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Alternative Medicine For Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia Sufferers Get Relief With Chiropractic

Alternative Medicine For Fibromyalgia By Dr Michael Cohen on August 22, 2011

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that has no cure. This debilitating disease affects about 270, 000 Australians. The symptoms include:

Widespread muscle pain (above and below the waist and on both sides of the body)

Muscle spasms and cramps

Numbness or tingling in extremities

Sleep disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Dizziness or light-headedness

Painful menstruation

Jaw pain

Anxiety

Weakness

Fatigue

Cognitive or memory impairment

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Some research indicates that the body becomes more sensitive to stress, altering the way that it signals pain in those people. Some people appear to be at higher risk, including those with rheumatoid arthritis, a virus or infection, or emotional stress or depression. Trauma or injury can lead to the onset of fibromyalgia. An Israeli study of 161 causes of traumatic injury showed that adults who suffered a neck injury were 13 times more likely to develop fibromyalgia within one year of their injury than those who experienced fractures of the lower extremities.

Women are nine times more often afflicted with fibromyalgia than men, and the condition appears most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50. Fibromyalgia often coincides with other syndromes, such as chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, jaw dysfunction, and chronic headache.

In addition to the lack of clarity regarding the cause of fibromyalgia, the diagnosis is difficult. The condition does not create inflamed muscles, so x-rays will show no abnormalities. Blood tests are equally useless. Detection is usually made first by ruling out other possibilities, like anemia, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, mononucleosis, or various other conditions with comparable symptoms - which can be a long and painful journey for the patient.

Many sufferers treat the pain with medication, like NSAIDs and analgesics. Low-dose antidepressants can reduce pain and depressive symptoms. Corticosteroids and local anaesthetics are also used as trigger point injections. However, an increasing number of fibromyalgia patients have discovered that chiropractic care presents a drug-free alternative to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.

Because fibromyalgia seems to impair the manner in which the brain receives pain signals, chiropractic is a logical alternative. Chiropractic medicine treats spinal misalignments (subluxations) with connective tissue manipulation to improve the functions of the spine as well as the muscles and nerves that emanate from this area. Subluxations can put added pressure on those nerves that communicate pain signals to the brain. A chiropractor can make adjustments to realign the vertebra and restore skeletal balance. Although the treatment does not provide a cure, chiropractic care can deliver valuable benefits:

Alleviate the pain

Increase range of motion in joints

Enhance blood flow that had been restricted

Promote muscle healing

Improve sleep

Stimulate production of endorphin's, the body's natural painkiller

In addition to the symptoms associated with the disease itself, many fibromyalgia patients develop cervical spinal stenosis, a degenerative condition where the meninges (coverings of the upper spine) constrict, pressing on the spinal cord. The result is extreme pain throughout the body. Chiropractic adjustment can realign the head and neck, relieving the compression.

When lifestyle changes are incorporated with chiropractic care, fibromyalgia patients can better manage their symptoms. A program of gradual aerobic activity, like walking and swimming, combined with stretching and strength training, reduces fatigue and prevents muscle loss.

Nutrition also plays an important role in reducing the symptoms. A diet that is high in fiber and low in animal fat is advantageous for most people but particularly healthful for fibromyalgia patients. And, since stress is a trigger for a variety of symptoms, patients should be encouraged to incorporate stress reduction methods into their daily schedules. Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, massage therapy, and such meditative exercises as yoga and tai chi will reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase the feeling of wellbeing.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia but patients no longer need to live with the excruciating pain that drastically reduces their quality of life. With chiropractic care and simple lifestyle changes, they can regain control of their bodies without medication.

Mike Schlamp earned his Chiropractic Masters Degree in Sydney at Macquarie University. He now teaches anatomy at both Macquarie University and the Macquarie University Hospital, as well as being on the staff of Chirosports in Coogee. Mike currently plays national level ice hockey in Australia after many years of top level competition back in Canada. Having experienced elite sport at this level he has acquired first hand a unique appreciation for the benefits of just how well a finely tuned body can perform with the benefit of chiropractic adjustments and a knowledgeable health professional.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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