Fibromyalgia is a considered a chronic condition. What this means is that once symptoms develop, they are not expected to subside. Fibromyalgia sufferers cope with widespread pain, extreme fatigue, and other issues on a daily basis. They may also be susceptible to other health conditions, such as irritable bowel or restless leg syndromes.
Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles that fibromyalgia sufferers face is the inability to get a good night of sleep. This contributes to a vicious cycle of feeling extremely fatigued, which leads to a worsening of pain, irritability, memory problems and more.
Try These Tips for Better Quality Sleep
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. This means keeping a regular bedtime as well as a regular waking time, even on days off. This helps to keep a steady circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle that helps regulate our feelings of energy and drowsiness.
- Wake up to natural light. If it isn’t possible to get natural sunlight in the morning, then there are lamps designed to mimic natural light to help your body adjust to being awake. Getting some natural light within the first hour of waking up helps to regulate the sleep cycle.
- Wind down before it’s time for bed. Try a warm bath, a cup of herbal (non-caffeinated) tea, or meditation in the couple of hours leading up to your bedtime.
- Ditch the electronic devices. Avoiding the TV and your smartphone before bedtime will cue your brain that it’s time to relax for the night. The light from your screens disturbs the circadian rhythm and can even reduce the level of melatonin, a hormone necessary for good sleep, your body produces.
- Avoid eating and drinking close to bedtime. Eating too much before bed can cause acid reflux and other digestive problems, and too much fluid intake can cause you to have to get up to use the bathroom several times throughout the night.
- Sleep in the dark. There can be many sources of light in the bedroom that can disrupt sleep. Bright alarm clocks should be covered up and if you use your smartphone for an alarm, be sure that it’s positioned so that the light from your screen doesn’t disturb you during the night. Blackout shades or curtains also help to keep things dark once the sun comes up.
- Invest in a quality mattress. If you’re experiencing difficulty sleeping, make sure your bed itself isn’t contributing to the problem. The average adult should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, and if those hours are not spent comfortably, then your sleep quality will suffer.
- Try to get some gentle exercise daily. Walking, yoga, and swimming are great examples of gentle movement that you can try to incorporate into your daily routine. Even light exercise can help to stabilize your body’s natural circadian rhythm and help to support healthy sleeping habits.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Warmer temperatures in your bedroom may not lend themselves to having a restful night of sleep. A cool and quiet sleep environment will help you get the rest you need.
- Make sure your nervous system is functioning at its best. Your sleep cycle, hormone production, and all of your body’s other systems rely on signals traveling between your brain and body over your nerves. If these signals are disturbed because of irritation or pressure on the nerves, it can reduce your body’s ability to coordinate those functions optimally. Upper cervical chiropractic is a specific branch of chiropractic care that addresses an area of the spine that has a dramatic influence on nervous system function.
Fibromyalgia and the Central Nervous System Link
The central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. These structures are so vital to our overall function and wellbeing that they are protected entirely by bone – your brain by the skill and your spinal cord by the vertebrae of the spinal column. This layer of bony protection is there to ensure that the tissues of the CNS do not become irritated or disturbed.
An area of the CNS that is of utmost importance is the brainstem. The brainstem is located where the brain and spinal cord meet, at the junction between the head and neck. It is responsible for coordinating many of our body’s life-sustaining properties, such as respiration and cardiovascular function. The brainstem also acts as a switchboard for all of the signals travelling between the brain and body. This includes signals carrying information about pain, sleep cycle regulation, and muscle tension. If the vertebrae that protect the brainstem, the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) misalign, it can prevent your body’s nervous system from communicating properly. In many fibromyalgia cases, this is at the root of the problem. If this issue is not addressed, then healing from fibromyalgia and other health conditions may not occur as optimally.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Brings Hope
Whether it be out of concern for the effects of long-term medication use or the desire to get past mere symptomatic treatment, more fibromyalgia sufferers are turning to upper cervical chiropractic care for answers. One of the major goals of upper cervical chiropractic is to restore normal nervous system function so that the body’s natural ability to heal can occur to the maximum greatest potential. If the atlas vertebra misaligns, it could potentially be altering the signals travelling between your brain and body, leading to the development of pain, fatigue, and other fibromyalgia symptoms.
At Advanced Spinal Care, we take an approach that is individualized for each of our patients. We understand that no two people’s health histories are alike, so there is no cookie-cutter approach to care here. The NUCCA technique of addressing upper cervical misalignments is extremely precise and very gentle. If your upper cervical spine is not aligned as it should be and it is causing a disruption in the function of your nervous system, then what we do at our office can begin to correct the problem at its root cause. By doing so, we are going beyond just chasing after symptoms for temporary relief. We are allowing your body to heal naturally, which is why many of our fibromyalgia patients report a reduction or even a complete resolution of their symptoms.
To schedule a complimentary NUCCA consultation call 608-783-0384
If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.