Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue,
sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers now believe that fibromyalgia magnifies painful sensations
by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals although several decades ago, fibromyalgia was
not seen as a true physical condition. Symptoms may start after physical trauma, surgery, infection or
psychological stress or the symptoms may develop over time and have no major event that triggered
them. Next to osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition affecting
almost 12 million Americans. Fibromyalgia appears to affect 10 times more women than men, and
generally occurs in adults aged 25 to 60.
While science now understands fibromyalgia as an illness, fibromyalgia is still misdiagnosed and
misunderstood regularly. The pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia can lead to both depression
and social isolation for the fibromyalgia patient.
A wide range of symptoms are often associated with fibromyalgia. These include:
Chronic muscle pain
Stiffness if in one position for too long
Brain fog/difficulty concentrating
Abdominal pain, bloating, and/or nausea
Irritable bowel syndrome
Jaw and facial tenderness
Sensitivity to light, odors and noise
Sensitivity to medications
Sensitivity to foods
Sensitivity to the cold
Numbness/tingling of hands/feet/legs/arms or face
Because the pain of fibromyalgia is often throughout the entire body and has no particularly effective
way to be medicated, this condition can be very frustrating for many people.
Doctors often have a hard time defining fibromyalgia and it is often misinterpreted as depression,
inflammatory arthritis, chronic myofascial pain, chronic fatigue syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome.
While the patient may present with symptoms of all these conditions, there doctor has to be astute
enough to put the various symptoms together to identify that the patient has fibromyalgia. This is
usually confirmed when standard tests reveal little to treat.
For this reason, fibromyalgia is often considered a disease of exclusion.
What this means, is either there is nothing found on standard testing to treat or that treatment for
other diagnoses doesn’t show effectiveness. Literally this patient has to fall through the cracks on
testing and treatment to get diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There is a newer lab test now available
called the FM/a test although it is expensive and not generally covered by insurance, making it cost
prohibitive for many patients.
Before considering these symptoms to be fibromyalgia syndrome, there are some specific, insurance
covered tests that can be performed to establish if malabsorption of B vitamins, Epstein Barr virus,
Lyme’s disease, or endocrine issues may be causing the symptoms. Autoimmune markers such as the
ANA test can also be performed.
A lot of people with fibromyalgia have sensitivities to particular foods, but the food sensitivities vary
from person to person. One might be sensitive to MSG, while another has egg issues, and a third patient
is sensitive to black pepper. In fact, in a survey published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology, 42% of
fibromyalgia patients said their symptoms worsened after eating certain foods. If the symptoms of
fibromyalgia include irritable bowel type symptoms in addition to inflammatory symptoms such as
generalized body pain or achiness, food sensitivities should be evaluated and a food elimination diet
followed for 3 months.
An IgG4 food sensitivity panel is a simple blood test that identifies specific foods, preservatives and
medicinal plants that may be aggravating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. An IgG4 response to food is
actually more common than the IgE or IgA response, which causes a quick reaction. IgG4 reactions are
harder to identify because they can occur hours or even days after consumption of an offending food. In
some cases, a person's reaction to a food may occur several days after eating the offending food and the
link between the food and their symptoms may not be connected. These "hidden" food allergies are
caused by increasing blood levels of IgG4 antibodies in reaction to specific foods Once this type of
testing is done a food rotation can be developed that safely eliminates the offending foods and enables
the body to resolve the inflammatory response involved with symptoms like those of the fibromyalgia
Once a food that creates sensitivity has been eliminated from your diet, the benefits of less pain and
fatigue, less brain fog and less irritable bowel symptoms (like bloating and constipation) should subside
within four to six weeks and may occur in as little as one week.
For those patients for whom fibromyalgia is not helped by improving nutritional deficiencies and
eliminating trigger foods, chiropractic and acupuncture are wonderful treatments for minimizing the
pain of fibromyalgia. As anyone with fibromyalgia will attest – quality of life in incredibly important and
so pain reduction and energy improvement on any level with chiropractic and acupuncture is, for many
fibromyalgia patients, essential.
While chiropractic is often considered an alternative treatment it is becoming more accepted by the
mainstream medical community. Chiropractic provides excellent relief in a short period of time and
helps fibromyalgia patients enjoy a better quality of life.
Dr. Crosby routinely tests patients for nutritional deficiencies, and food sensitivities. Her team of
chiropractors is highly adept at treating fibromyalgia with chiropractic and acupuncture. A consultation
with Dr. Crosby can be arranged by calling (636)928-5588.