Let’s take a deeper look at what fibromyalgia is and why it’s so hard to get diagnosed. Then we can discuss a course of care that has been proven to help.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition known to cause widespread pain throughout the body. It is also known for the following symptoms:
- Stiffness and pain all over the body
- Extreme exhaustion
- Problems concentrating, thinking, and remembering things (fibro fog)
- Anxiety and depression
- Abnormal headaches and migraines
- Problems sleeping
- Digestive issues (abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, IBS)
- Pain in the face or jaw (TMD)
- Tingling and/or numbness in the hands and feet
Who Gets Fibromyalgia?
There are some factors that may put one at a higher risk for developing FM. These include:
- A diagnosis of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Being middle-aged
- Being a woman
- Repetitive injuries
- Being obese
- Family history
- Enduring a traumatic event or extreme stress
- Having certain illnesses like viral infections
Why Fibromyalgia Is So Hard to Diagnose
There are quite a few factors to consider when it comes to diagnosing FM. In some cases, it could take as many as three years before getting a reliable diagnosis. The National Fibromyalgia Association reports that, on average, it can take three to five years to diagnose this condition. Why is this so?
For one thing, fibromyalgia patients do not appear to be sick. Despite the severe pain they are in, there is no cause that has been identified and agreed upon in the medical community. Doctors become frustrated with the lack of diagnostic testing to confirm the condition. Doctors have to rely on a patient’s description of their symptoms in order to make a diagnosis.
Andrea Cooper, cancer survivor and veteran of hospital visits, says that she wishes a test would come back positive for some disease, then at least she would have some answers and her doctor would believe something was truly wrong with her.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and fibromyalgia download our complimentary e-book Simple and Extremely Effective Ways to End Fibromyalgia Symptoms without Drugs by clicking the image below.
A Two-Year Observational Study of Fibromyalgia
A study observed 226 fibromyalgia patients over a two-year period. The aim of the study was to get a better understanding of how FM progresses in a different people over time. Over this time frame, the patients were regularly evaluated in regards to what level their pain was at. Surprisingly, between one-quarter and one-half of the patient’s symptoms fluctuated so much they moved in and out of the range for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. What does this mean?
Well, if you call to make an appointment with your primary care doctor and are scheduled to see him or her a week or so later, your fibromyalgia symptoms at that time may be in remission. This can result in not getting a proper diagnosis. You may be put through a battery of tests to try to find what is causing your fatigue and pain, with no definitive answers ever found. You can always hope on your next visit to the doctor you can be having a fibromyalgia flare up so as to get a proper diagnosis. However, you never really hope for a flare up, do you?
What Other Conditions Must Be Ruled Out?
There are a variety of other conditions that have symptoms similar to fibromyalgia. These must be ruled out before a diagnosis can be given.
- Rheumatoid arthritis or lupus: A problem with your immune system leading to swelling and pain.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: A particular type of arthritis causing inflammation and pain in your spine.
- Hypothyroidism: Your thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica: This disorder causes stiffness and widespread pain that occurs suddenly.
- Osteoarthritis: Arthritis that comes about due to wear and tear.
Where Does the Pain Come From?
Daniel Clauw, MD, director, Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, has done extensive research on why fibromyalgia patients have more pain than those who do not have the condition. One observation he made was that pinching the thumbs of a patient with fibromyalgia brought about much more pain than doing the same with someone without. While doing this test, certain areas of the brain were observed that process pain. The results were amazing. With very little pressure, the FM patients had many more pain receptors light up in their brains. He goes on to explain the pain fibromyalgia patients feel is as if the volume control for pain is turned up in their brains. Why may this occur?
Finding Relief for Fibromyalgia Through Proper Spinal Alignment
One reason for the brain to feel more intense pain could be connected to a problem in the brainstem. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are designed to protect the brainstem. These bones are also susceptible to misaligning due to their shape and location. If they do misalign because of a blow to the head or neck, they actually put the brainstem under pressure. This can lead to the brainstem sending improper signals to and from the brain and body. Therefore, if the body endures some sort of pain or even a light touch, the signal sent by the brainstem indicates there is much pain. This improper signal read by the brain hypes up the pain receptors, causing the person to feel pain that is not there or that is not considered very painful by people without FM.
Here at Precision Chiropractic West in West Des Moines Iowa, we use a technique especially suited to realign the bones of the upper cervical spine without the need to crack the neck or pop the back. This allows the bones to reposition themselves more naturally — a better way of care for the patient.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Laurel Griffin call 515-224-1093 or go to http://info.precisionchirowest.com/west-des-moines-chiropractor-consultation/