What is fibromyalgia?
Have you been told you have fibromyalgia? Then where told you are just sensitive to pain, no one knows why you hurt so bad, but they are happy to medicate your pain away? What if we told you we believe we know why you are in pain, so we can get to the root cause and help you find relief from you pain naturally!
First, lets share what the medical profession has to say about Fibromyalgia:
According to the CDC:
https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/... Fibromyalgia (fi·bro·my·al·gi·a) is a condition that causes pain all over the body (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, about 2% of the adult population. The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it can be effectively treated and managed.
What are the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are
- Pain and stiffness all over the body
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
- Headaches, including migraines
Other symptoms may include:
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome (also known as TMJ)
- Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS)
How can chiropractic help fibromyalgia?
How we explain fibromyalgia:
It is not medically known the cause of fibromyalgia, because fibromyalgia is not a disease, or caused by a disease. It is a syndrome, meaning it's just a word doctors use to describe a group of symptoms found in a group of people. It does not explain the cause. This is why many medical professionals believe fibromyalgia is from "over excited nerves" and patients being "hyper sensitive to pain". They do not understand fibromyalgia, because they are used to medicating disease, not people in a dis-eased state. As chiropractors, we touch a lot of people, and can feel the difference between patients in pain and not in pain. We can feel the cause of pain in patients who suffer from fibromyalgia.
How the body gets into such a painful state:
Fibromyalgia is a symptom of being in a dis-eased state.
Dis-ease is a state of being that results when a person is under prolonged stress, independent of whether it is a physical or mental stressor. Simply, it is a state of agitation and non-relaxation.
The human body evolved to handle physical stress: You either survive or you die. For example, if you get attacked by a tiger, your body automatically goes through steps to decide whether to fight or flee. Your adrenaline kicks in, activated by your fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system. Blood flows out of your internal organs and into your arms and legs. This rerouting of energy and blood gives you extra strength and endurance and decreases the amount of blood loss you would experience from your organs if you were to be wounded (because the blood has been diverted elsewhere). Your primitive brain controls all of this automatically; you don’t even think about it. Your only job is to act and survive.
The primitive brain cannot tell the difference between a mental and a physical stressor. Its reaction is the same: to prepare your body for fight or flight. But if your stressor is the result of your job or an argument with a loved one, the primitive brain’s fight-or-flight response is disproportional to the threat of the stressor. Your body is prepared to move, but instead you sit, tense. This is unhealthy over time because the lymphatic system (the body’s sewage system) needs movement to drain metabolic waste and stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine [the three major stress hormones]) out of your tissues. Toxins (like waste from cellular metabolism and chemicals from our foods) are stored in your tissues. If you are too toxic, the lymphatic tissue will be over run, and the toxins will not be able to drain this waste. This is unhealthy over time because it leads to the buildup of toxins in the body. These toxins include lactic acid, which literally burns the tissue, making it very tender to touch. Worse, nerves get irritated by the toxins, making them over sensitive. This can cause over stimulation to muscles, causing them to cramp, spasm and or tense. Can you see how this can make every part of your body hurt?
If the muscles stay tense, they not only further prevent lymphatic drainage, but also impair the blood flow to the very muscles being contracted. See image to the left.
These constantly contracting muscles produce metabolic waste (lactic acid) and need the oxygen-filled blood to contract, yet they are blocking the very flow of fluids that brings in their nutrients and drains their waste. This sitting tense and stressed out is unhealthy over time because it leads to the buildup of toxins in the body. This is one reason why this makes it difficult to break this pattern, and people continue to be tender to touch. Can you see how this can make the muscles in your body sore and tender to touch?
Prolonged stress leads to adrenal fatigue; if you need a boost of energy, your body just doesn’t have it to give to you. Worse, it is hard to work the muscles that have been exhausted from spasms.
Your digestive system suffers from the diminished blood supply (because the fight-or-flight response has diverted blood away from internal organs). Then your appetite changes as you become deficient in nutrients within the intestines. This leads to either fatigue (from malnutrition), body aches (from malnourishment), weight gain (from leaky gut) or excessive weight loss (from the inability to absorb nutrients), neither of which are healthy. Can you see how this can make every tissue in your body sore and tender to touch?
Your blood pressure also goes up as a result of oversupplying blood to your extremities for the anticipated fight or flight. Over time, your arteries harden from being under such high pressure in a low-nutrient environment.
Stress and chronic pain can lead to depression, which makes you even more vulnerable to feeling your pain.
Eventually, your body starts deteriorating, becoming more susceptible to sickness. Every day your body fights viruses, bacteria, and fungi as well as mutations in a few of your one hundred trillion cells. It starts to lose these battles when weakened by stress, thus becoming more susceptible to colds, flu, infections, cancer, and other grave diseases that can make your body ache.
Stress is the number-one cause of death: it’s just given names like heart attack, cancer, stroke, suicide, etc.
Again, fibromyalgia as a symptom of being in a dis-eased state.
This webpage and my books contain advice on how to break this vicious cycle of stress, which leads to a state of “dis-ease,” which in turn leads to pain, physical disease, and potentially, an early death.
BE AT EASE,
How to resolve fibromyalgia?
Before I reveal how to resolve fibromyalgia, I must impress upon you to verify with your health care provider (hopefully that is one of us here at Drummond Chiropractic), that it is appropriate for your specific condition.
Make sure you have been properly diagnosed with fibromyalgia and all other causes of body pain have been ruled out, including but not limited to, Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, thyroid disease, diabetes, anemia, or other causes of body pains.
This has been written as a resource to help guide you with alternatives that may have not been made available, so you can go to your healthcare provider armed with information.
a cause of fibromyalgia is a faulty “sewage system”
Having treated fibromyalgia for over 20 years, I have noticed that people with fibromyalgia tend to have more lymphatic buildup. They tend to have more swelling in the extremities, tender lymph nodes, and respond well to lymphatic drainage therapies.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a very important system of the body, but many do not even know what it is or that we have one. Most people know that we have a heart that pumps the blood, which delivers much needed oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body and carries the de-oxygenated blood to the lungs and our metabolic waste to the liver, kidneys and other detoxing organs, so we can clear out the waste of metabolism.
But did you know that when blood flows into capillary beds, fluid leaves the vessels to bring nutrients to the cells in the tissues, and not all of this fluid makes it back to the veins?
This extra fluid is called lymph.
This lymphatic fluid is full of cell waste. Lymph also carries the infection fighting white blood cells throughout the body.
The lymphatic system is a one-way system, moving lymph from the waste producing cells back to the thoracic duct near the collar bones, where this toxin filled fluid is dumped back into the blood.
Image above is showing the direction of the flow of the lymph.
Image below shows where the lymph dumps from the lymphatic vessels back into the blood of the sub clavicular vein (blue).
Once the lymph fluid is back in the blood, it goes to the heart where it is pumped to the lungs for oxygenation, then back to the heart where it is pumped out and split up to supply blood to every cell in the body.
Some of these branches take the blood to our organs, where it can be filled with nutrients (from our digestive system) cleaned by our liver (which removes most of the lactic acid), spleen and eventually the excess waste is peed out of our body when it flows through the filtering system of the kidneys.
The waste has a long way to go from the cells that produced the waste, back to the heart, through the lungs, back to the heart to finally make it to the liver (which clears out waste) and kidneys (where it can be peed out).
How does the lymph move through the lymph vessels
if there is no "heart" or some pump like the circulatory system has?
Remember, the waste from the feet have to make it all the way to the collar bone region. That is a long way, and usually has to work against gravity. The lymphatic system can pump the fluid against gravity without a heart because the lymph vessels have smooth muscle that contract to move the fluid along. There are one-way valves along the lymphatic vessels that prevent the lymph from back flowing from the effects of gravity. Plus, when the muscles surrounding the lymphatic vessels contract and relax, this action helps pump the lymphatic fluid along.
How can this system fail?
By sitting too much.
While you’re sitting, your hips are bent, and the hip flexor muscles are in a contracted and shortened state. This impairs the lymphatic and venous drainage out of your legs, increasing your risk of back up of not only the lymph but also the blood of the veins. This can lead to feet swelling and varicose veins.
Worse, you’re at greater risk of deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition where a blood clot forms in a vein, breaks off, travels through the circulatory system and gets stuck in the lungs, blocking blood supply to the lungs (a pulmonary embolism) which without medical treatment can be fatal.
At a minimum, prolonged sitting increases swelling of the legs, and over time, the swelling can become uncomfortable and even painful.
People of suffer from fibromyalgia often think they have plantar fasciitis, because they feel severe foot pain when they first stand up. Upon further questioning, I come to find out their pain improves with walking. This quickly tells me they don’t have plantar fasciitis, but likely are experiencing pain of swollen lower extremities.
When feet are swollen, it hurts to bear weight for the first time. As the person moves around, the swelling drains, and the pain lessens. It doesn’t take a noticeable amount of swelling to be painful. These patients are often relieved to find out they don’t need to buy expensive orthotics.
Feet can swell from standing on the feet for long periods of time on a regular basis, flying in airplanes, long commutes (sitting too long without moving), genetic weakness of the valves of the vessels (blood and lymph) allowing backflow of fluid, or damaged vessels.
Back flow puts even more pressure on the valves below, causing them to stretch. Like a balloon, once stretched, it’s easier to stretch again, making the valves less able to hold back further back flow.
To relieve their pain, they just need to do the Foot ABC’s for Lymphatic Drainage (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE on foot pain) and elevate their feet often.
This drains the lower extremities of the excess lymphatic fluid.
If you have fibromyalgia, try lymphatic drainage massage.
CLICK HERE to learn more.
Want to see what we can do for you?
Why wait? You don't have to be in pain!
Diet for fibromyalgia:
Remember people with fibromyalgia tend to have a weak lymphatic system. So if your body has difficulty removing toxins, avoid food that has preservatives, chemicals (food coloring, artificial flavoring) and other inflammatory ingredients like sugar.
If you have food allergies, avoid those foods.
Try to replace as much food with organic as possible. Click the button below to learn more about healthier eating for fibromyalgia.
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