Fibromyalgia Syndrome – (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)What is FMS according to medical science? FMS is a chronic (i.e. long standing) condition. The patient has muscular pain and tenderness throughout the body and frequently other symptoms like sleep disturbances, fatigue, hearing disturbances, muscle twitches, cold extremities, headaches & migraines, TMJ syndrome and blurred vision. For a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be concluded, although fibromyalgia can be over diagnosed , the patient must exhibit tenderness in a minimum of 11 of 18 pre-defined points on the body (see figures). Have a good look at the location of these points, as I think that along with other evidence they provide a pointer to a possible cause of FMS.
Although the exact cause of FMS has apparently not been discovered and there are various research theories including poor nutrition, stress factors, alterations in the pattern of sleep and changes in neuroendocrine transmitters (serotonin, substance P, growth hormone and cortisol) a common theme which appears to emerge throughout the research is that of poor posture, cervical spine dysfunction and degeneration in the spinal joints.
Hiemeyer et al for example, examined 40 patients with FMS and noted the relationship between posture and tender points. They discuss disappearance of tenderness at a number of the tender point sites following correction of posture and conclude; “flexed posture could be an important factor in generalized muscular pain, and posture therefore should be an essential part of the clinical examination of patients with FMS.”
Muller et al state “In fibromyalgia as well as in low back pain we frequently find disturbances of the posture of vertebral column clinically and radiologically.” Further Buskila et al examined two groups of patients, a control group (59) consisting of patients with leg fractures and a study group (102) with a neck injuries. “FMS was diagnosed in 21.6% of people with neck injuries versus 1.7% of those in the control group” and further “FMS was 13 times more frequent following a neck injury than following a lower extremity injury” and “almost all symptoms were more common and severe in the group with the neck injury”.
Schnur conducted a review of the record of 61 patients with primary fibromaylgia syndrome (PFS) and found “in over 50% of examined patients diagnostic details referred to chronic lumbar and cervical spine syndromes” and chronic lumbar and cervical spine syndromes pre-dispose the person to development of PFS.
A study by Ambrogio et al is interesting if only for the finding that “from a patient’s perspective, neck support is an important part of a comprehensive physiotherapy program.” Thus FMS patients, in a small study, indicate that to have some support for their necks was important to them. This is another pointer, I assert, to the cervical spine being heavily involved in the origin of FMS. In fact, I believe, like others before me, that it is highly likely that a subluxation at the level of the atlas is the causal factor in the generation of FMS, and patients should be checked by professional precision upper cervical chiropractors. Such subluxations not only initiate pain in the neck, head, and shoulders, but also have been shown to directly cause postural distortions.
A study by Larsson R, Oberg PA, Larsson SE is interesting because the authors propose “chronic neck pain may increase the transmitter activity of neuropeptides in the upper cervical medulla causing impairment of blood flow in the local muscle” and conclude “an impaired regulation of the microcirculation in the local muscle is of central importance in chronic trapezius myalgia, causing nioceptive pain.” This study, these two studies, and many other studies by Larsson et al, show patients with neck and shoulder pain as having reduced blood flow through these painful muscles, further exacerbating the pain. I assert that if your “head is not on straight”, your cervical and shoulder muscles fight to maintain your head erect. These spasms I believe cause the neck, back and shoulder pain associated with FMS. Further atrophy (wasting) of these muscles due most probably to reduced blood flow just compounds the painful problem.