Learn how at Align body Clinic we are uniquely placed to help sufferers of fibromyalgia by;
- Manipulation of fascia
- Spinal manipulation and mobilisation
- Exercise prescription
- Improving sleep patterns
Fibromyalgia is a very common chronic pain condition that is present in up to 5% of the western world. Sufferers of fibromyalgia usually have pain in the upper and lower body (most commonly the shoulders, neck and low back) that has been present for over six months that persists even when the person is at rest. However the pain is not the only symptom, most sufferers also have reduced energy levels and poor sleeping patterns while some have migraines, irritable bowel syndrome or restless leg syndrome.
Even though the person suffers pain that feels like it is in the muscle when the muscle is examined by imaging or biopsy it appears normal, this means a sufferer of fibromyalgia may often be told “its all in your head” or “we can’t find anything wrong with you”.
Recent studies have found that there are several processes at work that may cause the pain generated by fibromyalgia. One important finding is that sufferers have an increased level of acetylcholine present where a nerve meets a muscle, acetylcholine will cause the muscle to contract and shorten which will eventually lead to pain. This has the effect of that nerve sending a constant barrage of pain signals to the spinal cord which in turn begins to be overly sensitized and magnifies pain levels .
Most of the nerves that sense pain in muscles are found in the fascia (link to fascia section) or fibrous tissue in the muscles, it has been found that sufferers of fibromyalgia have increased levels of damage and thickening to this tissue. This damage would also cause pain and further sensitize the spinal cord to produce more pain.
One further feature of fibromyalgia is reduced or interrupted deep sleep patterns, as we sleep we produce growth hormone that helps heal our tissues, if our deep sleep is reduced we produce less growth hormone that would heal the tissues damaged by the methods described above. This means that every time a sufferer exercises (causing micro damage to muscle fibres) or injures a muscle they are not able to heal leading to a vicious circle of pain and dysfunction.