Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome marked by widespread muscular tenderness and pain. Those with FM commonly experience disturbances in sleep, mood, and cognition, as well as having neural symptoms also.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by 18 tender points (9 pairs) throughout the body. These tender points are located in the hips, neck, chest, elbow and knee.Fibromyalgia sufferers will have at least 11 tender points and will have had symptoms for >3 months.
It is accepted that the treatment of Fibromyalgia is multimodal. Generally, this encompasses relaxation, meditation, exercise, physiotherapy, acupuncture, nutrition, medication and laser therapy.
Resistance training is a great way to build up muscle strength, power, and endurance. Studies have shown that after 16-21 weeks of beginning a resistance training programme, the tenderness and pain levels in female Fibromyalgia sufferers reduced. The training helped to improve overall well-being, physical function, and muscle strength.
After 12 weeks of beginning a flexibility programme, overall muscle and joint pliability and flexibility improved. And, doing 20-30min walks @ approx. 60-70% max heart rate has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns.
Evidence suggests that acupuncture can provide short term benefits to Fibromyalgia patients, generally up to one month within treatment. The acupuncture needles are placed on the 9 pairs of Fibromyalgia tender points. Its effects have been further enhanced when combined with other modalities, like exercise or laser therapy.
Laser has many benefits for those with Fibromyalgia. It is a painless intervention for those with Fibromyalgia. Laser stimulates cell growth, increases cell metabolism, invokes an anti-inflammatory response, promotes oedema reduction, stimulates nerve function, reduces the production of substance P, and stimulates the production of endorphins. Laser is applied to the area of pain and/or the 9 pairs of tender points for 20-30seconds per point.
Laser helps to improve sleep, improve physical function, increase mobility, reduce pain, muscle spasm and fatigue.
Nutrition is vital in managing Fibromyalgia. Various studies have connected Fibromyalgia to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and a compromised gut function as a result. There are a variety of ways to help cleanse your gut and improve your digestive function. For example: ultrainflamx, omega 3 fish oils, probiotics, turmeric, and vitamin D3 are all very effective in creating a healthy gut. It is also beneficial to either cut out dairy or wheat, depending on which is more sensitive to your gut.
Meditation has been shown to improve mood and sleep patterns in individuals with altered sleep and mood swings. Try to find a quiet room, darkly lit, for 10-15mins twice daily to listen to some relaxing music. Focus on taking deep, slow breaths and try focussing on something that makes you happy. The HeadSpace App is very effective in instructing meditation too.
As you can see, Fibromyalgia must be approached using a variety of different interventions. In our clinic, we have expert medical professionals who have experience in dealing with Fibromyalgia. If you think you suffer with this condition, or know of anyone that does, book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!
To date, Fibromyalgia is still a misunderstood condition. There are many theories as to what causes it, what can trigger it, and what can help with the pain. But we don’t know for sure. As you can imagine, that can be very frustrating for someone who has been diagnosed with this condition, not knowing what to do about it. Lets learn a little more about this common condition.
1. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes wide spread muscular pain, it is more common in women than in men, and can run in families. Fibro= fibrous tissue, myo= muscle and algia= pain.
2. The newest theories on the causes of it are leaning towards a dysfunction in the nervous system. Something triggers the nervous system and the persons pain response is altered. Or how the brain is interpreting the pain is altered.
3. There are many other symptoms associated with this condition besides muscle pain, some of these include: fatigue, muscle weakness, poor concentration, brain fog, headaches, and anxiety, just to name a few.
4. There is no specific test for fibromyalgia. It cannot be detected in a blood test or scan. The best way to diagnose it is from the persons specific history. Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology state that the person must have : ” widespread pain lasting more than 3 months, and other general physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems.”
5. There is also no specific treatment for fibromyalgia. Common is for patients to be put on pain killers, or anti-inflammatories, and sometimes anti-depressants.
You may be feeling quite grim right now, because we don’t know what causes it, and it can be hard to treat. So what can we do?
Exercise – regular exercises seems to be one of the biggest things that helps to keep fibromyalgia manageable. Not only is this shown in the research about the condition, but in our experiences here in the clinic.
Chiropractic treatments – chiropractic care can help relieve muscle tension and pain that comes along with fibromyalgia.
Laser – our class 4 laser is also a great tool at helping ease the pain of those tender points associated with this condition.
Dry needling/acupuncture- another one that our fibromyalgia patients feel the benefits from.
Nutritional supplementation- more research needs to be done, but there is some evidence to support certain supplements and their role in helping this condition, including vitamin D, co-enzyme Q10, probiotics, and trace minerals magnesium and zinc.
So you can see, there are things that you can do to actively work on taking control of this condition. Our best advice, find a provider who will work with you, looking at the whole picture and incorporating some of the things above, and help you to stay consistent.
Have fibromyalgia? Book an appointment today and let us help you get on the road to managing this condition and getting back to your life!
Aimee had a great time last night at the Portlaoise Leisure center last night, May 12th, 2016, sharing their presentation “Sitting Is The New Smoking”.
For those of you who couldn’t attend, here is a little recap of the evening.
-Sitting is the new Smoking is a phrase coined by Dr. James Levine, an American endocrinologist. He says, ” Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
Diastasis Recti is a condition we see commonly in the clinic. Most often it’s associated with pregnancy and the post partum times, but did you know that it can affect anyone? While can be considered a cosmetic issue, it is a major warning sign that a more serious issue with the core is going on. Lets learn a little more about this common condition.
What is it?
We all have a line down the middle of our body, that separates the two halves of the outer layer of abdominal muscles. It runs from the breast bone to the pubic bone. Diastasis recti occurs when there is a separation or widening between the two sides of of the muscles. Everyone has a little bit of a gap, but it is considered more of a problem when it’s 2 fingers wide or more.
What causes it?
Diastasis recti is common in pregnancy due to two things:
1. The growing belly that pushes out against the abdominal musculature, thinning the connective tissue.
2. The maternal hormones that cause the connective tissues to become softer and more flexible can promote laxity in the structures.
It is something that naturally happens to a degree during pregnancy, and after the baby is born, should come back to normal if your core was in balance before pregnancy. It is worth noting that in many studies, women who were active before pregnancy and continued that exercise throughout their pregnancy tend to be less likely to suffer with diastasis recti. But this is not always the case.
Outside of pregnancy, it can be caused by overdoing it on the wrong abdominal exercises, such as traditional sit-ups or crunches and/or weak deep abdominal musculature. It is not just about weak muscles though. An imbalance in the muscles of the abdomen, and your overall posture can also contribute.
Why is it a problem?
When you have a diastasis that continues for months after pregnancy, it is a problem. It is a sign that your core musculature is not working properly. If you’re wondering why you need your core working properly, here are a couple reasons to consider:
Many who have diastasis recti also have or will have pelvic floor issues including urinary incontinence.
A weak core can lead to ongoing lower back, sacroiliac joint, and symphysis pubis pain
How can we help?
Diastasis can be helped by improving your function and removing any imbalances in the core musculature. Some of you may be thinking, I know other women who are very fit and still have diastasis, what about them?? The answer to that would be that just because someone exercises, does not mean that their core is actually functioning properly and that they know how to properly activate and brace their core during exercise, breathing, and normal day to day activities. They may be loading their core in a way that is contributing to more tension (in the wrong way) on that front part of the abdominal muscles.
It’s important to seek expert advice if you are struggling to get your core back after pregnancy. Look for a practitioner that will take a varied approach to getting you functioning better as a whole to help get your core back in balance! For more information check out this book from Katy Bowman.
Supplements are an important aspect for reaching optimal health and well-being as most of us are not intaking adequate nutrients on a daily basis. Our diets have changed over the years, we have gone from eating whole food sources to more foods that are pre-prepared and pre-packaged, which usually means less nutritional value. Supplementation is not meant to replace eating healthy, but meant to be an addition to healthy eating habits, to help us get all the nutrients we need. Here is our list of the most important you should be taking:
Probiotics– more research keeps coming out about how many different conditions are affected and prevented by having a healthy micro biome in our guts. Even if you haven’t been on antibiotics recently, but especially if you have, make sure to get good bacteria into your system. Outside of supplementation you can get bacteria through fermented foods and yogurts as well.
Vitamin D– this is a common deficiency to have, especially in places where daylight and sunshine is limited. It is not just for bone health, but can impact a number of systems in the body, contributing to: fatigue and achy muscle pains. Make sure to get it in D3 form with supplements.
Omega oils– you can get these from animal sources such as fish oil or krill oil, but they can also be obtained from plant sources such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds, and spirulina. They help with heart and brain function, and can also be beneficial in certain conditions such as ADHD and autism.
Magnesium– is used throughout the body in different systems. It can lead to symptoms such as: fatigue, muscle cramping, and numbness/tingling.
Zinc– we don’t store it in the body, so its important to get this one daily. It helps to ward off colds and keep your immune system strong among other things.
Everyone is different and their nutrient needs are also different, but this can be used as a guide to help you make sure you are including these important substances into your daily routine.
Other than the lower back pain, neck pain is one of the top complaints we have in the office. Neck pain is one of those things many people choose to live with, without taking action to help it. We want to give you a few things to check in your own life, that may be contributing to your neck pain, and small steps to help improve them. So what are some things that can impact the neck:
Poor Posture– siting hunched over a desk all day? Notice that your head keeps going further and further forward to read the screen? Every inch you go forward puts a lot of extra pressure on the neck. The same goes for looking down at a smart device or book for a prolonged period of time. Try to keep the neck in a neutral position when reading, typing, texting, etc. That means you have to bring the book or device up, while keeping the neck in a relaxed position.
Sleeping Position– are you a stomach sleeper? Hate to break it to you, but that is the worst sleeping position for the neck. Though sleeping on your back or side with the neck propped up higher than the rest of the spine with lots of pillows can be just as destructive. Ideally you want the neck to be even with the rest of the spine- not too far up, and not too far down. Try to get a partner or friend to look at your position while you are laying and help you figure out how you can adjust to be more straight.
Stress– tension headaches arise because of….tension. Tension can be formed from repetitive strain type injuries but also from stress. Manage your stress levels to help ease your neck pain. Things like meditation, yoga, exercise are some examples of things you can try. Find what works for you and keep at it.
Shoulder Tightness– many of the muscles in the neck also attach to the tops of the shoulders. Hold your stress or tightness in the tops of the shoulders? Its probably affecting your neck as well. Keep the shoulders loosened up to help with the neck tightness. Try some gentle stretching or foam rolling around the shoulder area and see how it affects your neck.
Trauma– car accidents, falls, and hits, can all cause damage to the neck. One of the common results we see in the neck from trauma, is a whiplash injury. Which is an injury in which the head gets whipped in one direction and then abruptly into another direction. Such as the case with car accidents and many sporting injuries. Disc herniations and other more serious injuries can also occur from trauma. With these types of injuries, it’s best to seek professional consultation before trying to do anything on your own.
If you are experiencing neck pain, go through the list above and see if you can figure out what may be causing the problem. You can try out things at home, such as avoiding the inciting posture or stress. If the problem persists, you may need a professional opinion. Contact us today to see if we can help with your neck pain!
Yours in Health,
The Lawlor Clinic
Chiropractic | Sports Injuries | Active Release Techniques (ART®)
Looking for a natural alternative to help reduce inflammation? Check out our list of a few of nature’s anti-inflammatory foods to try out.
Turmeric– a great way to flavor curries and different dishes and it contains curcumin which is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories.
Omega 3 oils– you can get these from animal sources like fish, but also from plant sources such as flax. Western diets tend to have much more omega 6, so its important to get enough 3 to keep the proper ratio.
Blueberries– and other dark berries have great anti-inflammatory properties as well as being full of beneficial antioxidants.
Pineapple– containing bromelain, a potent anti-infalmmatory, gives this delicious fruit a spot on our list today.
Green Tea– sipping on green tea throughout the day has been shown to help with inflammation.
If you are experiencing inflammation it is vital to get checked out by a medical professional to rule out serious illness first. But if you are looking to improve your diet, overall health, and keep down inflammation in your body, adding these is a good place to start!