The body-wide pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia is frustrating and confusing for patients and doctors alike. Combined with other difficult symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety, it's critical that sufferers find relief.
Decrease Stress, Unlock Your Healing Potential
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a condition that involves long-term pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues throughout the whole body. The causes of FMS are still unknown but Dr. Phillip Shaw, Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Wheeling, says that stress is a major health factor patients should consider. "Any stress, whether it's mental, physical or chemical, has a direct physiological effect on the body that can lead to increased systemic inflammation," he explains. "An anti-inflammatory diet, exercise and regular chiropractic adjustments help patients decrease their overall stress levels and unlock their body's healing potential."
Resistance Training + Chiropractic Care
We know that exercising reduces stress levels, but it's tough to think about getting out there to exercise when you're dealing with the painful symptoms of FMS. Recent research supports exercise recommendations. In a Florida State University study, FMS patients who combined resistance training and chiropractic treatment two times a week saw improvements in their symptoms, flexibility, balance, coordination and endurance. Participating patients also had better rates of consistency with the 16-week treatment program.
Support is Crucial
Dr. Phillip says that many of his FMS patients have endured a traumatic life experience, such as a car accident, injury or major illness at or around the onset of FMS symptoms. "They've had some sort personal traumatic event that causes a disturbance in their central nervous systems, which then leads to a decrease in the overall state of mental health," he says. "Much of what I've observed is similar to what you would see in a post-traumatic stress disorder patient."
Because of this, Dr. Phillip strongly suggests that FMS patients seek some level of psychological support in addition to chiropractic treatment. This care can be found through support groups, assistance from friends and family or by seeing a trained specialist such as a psychologist, counselor or hypnotherapist.
"If you've been diagnosed with FMS or think you have many of the symptoms, see a chiropractor immediately," says Dr. Phillip. "A big part of our job is to help patients find natural, healthy ways of reducing stress or at the least, better manage it."