Of all the conditions we see at Spinal Care Clinics in Brentwood, fibromyalgia would be crowned the queen of pain, the mother of all kill-joys. This invisible, almost ghost-like, chronic condition is notorious for widespread tenderness and pain. Fibromyalgia is scary. It’s frustrating and debilitating and only made worse by lack of research and recognition in medicine, which is why it is so important to find the right healthcare professional for you.
The never-ending list of Fibromyalgia symptoms
Fibromyalgia has a lot of overlap with Myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME, and many autoimmune disorders, which make it difficult to distinguish one from the other. A practical way to differentiate the disorders is that pain is the predominant problem in people with fibromyalgia, whereas fatigue is the major setback in people with ME. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include lower back pain, upper back, shoulder and neck pain, headaches, muscle spasms, stiffness, tingling, burning, bloating… the list goes on. Fibromyalgia affects the body as a whole, and this is one of the reasons why it is so hard to both diagnose and treat. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was a true advocate and pioneer of observation. His treatment would depend on what he could see. At the time, this was ideal and logical. No state of the art imaging was available, the average adult lived until the age of thirty-five and medical advice was usually only called upon in life threatening situations. So modern day medicine evolved along these lines, treatment became symptomatic. Here, lies the biggest challenge facing all of you suffering from invisible conditions such as fibromyalgia.
The frustrating ghost
Your pain may not be visible to others. Test results usually come back clean and diagnosis is often a process of elimination, which can take a long time. BUT underneath the skin, it can feel like hot lava travelling through your every vein and that can leave you helpless.
In the UK, we have a health system that leaves many other nations in awe and we have really, really good emergency care, where we can practice Hippocratic medicine and treat based on observation. When it comes to long-term, slow-moving illnesses we don’t rank so highly. It is understandable, when pressured doctors spend less than ten minutes with each patient. This could be adequate if the flu got the better of you, but if you’re living with a complicated chronic condition like fibromyalgia, it’s just not going to cut it.
A whole-body approach is needed, so why not chiropractic care? We understand that symptoms aren’t always visible, and overall, we recognise that your pain is real. Fibromyalgia flare-ups are important warning signals your body is making to say hey! I’m not ok. Chronic pain, Irregular Bowel Syndrome, migraines, fibro brain fog, exhaustion and the myriad of other fibro symptoms are all linked and should be treated as such.
The point of chiropractic care for any condition is to get a full picture and trace the problem back to its roots. Chiropractors do perform spinal adjustment in order to increase mobility and restore the balance within, but they will also ask big questions in the hope of unravelling your history. This is to gain a better understanding of you and your condition. Your pain is personal and, as such, chiropractors work with your body’s innate healing capacity to provide a holistic and individualised approach to your wellbeing. They are well trained to offer extra advice, such as lifestyle and dietary choices, in order to boost your health in all possible ways.
Let’s end on a high!
Fibromyalgia is tough and there is no quick fix but things are looking up. Ground-breaking research is underway and pain is slowly being recognised not as a symptom but as the condition! It’s estimated that 43% of people in the UK experience chronic pain and 1.5 – 2 million people have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. So, you are not alone. There is a big community out there and it’s important to connect and exchange experiences. An integrated, whole-body care plan is the way forward. Start regaining confidence and enjoy life again!