The Mystery of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia has long been considered a mysterious disorder, confused with other disorders, and many people suffering from Fibromyalgia face a constant stream of disbelievers who think psychosomatic, all in their head.

Fibromyalgia is in fact, in the head but not imagined; it’s a problem in the brain.  It’s a very real disorder that occurs in the midbrain where things like pain are regulated.  Pain is amplified and nerves that send pain signals don’t shut off, resulting in pain that won’t go away.  Fibromyalgia has musculoskeletal pain that covers a widespread area of the body. It surfaces in problems sleeping, memory problems, fatigue, and moodiness.  

chronic pain from Fibromyalgia occurs in the joint and soft tissues.  Often Fibromyalgia is triggered by a traumatic event like an auto accident but often there is no discernable trigger which contributes to its mystery and misunderstanding.  Fibromyalgia has long had the stigma of being a made-up disorder because of the difficulty in diagnosing it and the fact that we really don’t know its cause.


Symptoms of Fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread, chronic pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensation
  • Chronic headaches
  • Menstrual cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritable bowels
  • Cognitive or memory impairment


Often people who have Fibromyalgia develop depression or anxiety.

There is no cure for Fibromyalgia, but there can be relief.  There are medications that can that can help but typical treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach involving medication, mild exercise, cognitive therapies, and chiropractic care.

The severity of Fibromyalgia varies greatly.  Fibromyalgia has been around for centuries but was originally diagnosed as a rheumatic disorder but in 1976, it was officially classified as Fibromyalgia.  In 1990, guidelines for diagnosing it were established and 2007 brought the first medication approved for the treatment of the disorder.

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia involves ruling out other conditions like Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Pain is typically symmetrical, occurring in the same place on both sides of the body, and the patient often has many points all over the body that are tender to the touch.

There are ways to help relieve your symptoms without the use of medication or in conjunction with it:

  • Get lots of sleep.  Because sleep can be difficult for people with Fibromyalgia, it’s important to eliminate other things that can contribute to interrupted sleep like caffeine, exercise and screen time right before bed.  Herbal teas without caffeine that include chamomile, Valerian, Lemon Balm, and passionflower can promote relaxation at bedtime.
  • Get regular exercise.  The pain is usually exacerbated by exercise, which is why people with severe Fibromyalgia tend to limit any type of exercise and other activities.  The less exercise they get, the unhealthier they get, and the more severe their Fibromyalgia symptoms become. Start out with gentle exercises and gradually increase the intensity.    
  • Reduce stress.  Stress can worsen Fibromyalgia symptoms.  Eliminate sources of stress if you can and consider stress-reducing activities such as massage and meditation.
  • Try Massage therapy.  Massage therapy can reduce stiffness and pain and can be a great mood elevator as well.
  • Try Acupuncture.  Acupuncture may help to reduce pain and it can be used with other treatments without interfering with them.  
  • See your chiropractor.  Chiropractic massage can provide considerable relief from Fibromyalgia symptoms.  By manipulating the soft tissues and causing relaxation and a lowered heart rate, stress and anxiety are reduced and the body can produce its natural painkillers.  Fibromyalgia can affect mobility, especially in the spine. Gentle chiropractic manipulation can help relieve chronic pain and help patients regain a better range of motion.

For people with Fibromyalgia, everyday life can be a struggle but it doesn’t have to be that way.  At North County Pain Relief, we can help you understand Fibromyalgia and help you manage your chronic pain and give you a better range of motion.  Call our Saint Louis, Missouri office at (314) 731-4201 to find out more about how we can help manage your Fibromyalgia.