft tissue technique. The study confirmed that over 60 percent of the patients responded positively. There was significant reduction in pain and fatigue, while improvement in sleep. These reports where achieved within just one month. Despite the little research, the studies show that chiropractic to be of great benefit to fibromyalgia patients’ quality of life.

As neuromuscloskeletal specialists, Chiropractors have the sole aim of creating some positive effects on an individual’s nervous system. We know all information from the external world is gathered and analyzed by the nervous system. However, if this external stimulus is bothersome to a person suffering from fibromyalgia compared to others, then something is wrong with the system.

What Does The Cerebellum Have To Do with Fibromyalgia?

One of the main causes of spinal restriction is the vertebral subluxations. These lesions tend to irritate the nerves that leave the spine. Not to mention, the irritation caused by subluxations feeds back into the brain. Information obtained from the joints of the spine is sent to a vital part of the brain known as the cerebellum; a part responsible for coordination, balance and body proficiency. However, recent research has shown the cerebellum to being responsible for the maintenance and function of emotional stability. Hence, vertebral subluxations irritate the joints which in turn cause FM symptoms.

Additional studies are required in order to prove some of the positive effects of chiropractors on fibromyalgia patients. However, combining chiropractic care with other traditional techniques such as acupuncture, massages, and exercises, will give FM patients a better opportunity for recovery.

There are many ways to to treat fibromyalgia. Chiropractic techniques vary in intensity and succession. Similar to medical treatment differing from one another, so do the techniques used by chiropractors in the treatment of FM. As an experienced provider in fibromyalgia, I have come to see similar patterns. I have observed that the patient’s outcome is partially dependent on their capacity to accept treatment. And if you over treat an FM patient,  they will feel burned out after a few hours. However, if you treat them within their capability, they will display continual improvement. I have had a couple of occasions where some of my patients returned after their first treatment with testimonies on how they had sound sleep after their treatment. The patient feels delighted knowing that they are finally getting the needed rest. I also feel excited knowing that their body is starting to heal.


Also published on Medium.