Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Tender points are distinct from trigger points seen in other pain syndromes. Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure.
The soft-tissue pain of fibromyalgia is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing, shooting or burning, and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.
For some patients, pain improves during the day and increases again during the evening, though many patients with fibromyalgia have day-long, unrelenting pain. Pain can increase with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress.
Chiropractic care may be useful in alleviating the symptoms of fibromyalgia because it helps balance the nervous system and improve its function. The nervous system has two parts: sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (relax and rebuild).
By balancing the sympathetic nervous system, chiropractic care may help with the symptoms of:
- Body aches
- Chronic facial muscle pain or aching
- Multiple tender areas (muscle and joint pain) on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, knees
- Numbness and tingling
- Reduced exercise tolerance
By balancing the parasympathetic nervous system, chiropractic care may help with the symptoms of:
- Sleep disturbances
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Irritable bowel syndrome