Chiropractic care has been a controversial alternative treatment for many medical conditions especially pain related conditions like fibromyalgia. Nonetheless, the demand for chiropractic care continues to increase. Is chiropractic care really effective for fibromyalgia?
What is Chiropractic Care?
The philosophy of chiropractic care is based on the concept that the body can self heal. It is believed that pain and illness results from misalignments in the skeletal structure. In order to reduce pain, spinal adjustments are executed by the chiropractors. With the help of chiropractic treatment symptoms like neck pain, back ache, shoulder pain, headaches, musculoskeletal pain can be alleviated.
If you are a patient of fibromyalgia, chiropractic treatment may help with your symptoms though its effectiveness remains debatable due to conflicting results in various studies. In an early study done in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 21 fibromyalgia patients saw reduction in pain and improvement in flexibility of movement in the lumbar and the cervical areas of the body after 4 weeks of chiropractic treatment.
Spinal adjustments are often carried out by the professional chiropractors by hand. The mobility between the spinal vertebrae may be restricted, or out of position. In such instances, the chiropractors use of hand adjustments to correct your spine which involves:
- Particular high velocity thrusts
- Multiple gentle movements on one specific area
- Stretching or gentle pressure
The hand adjustments force the bones to regain their proper alignment and mobility hence eliminating pain and encourage quick healing.
How can a chiropractor determine the condition of FMS in a patient?
Unfortunately there is no single test that can identify whether an individual is suffering from fibromyalgia disorder. Diagnosis can take up to years because the symptoms of illness and body conditions might suppress the FMS. A professional chiropractor usually carried out a test involving 18 particular tender points, analyze the patient’s history and also carry out a physical examination in order to determine the FMS condition. In case, the patient experiences pain in 11 points out of 18, along with an acute pain throughout the body, it is an indication that the individual is a patient of fibromyalgia.
Chiropractic self-healing concept discourage use of medications
Often heavy doses of painkillers are prescribed for the fibromyalgia patients. But, the chiropractic treatments offer solution without the pills. It goes without saying that painkillers can have hazardous side effects, mainly having an impact on the central nervous system. The more number of painkillers you pop, the greater possibility of numbness and the body overreacting to a stimulus.
Is chiropractic effective for fibromyalgia?
Chiropractic treatment is a natural method to help with pain. It helps relieve unwanted pressure on the spinal nerves. A theory suggest that spinal alignment may help enable proper nerve pathways and hence normalize heighten response to stimuli which causes pain. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this theory. Separate studies done in 2009, 2015 have also found insufficient evidence that chiropractic treatment is effective in relieving pain in fibromyalgia.
Experts believe that fibromyalgia patients who saw reduction in pain belongs to a subset of fibromyalgia patients who also suffer from upper cervical spinal stenosis, a pain condition caused by abnormal upper spine structure, or fibromyalgia patients who has spinal and posture problems. For these fibromyalgia patients, chiropractic treatment is found to be effective in relieving pain, increasing mobility and hence improving health-related quality of life for these patients.
- Blunt KL, Rajwani MH, Guerriero RC. The effectiveness of chiropractic management of fibromyalgia patients: a pilot study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1997 Jul-Aug;20(6):389-99.
- Schneider M, Vernon H, Ko G, Lawson G, Perera J Chiropractic management of fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review of the literature. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009 Jan;32(1):25-40.
- Ernst E. Chiropractic treatment for fibromyalgia: a systematic review. Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Oct;28(10):1175-8
- Romy Lauche, Holger Cramer, Winfried Häuser, Gustav Dobos, Jost Langhorst. A Systematic Overview of Reviews for Complementary and Alternative Therapies in the Treatment of the Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 2015: 610615.