Fibromyalgia is known for widespread pain throughout the body, poor sleep, and fatigue. It affects the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, and tendons). You may be more susceptible to fibromyalgia if you don’t get enough rest, have too much stress in your life, or have been injured. Certain areas of your body may be tender to touch. It has been seen to be helpful to improve your sleep quality, apply heat, get regular massages, and do regular exercise.
Fibromyalgia used to be called fibrositis or fibromyositis syndrome. However, these were not fitting because inflammation (indicated by the suffix itis) is not present in this condition. It is 7 times more common among women, and it is seen in young or middle-age women most often. Men, children, and adolescents also are diagnosed.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Those with fibromyalgia have an increased sensitivity to pain. The areas of the brain that process pain react to painful sensations more intensely than necessary. The exact cause is unknown, but it does seem as though the following conditions contribute to the disorder.
- Poor sleep habits
- Repetitive strains
- Repeated exposure to dampness and cold
- Mental stress
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus
- Lyme disease
- Undergoing a traumatic event
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Symptoms can vary, but here is a list of some of the most common:
- General achiness, stiffness, and pain
- Soft tissue pain in the neck, upper shoulders, chest, rib cage, lower back, thighs, arms, and joints
- Symptoms may happen periodically as a flare-up or all the time (chronically)
- Pain may be intense
- Pain worsens with fatigue, overuse, or straining
- Tender spots when firm fingertip pressure is applied
- Muscle spasms or tightness
- Anxiety and depression
- Migraines or tension headaches
- Interstitial cystitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Abdominal discomfort
Adolescents and Fibromyalgia
When it comes to children and teens having fibromyalgia, as with adults, it most often affects girls. Most girls are diagnosed between the ages of 13 and 15. It can be difficult to spot in children. One of the main things to look for is sore spots in the muscles. These spots will hurt when light pressure is exerted on them. There are 18 different areas that, if tender, indicate fibromyalgia. Kids with fibromyalgia will have at least 5. To be diagnosed, they also will have had to been experiencing pain for at least 3 months.
Children with fibromyalgia have described the pain as stiffness, tightness, burning, aching, or tenderness. Here are other symptoms to watch for in children:
- Stomach aches
- Difficulty sleeping and waking up tired
- Restless legs while sleeping
- Problems remembering things
- Anxiety and depression
Fibromyalgia is very hard on adolescents. It can cause them to miss out on school days (kids with fibromyalgia miss an average of 3 days per month). Fibromyalgia can cause them to be socially isolated because they may have trouble making friends and feel unpopular because of the condition.
Parents want the best for the children. So, where can they find appropriate help?
Medication Is Not the Answer for Fibromyalgia
The popular medication, Lyrica, was tested on adolescent fibromyalgia patients. Lyrica is approved in the US and in Europe for adults suffering from fibromyalgia. However, nothing has been approved for adolescents thus far. The clinical trials for Lyrica included children ages 12 to 17 from the US, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, and India.
The first trial was to observe 80 youngsters during a 15-week period. Some were given Lyrica and some were given a placebo. They were followed up 6 months later. In the second study, all participants got Lyrica. The main goal of the study was to track how much pain was relieved at the end of the 15 weeks. The study revealed that there was an overall improvement at this point. Some improvement was noted in sleep quality but the difference was not significant. Adverse side effects were common with 71 percent reporting them. However, only 2 stopped taking the drug because of them. Most commonly, they noted dizziness, fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, and headaches. These were similar results to the adults who were taking the same drug. Researchers are planning to work further on developing this drug.
These results are not encouraging for parents or children coping with fibromyalgia. It is causing many parents to search desperately for an answer for their children that will not cause them any further pain. One solution to this may be to bring your child to visit us here at Atlas Family Health Center in Columbus, Ohio.
How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Helps Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is considered to be due to a problem with the pain processing area of the brain and nervous system. Therefore, to care for this condition, we will want to look at what is affecting that area of the body. Interestingly, a misalignment in the bones of the neck has been linked to fibromyalgia. If the C1, or atlas bone, becomes misaligned, rather than protecting the brainstem, it can cause it to be under stress. This can lead to improper signals being sent to the brain about how much pain the body is experiencing. If this happens, fibromyalgia can be the end result.
We will examine your child’s neck to find these tiny misalignments. It only takes the atlas bone being out of alignment by one-quarter of a millimeter for major issues to occur in the body. Once we have located the problem, we can work to correct it. You can rest assured, however, that we are not going to add further pain to your child as the method we use does not require us to pop or crack the spine to get results. The most pain he or she will experience will be possible muscle soreness the next day. Why not give this gentle form of chiropractic a try to help your kid enjoy being a kid once again?