Fibromyalgia and Chiropractic Care 


Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome, is a condition characterized by widespread pain all over the body. It is a chronic condition, which can leave the sufferer depressed and debilitated. Psychological distress is often attributed to the condition. It can overlap with other conditions and often manifests with similar symptoms with other conditions.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Pain in all four quadrants of the body. It commonly appears in the lower neck region, second rib, outer area of the elbow, inner area of the knee, back of neck, back shoulder, buttocks and rear hip areas.
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Sleep disorder
  • Morning stiffness
  • Jaw pain
  • Tingling sensation and numbness
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Cognitive impairment or fibro fog (brain fog associated with fibromyalgia)
  • Skin sensitivities


Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose due to its varying symptoms and similarities with other conditions. In order to be diagnosed as such, two criteria must be met:

  • There should be 11 out of 18 tender points present
  • Pain must be distributed on all four quadrants of the body

Diagnosis starts with physical examination, specifically, applying pressure on tender points just enough to cause the fingernail beds to blanch.


Treatment of Fibromyalgia

Chiropractic care is thought to help relieve the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is treated with a combination of medications such as painkillers and antidepressants. Other medications include anti-convulsants and anti-depressants. Lifestyle changes and therapies such as counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Chiropractic treatment is also believed to help ease the pain associated with fibromyalgia.  Exercises and manual therapies help increase flexibility joints. Fibromyalgia, however, is a rare case for chiropractors. Most of the time, chiropractors manage fibromyalgia with other health care providers. Usually, chiropractic treatment is combined with medications.

The following are the common treatment methods employed in treating fibromyalgia:

  • massage to help relieve pain and induce relaxation for better sleep
  • spinal manipulation techniques to relieve pain
  • muscle strength training
  • aerobic exercises to assist with fatigue
  • body awareness and movement exercises such as qi gong or tai chi
  • diet modification, herbs, and vitamins
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • medications (anti-depressants, painkillers, anti-convulsants)
  • spa therapy (balneotherapy)
  • acupuncture


Based on these treatment methods, the combination of cognitive behaviroal therapy, medications and light exercises is thought to be the most effective as proven by a particular study conducted by Dr. Michael Schneider, Dr. Howard Vernon, Dr. Gordon Ko, Dr. Gordon Lawson and Jerome Perera. With these facts and evidences on hand, it is safe to say that the health care industry must collaborate with chiropractors in order to plan the best health care treatment ther is for fibromyalgia patients. There is no need to medical science and alternative medicine to compete as both can be combined in order to provide the best health care experience for patients.


Image source: Shutterstock

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