A condition that is characterized by widespread, generalized pain “all over” the body that does not follow a pathway like the course of a nerve, muscle, or blood vessel is known as Fibromyalgia (FM). Usually FM is diagnosed after all other conditions have been eliminated. Other conditions are eliminated by using various testing approaches such as blood tests, x-ray, CT or MRI Scans, etc. Controversy exists between health care providers (HCP’s) when it comes to fibromyalgia. Some believe that FM either doesn’t exist or is over diagnosed while others feel most patients have some form or degree of FM. Because of this common split in beliefs, patients may be treated poorly by those non-believing HCP’s, which often alienates them from seeking other possibilities of care.
Fibromyalgia has been classified into 2 separate groups – primary and secondary FM. Primary FM is diagnosed when no known cause can be identified. Secondary FM is related to a specific cause such as a disease or condition. Conditions that have been reportedly associated with FM include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), TMJ (jaw disorders), chronic low back pain, and headaches.
So the question is if there are treatments worth looking into when confronting Fibromyalgia. If you decide to go to a medical doctor, you can expect various forms of drug therapy. Some of the possibilities include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and sleep aids. Drug therapy can cause grogginess, side effects and some habit forming/dependency problems. Pain killers or analgesics are not appropriate but often prescribed and narcotics can also be habit forming. Tylenol is perhaps the safest but is not very effective. Anti-inflammatory include aspirin, ibuprofen but watch for stomach irritation and blood thinning problems.
Other doctors that don’t rely on heavy medication usually recommend behavior modification for sleep improvement, exercise (walking, water exercises, strength training, yoga, tai chi), as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis, and dietary modification. Examples of dietary changes include avoiding foods with certain additives including MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartame where in one study; “complete resolution” of FM symptoms was reported.
Chiropractic is the PERFECT choice when looking for FM therapy other than chemicals and/or medications as many of these holistic approaches are utilized or can be coordinated through our office.
Dr. Paul Curcio