Fibromyalgia is a painful medical conditions that affects approximately 5 million people in the United States. This medical condition is much more common among women; with 80-90% of the cases being middle-aged women. It is a medical disorder that causes extreme fatigue as well as muscle pain. People who suffer from the condition have different points in their body called tender points, that hurt with pressure. Common points are in the shoulders, arms, legs, back, hips and neck.

About Fibromyalgia

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you most likely experience symptoms like insomnia, morning stiffness, painful menstrual periods, headaches, numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, and memory problems and issues with your thinking processes. You may also have other medical conditions causing chronic pain aside from the fibromyalgia, such as inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis or chronic fatigue syndrome.

There isn’t a known cause of fibromyalgia. It is linked to a variety of things, including repetitive injuries, illness, stress, traumatic events and some diseases. If you are a middle-aged women, you have the highest risk of getting fibromyalgia. It is more common in people with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, spinal arthritis and systemic lupus. If you have a family member with lupus, it increases you risk.

Treatments for Fibromyalgia

The reason chiropractic care is often recommended for fibromyalgia is because it is difficult to treat. Often times, the treatment method includes a variety of different things, such as seeing a rheumatologist, chiropractor, physical therapist, and being prescribed medications by your physician. Lifestyle changes like improving your sleep patterns, eating right, and exercising are also recommended.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is technically alternative treatment, but it is becoming used much more often for various illnesses and medical conditions. It is estimated that about 20 percent of adults have seen a chiropractor at least once in their life. These patients report they have experienced pain relief and their bodies function better. Chiropractors view your body as a connected system and tend to keep everything functioning normally, your muscles, ligaments, joints, bones and tendons all need to be cared for simultaneously. Everything should be kept balanced, otherwise you will experience pain. Chiropractors rely on manipulations, stretching and adjustments to accomplish this for any type of pain or discomfort, including for fibromyalgia patients.

Types of Chiropractors

There are two main types of chiropractors” straight chiropractors and mixers. The mixer is going to combine adjustment and manipulation techniques with additional holistic techniques, such as aromatherapy, massage and encouraging proper diet and exercise. On the other side, a straight chiropractor is only interested in manipulations, adjustments and certain stretches. Each of them is effective, but you might want to consider the pros and cons of each before choosing a good chiropractor for your fibromyalgia.

How Chiropractic Care Help Fibromyalgia Patients?

If you have fibromyalgia, you need to consider getting chiropractic care as a treatment option. Not only is it helpful for reducing pain, but it helps keep your body from loosing movement. Fibromyalgia is known to tighten your muscles, which can then lose their pliability and movement. Adjustments, stretches and manipulations can help you retain your body’s natural movements, even with this disease.

Since chiropractors believe that everything in the body connects, they typically start with making small adjustments to the neck and spine. With this, much of the chronic pain you experience from your fibromyalgia in other areas of your body, is reduced considerably. Other benefits of chiropractic care, like more body movement and less tightening, also helps you sleep better because you have regular body movement.

Keep in mind to fully benefit from chiropractic care, you will need regular adjustments, possible up to 3-4 times each month. Making weekly visits a priority is a good idea. This helps your muscles consistently remain relaxed, stretched out and mobile so you can keep moving them, reduce tightness and get plenty of sleep. It is also not uncommon to have to switch up the treatment plan with your chiropractor on occasion, in order to keep up with changes of the disease.


Aside from adjustments, manipulations are also commonly done for fibromyalgia patients. This is a technique that includes a swift thrust in the vertebrae of your spine, along with gentle pressure, turning and twisting. What happens is your vertebrae is manipulated and shifted back into place, which can relieve tightness all over your body and relieve some of the pressure you have been experiencing. Other benefits of manipulation include increased blood flow, increased production of endorphins and more pain tolerance.

With chiropractic care, you have the opportunity to get your pain reduced and have more motion in your body. But don’t ignore the advice of your physician; use these two treatment options simultaneously.

With the NFL continuing into the playoffs, many of us are sitting by watching the injury reports to see which of our favorite players may or may not be participating in this week’s games. Even what many consider a minor injury such as a spasm, sprain, or strain can keep a player from performing to the best of their abilities, or even being able to participate at all.  Sprains and strains are two of the most common types of soft tissue injuries.

To provide a better understanding of how these injuries can affect the body, let’s have a quick look at the body’s musculoskeletal system. The skeletal system is made up by the bones in your body, which form your skeleton.  The skeletal system provides for your body’s shape and also protects your vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain. The muscles that move your body are attached to the bone with tendons. The contraction of the muscle provides the ability for you to move your bones at the joints. The joints are held together with the connections of the muscles and ligaments. The ligaments are made up of a fibrous tissue which attaches a bone to another bone.

Spasms, sprains, and strains have very similar symptoms such as pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion, and they all involve soft tissue, but they are each a very different type of injury.

Spasm – A spasm is an involuntary contraction of muscle. This can occur suddenly, due to trauma, and can eventually lead to a chronic spasm, which will shorten the muscle over time. A muscle which has shortened overtime has decreased range of motion, and an increased risk for re-injury.

Sprain – A sprain happens when a ligament is stretched beyond its normal length, which causes a stretching, weakening, or possible tearing of the ligament.  Sprains can occur at any joint in the body, as they all have a ligamentous component, and  the most common joint sprained is the ankle.

Strain – A sprain is an overstretched ligament, where a strain is an overstretched muscle or tendon. This is most commonly referred to as a ‘pulled’ muscle or tendon.

Causes and Symptoms of Muscle Spasm’s Sprians and Strains

The symptoms for these three injuries are relatively similar, but have some distinctions:

Spasm- A muscle spasm can occur from an acute injury or prolonged contraction due to chronic muscle imbalance. What we see mostly in sports is a short painful muscle contraction due to overuse.  The symptoms of the muscle spasm may feel different depending on which muscle in the body is affected. For example, a spasm in the cervical musculature may be interpreted as a headache, and a spasm in the pectorals or chest muscle can be interpreted as a tightness or deep chest pain.  The most common symptoms of a skeletal muscle spasm are pain, tightness, and decreased range of motion, and many muscle spasms can be palpated (felt) through light touch. The musculature affected by the spasm will often feel like a lump or ball in the muscle, will often be tender to the touch, and may produce radiating pains, similar to what you experience with a trigger point.

Strain- A strain is generally caused by an acute injury to the muscle due to overuse or a trauma. The strains can vary from minor, which will not keep you out of much physical activity, to a tear, which can keep you out for usually around 6 weeks. Most common symptoms of a muscle strain are pain and swelling. You could also experience bruising to the area of injury, pain while resting, or pain while moving the injured muscle.

Sprain- A sprain is almost always caused from an acute injury. The most common sprain is a lateral ankle sprain, also referred to as rolling the ankle. Sprains can range from a minor stretch or inflammation of the ligament to a full blown tear. A complete tear through the ligament will cause major instability and will require surgery. The ankle sprains we most commonly see in football come from lineman rolling over on another player’s foot, or from a running back being tackled. The most common sprain in a quarterback or receiver is an AC joint sprain. This can happen while throwing, or falling to the ground – jarring the shoulder from a tackle.  Depending on the severity and location of the sprain, the treatment can last from two weeks to more than six. For more on the specifics of ankle, shoulder and knee sprains, check out our previous articles on ( The most common symptoms of a sprain are localized pain, decreased range of motion, inability to bear weight on injured joint, and instability of joint. If a sprain is not properly cared for, you run the risk of chronic sprains to that joint, along with future pain and lost motion due to the buildup of scar tissue.

Treatments of Muscle Spasm’s, Sprains and Strains

The treatments for all these injuries in the acute phase are very similar.  The key at the beginning of treatment is to reduce inflammation, which will increase range of motion and decrease pain. If you injure yourself in a sporting event or simply just at home working around the house, your first step should be to get ice on the area right away. The ice will help control pain and decrease swelling. The next step should be to see your doctor as soon as possible and get a proper diagnosis, which will determine your treatment plan. Once the appropriate diagnosis has been made, your doctor should give you recommendations as to when you can appropriately return to activity and how long treatment should last.

In addition to ice, another therapy we use at Mountain View Pain Center to reduce inflammation is to use an electric current called interferential. This electric current will push inflammation out of the joint and reduce pain. In addition to the electric currents we also use kinesio tape. Kinesio tape  can be worn for three days, including in the shower, so while you are in between treatments,  you have joint support, without reduction of range of motion- in which is often the case when normal athletic tape is used.

Once the inflammation and edema has been reduced, your doctor will usually begin rehabilitation or physical therapy for strengthening, and to reduce your chances for re-injury. In the case of a sprain vs. a spasm, the treatment should vary in the rehab stage.  A sprained area should not be stretched. Stretching will lengthen the already stretched and lengthened area, which just makes the injury worse. However, a spasm should be stretched, as the muscle is in constant contraction. Stretching will help lengthen the muscle and break the spasm. A strain and a sprain should have therapy exercises, which will strengthen the muscle and joint to resolve any muscle imbalance and prevent the reoccurrence of future injuries.

After the initial pain and inflammation phase it is important to continue with rehab or therapy to decrease the buildup of scar tissue in the affected muscles, ligaments, or joints. If the injury is left to heal on its own, then the body will lay down collagen or scar tissue to prevent from further injury. The problem with scar tissue is that it will reduce the range of motion of the muscle or joint, which can lead to further injury, or increase chances of early degeneration. At Mountain View Pain Center, we remove the scar tissue with muscle release techniques, as well as ultrasound.

A prompt examination will help your doctor provide the best care for your injury. How your doctor will reaches a diagnosis is heavily dependent on the history you provide, so make sure to explain how the injury occurred, in as much detail is possible, whether you feel it is pertinent or not.

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