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Does trauma cause fibromyalgia?

By Staff | Jul 23, 2015

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disorder consisting of chronic muscle aching, painful trigger points, headaches, sleep trouble, fatigue, brain fog and mood disturbances. While the exact cause is unknown, many fibromyalgia patients report a precipitating event – an incident of physical trauma directed at the head and neck.

In fact, medical researchers increasingly are naming head and neck trauma as a primary cause of fibromyalgia onset.

Researchers believe that head/neck trauma triggers changes in the brain, including abnormal production of stress hormones and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that signal pain and an increased sensitivity in the brain’s pain receptors. This disruption of brain function can lead to fibromyalgia symptoms.

Common sources of trauma include blows to the head, whiplash and/or concussion sustained as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls and through high-impact sports such as surfing, soccer, gymnastics and horseback riding. Any of the above may cause ligaments supporting the head and neck to be sprained (stretched), which forces the upper cervical (neck) vertebrae out of their normal biomechanical position. This upper cervical misalignment can impact brain function and lead to fibromyalgia symptoms.

A chiropractic technique that focuses upon the alignment of the upper cervical vertebrae, known as upper cervical care, provides a unique approach for fibromyalgia patients. Upper cervical chiropractic care utilizes two diagnostic tools – thermal imaging and digital X-rays – to accurately assess a trauma-induced cervical injury. After determining a diagnosis of cervical injury, each patient’s injured neck is corrected by administering a precise adjustment by hand on a specially-designed knee chest table. Many patients notice improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with just a few treatments.

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disorder that affects the quality of life of millions of people. The relationship between head/neck trauma, fibromyalgia onset and upper cervical treatment provides hope for these patients.

With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has been working with fibromyalgia patients for the past two years on Maui. For more information on upper cervical care and fibromyalgia, please contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.