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Fibromyalgia: What is it and how can it be treated?

October 4, 2017


“Pain all over, sometimes it hurts even to shake someone’s hand.  Fatigue that is overwhelming and impossible to shake.  You feel like you have a bad case of the flu that doesn’t go away.  You even suffer with difficulty concentrating and remembering.  It is hard to get a good night’s rest.  And don’t forget the irritable bowels.”


If the above description sounds familiar to you, then the phrase, “It’s all in your head.” likely also sounds familiar.  The symptoms above are associated with a condition called Fibromyalgia, literally translated it means “muscle fiber pain,” and no matter what you may have been told about how you feel, Fibromyalgia is real. Unfortunately, it is also used as a catch all for when doctors don’t know what the source of your trouble is; I have even heard it being classified as a form of arthritis, which it is not.


Fibromyalgia is a widely misunderstood, chronic condition that has some controversial diagnostic parameters and is often difficult to treat. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it affects an estimated 10 million people in the US and its symptoms can include headaches; depression; anxiety; dizziness; dry mouth, eyes, and skin; and sensitivity to sound, smell and lights.  Compounding fibromyalgia’s complex and lengthy list of signs and symptoms is variance in severity from person to person, time of day, and weather change.


Fibromyalgia predominantly affects women and begins in middle age, although it also affects men, teens, and older people.  Unfortunately, most approaches towards Fibromyalgia management just focus on trying to keep those symptoms at bay, never really doing anything to address the root cause.  Worse than that, the relief provided by allopathic approaches such as medications are often only short-lived and rife with side-effects. 


There are a lot of Fibromyalgia sufferers out there who are not only looking for answers and relief, but also for a route of treatment that addresses the cause of the issue (Usually multifactorial) and does so naturally. People with this diagnosis sometimes struggle to manage symptoms that leave them extremely fatigued, in chronic pain, dizzy, and depressed.


Fibromyalgia patients often seek out upper cervical chiropractic as part of their treatment plan.  Upper cervical chiropractic is a unique approach within the greater chiropractic profession that seeks to detect and correct atlas misalignments.  We focus on this area because when the atlas misaligns, it affects the normal function of the brainstem, which controls many of the critical functions of our body, including respiration, hormone balance, and pain processing.  The brainstem and spinal cord are responsible for transmitting signals to and from the brain.  Distorted signals can lead to abnormal pain processing, as is the case in people with fibromyalgia.  Upper cervical chiropractic has had proven success in helping people cope with fibromyalgia naturally.  In one study of a 31-year-old female with fibromyalgia, it took only 2 months of upper cervical chiropractic care to see a decrease in her symptoms.  Over the course of the entire 18-month long study, she received 5 atlas corrections and reported that she no longer required medications to manage her symptoms. 


In our office we utilize a form of upper cervical care called Atlas Orthogonal.  Atlas Orthogonal is a gentle procedure without the popping or cracking of traditional chiropractic care that sometimes alarms people suffering from the widespread pain from fibromyalgia. Precise measurements and extreme care is taken to correct misalignments of the upper neck. Restoring function in this area returns the body back to normal and relieving many of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.



1.      Ferri F. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor, 2012 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2012.

2.      Soriano W, Apatiga A. Resolution of Fibromyalgia & Polypharmacy Concomitant with Increased Cervical Curve & Improved Quality of Life Following Reduction of Upper Cervical Subluxation: A Case Study. J. Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research 2014; 2014(4): 61-67.

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HOPE Chiropractic

4685 Merle Hay Rd.

Suite 106

Des Moines, IA 50322

For Life-Threatening Emergencies Call 911
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