Chiropractic Care For Fibromyalgia

June 17, 2023

Fibromyalgia is a common pain condition that affects approximately 1 in 50 people in the United States. It is a complex disorder characterized by widespread pain throughout the body, increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, poor sleep, and a range of other symptoms. Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be challenging due to the absence of specific tests, and finding effective treatments can also be difficult. While pain medication and antidepressants are often used to help patients cope with their pain, chiropractic care offers an alternative approach to managing fibromyalgia symptoms without the use of medications.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are diverse and can impact various aspects of a person's life. Some of the common symptoms include:

  1. Widespread pain: Individuals with fibromyalgia experience aching, burning, or sharp/stabbing pain throughout their bodies.
  2. Increased sensitivity to pain: Even a light touch can cause significant pain in individuals with fibromyalgia.
  3. Fatigue: People with fibromyalgia often feel tired and lack energy, even after sufficient rest.
  4. Muscle stiffness: Prolonged immobility or being in one position for a long time can worsen muscle stiffness.
  5. Poor sleep: Fibromyalgia can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to restless nights and feeling unrefreshed upon waking.
  6. Headaches: Recurrent headaches, including tension headaches and migraines, are common among fibromyalgia sufferers.
  7. Fibro-fog: Many individuals experience difficulties with cognitive functions such as thinking, remembering, and learning.
  8. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Digestive issues like abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits can accompany fibromyalgia.
  9. Dizziness and clumsiness: Fibromyalgia may cause problems with balance, coordination, and a sense of spatial awareness.
  10. Temperature dysregulation: Patients may have difficulty regulating their body temperature, experiencing sensations of being too hot or too cold.
  11. Restless leg syndrome: Uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them can disrupt sleep.
  12. Anxiety and depression: While not directly caused by fibromyalgia, living with this condition can lead to emotional distress.

Understanding the Causes of Fibromyalgia

The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, but several theories have been proposed. Research suggests that imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine, may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. These neurotransmitters play crucial roles in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and pain processing. Additionally, there is evidence pointing to abnormalities in the central nervous system's processing of pain messages, affecting their transmission throughout the body.

While there is a genetic component to fibromyalgia, it can also be triggered by various life events, including:

  1. Injury: Physical trauma or repetitive injuries may trigger the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms.
  2. Infection: Certain infections have been associated with the development of fibromyalgia.
  3. Childbirth: Some women experience the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms after giving birth.
  4. Relationship breakdown: Emotional stress resulting from relationship problems can be a trigger.
  5. Bereavement: The loss of a loved one can lead to heightened stress levels and the manifestation of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Fibromyalgia predominantly affects women, with a ratio of approximately 7 to 1 compared to men. The condition tends to develop between the ages of 30 and 50, although it can occur at any age.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help with Fibromyalgia

While fibromyalgia cannot be cured, proper treatment can significantly improve the management of symptoms and provide relief. Chiropractic care offers a range of treatments that target the various symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. These include:

  1. Spinal manipulation: Chiropractors perform gentle adjustments to the spine to alleviate pain and improve mobility. These manipulations can help reduce pain intensity and enhance the body's ability to cope with fibromyalgia symptoms.
  2. Soft tissue therapy: Chiropractors use techniques such as massage and myofascial release to relieve muscle tension and reduce pain.
  3. Passive stretching: Gentle stretching exercises performed by a chiropractor can enhance flexibility, reduce stiffness, and improve range of motion.
  4. Connective tissue manipulation: Chiropractic techniques like Graston or Active Release Technique focus on treating the fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs. By addressing abnormalities in the fascia, chiropractors can help alleviate pain and improve overall function.
  5. Ischemic compression: This technique involves applying pressure to specific trigger points to release tension and reduce pain in affected areas.
  6. Lifestyle advice: Chiropractors provide guidance on adopting healthy habits and making lifestyle modifications that can positively impact fibromyalgia symptoms. This may include recommendations for nutrition, stress management, and ergonomics.
  7. Exercise program: Chiropractors develop customized exercise programs tailored to individual needs. These programs may include resistance training and strength-building exercises to improve muscle function and alleviate pain.
  8. Sleep advice: Chiropractors offer guidance on optimizing sleep hygiene, including suggestions for creating a sleep-friendly environment, establishing a regular sleep routine, and implementing relaxation techniques to promote better sleep quality.

By combining these different approaches, chiropractic care aims to provide comprehensive relief for fibromyalgia patients. Treatment focuses on reducing pain intensity, improving sleep quality, lowering levels of disability, and enhancing overall well-being.


Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that affects a significant number of people, with no known cure. While traditional medical approaches often rely on pain medications and antidepressants, chiropractic care offers an alternative and holistic approach to managing fibromyalgia symptoms. By utilizing various techniques such as spinal manipulation, soft tissue therapy, stretching, and lifestyle advice, chiropractors can help patients improve their quality of life, regain mobility, and alleviate pain without the use of medications.

Chiropractic care should be considered as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for fibromyalgia, working in conjunction with other healthcare professionals to provide optimal care and support for patients.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can chiropractic care cure fibromyalgia?Chiropractic care cannot cure fibromyalgia, but it can significantly help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients.
  2. Is chiropractic care safe for fibromyalgia patients?Yes, chiropractic care is generally safe for fibromyalgia patients. However, it's important to consult with a qualified chiropractor and inform them about your specific condition and any underlying health concerns.
  3. How long does it take to see results with chiropractic treatment?The timeline for seeing results may vary depending on individual circumstances. Some patients experience immediate relief after a few sessions, while others may require more time to respond to treatment.
  4. Are chiropractic treatments covered by insurance for fibromyalgia?Insurance coverage for chiropractic care varies. It is advisable to check with your insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage for fibromyalgia treatments.
  5. Can chiropractic care be used alongside other treatments?Yes, chiropractic care can be used alongside other treatments for fibromyalgia. It is important to communicate and coordinate with your healthcare providers to ensure a comprehensive and integrated approach to your care.
  6. Are there any side effects of chiropractic care for fibromyalgia?Chiropractic care is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, some patients may experience mild soreness or discomfort after treatment. It is important to communicate any concerns or unusual reactions to your chiropractor.
  7. How many chiropractic sessions are typically needed for fibromyalgia?The number of chiropractic sessions needed for fibromyalgia can vary depending on the individual and the severity of symptoms. A chiropractor will assess your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan that may involve regular sessions over a period of time.
  8. Can chiropractic care help with fibro-fog and cognitive difficulties?While chiropractic care primarily focuses on physical symptoms, some patients have reported improvements in cognitive function and mental clarity after receiving chiropractic treatment for fibromyalgia.
  9. Can chiropractic care worsen fibromyalgia symptoms?Chiropractic care is typically gentle and non-invasive. However, individual responses may vary. It is important to communicate openly with your chiropractor about your symptoms and any changes you experience during treatment.
  10. How do I find a qualified chiropractor for fibromyalgia?When seeking a chiropractor for fibromyalgia, it is essential to find a licensed and experienced professional. You can ask for referrals from your primary care physician, seek recommendations from other fibromyalgia patients, or conduct research online to find reputable chiropractors specializing in treating fibromyalgia.

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