Fibromyalgia and Its Effects on the Central Nervous System


Patients seeking a fibromyalgia chiropractor in Sarasota are often clueless about their condition. Additionally, only a few affected individuals understand how fibromyalgia affects the central nervous system and why it causes excessive pain. If you happen to experience the same issue, you might find it helpful to go through our discussion below. 

Explaining How the Central Nervous System (CNS) Works

Everything you do—from thinking about what you should order for dinner to controlling how fast your body reacts to pain and pressure signals—gets processed by the brain. You can think of it as your body’s central server or the leader of all your organs, tissues, and cells.

The brain works hand in hand with the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that extend to all the different parts of your body. Together, they function as the central nervous system and take in sensory signals, analyze these pieces of information, and send out instructions on how you should respond.

What Happens to the CNS When You Have Fibromyalgia?

While fibromyalgia remains the second most common form of rheumatoid disorder in the country, it remains a largely misunderstood condition. However, in recent years, researchers have made significant progress in retracing the possible root causes of fibromyalgia. Here’s a quick overview of the findings:

Fibromyalgia appears to result from central sensitization

Can you imagine what might happen to the brain when constantly bombarded with pain stimuli? Naturally, the brain tissue becomes overstimulated, causing it to respond to pain and similar stimuli differently. Over time, it can lead to central sensitization. In this state, the central nervous system becomes too sensitive to stimuli causing you to experience extreme pain even when you only got tapped on your back.

Neuropathic pain barely improves after opioid or narcotic analgesic dosage

Most patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia show minimal improvements after taking narcotic analgesic or opioid dosage. This may be because the pain is neuropathic. Such medications don’t block neurotransmitters that trigger the painful symptoms of affected individuals.

Hence, doctors recommend using other medications like tricyclics, gabapentinoids, and serotonin inhibitors. Some patients also prefer a non-pharmaceutical approach, so they explore options like cognitive behavioral therapy and Upper Cervical Chiropractic.

Fibromyalgia is a complex neurological issue

Because fibromyalgia affects the normal physiological function of the brain, it can cause a long list of crippling symptoms such as the following:

  • Unexplainable fatigue
  • Widespread body pain and tenderness
  • Impaired cognition
  • Restless sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Chronic headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Hyperalgesia (heightened pain sensitivity)
  • Allodynia (hypersensitivity to touch or pressure)

If you have these symptoms, we strongly suggest consulting with your physician. This way, you can be confident that they stem from fibromyalgia and not other underlying causes.

Stress can trigger fibromyalgia

Because fibromyalgia predominantly affects the central nervous system, its symptoms primarily manifest or worsen after exposure to stress. That’s because stress, whatever form or intensity, can set off chemical changes that affect physiological functions like blood sugar regulation, heart rate, and blood pressure. Below is a few examples of stressors that patients must avoid or manage at all costs:

  • Emotional stress – the death of a loved one, divorce, emotional abuse
  • Mental stress – lack of work-life balance, financial challenges, school-related issues
  • Physical stress – neck or head injuries (whiplash, traumatic brain injury, etc.), overexertion during workout sessions
  • Medical stress – surgical operation, pre-existing diseases or disorders, allergic reactions

Actionable Steps for Patients Who Experience Frequent Flare-ups

Most cases of fibromyalgia cause discomfort for several years. But, countless patients note that they only experience fibromyalgia flare-ups if they get exposed to their triggers. Hence, you might find it helpful to make simple lifestyle adjustments such as:

  • Eating nutrient-rich food
  • Avoiding dehydration at all costs
  • Keeping an active lifestyle
  • Including strengthening exercises in your workout routine
  • Finding better ways to cope with stress
  • Managing sleeping problems
  • Consulting with a fibromyalgia chiropractor in Sarasota
  • Minimizing caffeine intake, especially before bedtime
  • Avoiding physical and mental overexertion
  • Finding time to unplug from work or social media
  • Connecting with loved ones
  • Finding a solid support system (fellow patients, healthcare professionals, support groups)
  • Scheduling a massage with a certified therapist
  • Doing mindfulness exercises and yoga breathing

Experiencing Relief With The Help of a Fibromyalgia Chiropractor In Sarasota

Because of the strong connections between central nervous system problems and fibromyalgia, some patients find significant relief after seeking a fibromyalgia chiropractor in Sarasota. Notably, a session with an Upper Cervical doctor can help patients detect neck bone misalignments affecting signal transmission between their central nervous system organs.

Because of the unique structure of the topmost neck bones, they can slip away from their neutral alignment and impinge on the brainstem—which researchers refer to as the information superhighway of the CNS. Naturally, if you can remove the pressure on the brainstem tissue, you can help the CNS function smoothly again. You can also help your body recover from the rapid firing of pain and pressure signals.

Navigating fibromyalgia challenges can be an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through things alone. Dr. Rusty Lavender, our fibromyalgia chiropractor in Sarasota, is committed to helping patients like you lead a pain-free life with careful and well-calculated atlas bone adjustments.

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