Fibromyalgia is a muscle and connective tissue pain disorder that affects 10% of
the U.S. population, occurring most commonly in women ages 20-50. It is also
one of the most controversial diseases in the US. In fact, it is difficult to
even call it a disease. There is no objective test for it. There is no lab
study that can be done to obtain a diagnosis. It has essentially become the "we
have no idea why you are in pain, but since you are in pain we have to call it
something to give you a medication for it" disorder. Not surprisingly, the
current medical treatment methods are, therefore, highly unsuccessful.
So, let's dive deeper into what fibromyalgia really is...Fibro means connective
tissue, Myo means muscle, and Algia means pain. Pretty simple, right? Well,
where does pain come from? Pain is a feeling...a sensation that comes from
Do you remember the game, "Operation"? The one where there's this guy with a
red light for a nose laying on a mock operating table and your job is to take
these tweezer-looking tongs and pull out plastic pieces representing things like
a broken heart or butterflies in the stomach without the tweezers touching the
metal around the organ-openings?
Well, let's say that we are playing the game of "Operation." I take my little
tweezers and I am successfully able to remove the broken heart game piece
without touching the metal edge. I get 100 points! However, on my next turn
when I go after the butterfly in the stomach, I touch the metal edge. BWAAAHH!
I touched the metal edges and that heinous buzzer went off. I messed up, so I
lost my turn and I didn't get any points! Every time I mess up and that buzzer
goes off, I jump...Frankly, it startles me...
Well, let's say that life is like a game of "Operation." The brain sending
messages through the nerve system is how we get points. The brain is
successfully able to send a normal, healthy message through the brainstem and
onward to the heart. Your body just got 100 life points! However, there's a
stress on the brainstem causing the brain to send an abnormal, unhealthy message
to the stomach...BWAHHH! Your brainstem touched the edges of one of the top
bones in the spine and the body sent out an alarm. That's messed up, so the
stomach doesn't get the message it was supposed to and got no life points!
Every time that normal message from the brain gets distorted by the brainstem,
an alarm goes off...Frankly, it startles the body...
Fibromyalgia typically occurs all over the body. It may affect the arms, legs,
low back, neck, mid-back, etc. All of those areas are controlled by nerves.
Each nerve in the body originates in the brainstem and then branches out along
the spinal cord through openings in your vertebra. When one of the top bones in
the spine slide out of position and put pressure on the brainstem, the body
sends out an alarm. Since we tend not to notice a lot of the body's more subtle
alarms, it will eventually send out a louder alarm in the form of pain. Pain is
literally the last alarm. Over time, the stress on the brainstem affects more
and more of the nerves. There are over a trillion nerve fibers in the
brainstem, so there's really no telling how many nerves are affected with a
prolonged stress on the brainstem. That's why fibromyalgia is so widespread
throughout the body...so many nerves originate at the brainstem that when it is
stressed long enough over time, the pain which once was mild in the neck becomes
SEVERE and downright debilitating in the neck, arms, low back, thighs, etc.
The lesson to be learned is that fibromyalgia is essentially a giant, widespread
alarm going off in your body, alerting you that something is seriously wrong.
Now, if there was a giant, widespread alarm going off in your neighborhood for a
tornado warning, would you take a shotgun and shoot them all down, so that you
could go back to sleep. Of course not! There's a tornado coming, man!
When we take pills...that's what we're doing...we're ignoring the tornado alarm
so that we can go about our lives. We don't have time to be sick, do we? We
don't have time to be in pain, do we? Well, it takes a lot less time to heal
when you stop ignoring the alarms. Upper Cervical Doctors get you out of the
tornado's path...and then the alarms turn off...