If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may be wondering what the disorder means for you. The condition still remains a mystery, although an estimated 3 to 6 percent of Americans, predominantly women, have fibromyalgia syndrome. Even diagnosing the condition can be complex: according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it can take a patient up to 4 years to be accurately diagnosed.
Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in patients with:
- Widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body for a minimum of 3 months; and
- Tenderness or pain in at least 11 tender points when pressure is applied. These tender points cluster around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.
Some fibromyalgia experts say, however, that many people may still have fibromyalgia with fewer than 11 tender points if they have widespread pain and several other common symptoms, including:
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic headaches
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cognitive or memory impairment
- Malaise and muscle pain after exertion
- Jaw pain
- Morning stiffness
- Menstrual cramping
- Irritable bowels
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Skin and chemical sensitivities
Recently, fibromyalgia patients have been seeking chiropractic care increasingly often. Because fibromyalgia causes numerous tender points all over the body, many fibromyalgia patients suffer from back pain, neck pain, and leg cramps. In an attempt to solve these problems, many sufferers have looked to chiropractors. Because simple adjustments to the neck and spine can restore the carriage of the whole body, a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers find that alignments of the spine can significantly reduce pain all over their bodies.
Numerous studies have been conducted analyzing the benefits of chiropractic care in fibromyalgia patients. A 1985 study asked 81 fibromyalgia patients to indicate drug or alternative treatments that best relieved their pain. Chiropractic care treatment scored surprisingly high in this study. Another study examined the effectiveness of spinal manipulation in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. After just 15 treatments, fibromyalgia patients suffered from less pain and fatigue, and actually enjoyed better sleep quality.
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