Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and the Brain Stem

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a little understood illness that still has the stigma of not being a real disease to many ignorant people and doctors.  However, people who do have fibromyalgia would argue that the reality of their life with fibromyalgia includes pain, stiffness, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. 

Perhaps studies of brain changes and chronic pain may help researchers and doctors better understand illnesses like fibromyalgia.  The latest research is suggesting that fibromyalgia has a connection with the central nervous system and is the result of a malfunction, or dysfunction, of the central nervous system.  A. Kuchinad and colleagues studied 10 women who had fibromyalgia and compared them with 10 women who did not have the illness. Among the women with fibromyalgia, Kuchinad's team found a reduction in brain tissue that wasn't found in the controls. This finding was backed up by yet another study not long after.  Other research has shown awake like brain activity in patients with Fibromyalgia when sleeping.  No REM sleep leads to the unrefreshed sleep common with the condition. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is another syndrome that has its skeptics.  There is no test for IBS (nor for fibromyalgia). Diseases that have no tests are diagnosed through exclusion. This means that doctors must do tests to rule out all other possibilities and IBS is only diagnosed when all other illnesses are ruled out.  People with IBS experience pain and cramping, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. As with fibromyalgia, brain imaging of patients with IBS has found a loss in brain tissue and the patterns are very similar to fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues.

So what is wrong with the central nervous system with people who are suffering with these mysterious conditions?

A Common Underlying Cause?

Frequently, an undetected head or neck injury that is affecting the brain is related to both of these conditions.  An upper neck misalignment causes pressure on the central nervous system at the level of the atlas (top bone in the neck).  When accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissue that holds the spine together it will create a weakness and allow the spine to break down and lock into a stressed position.  The most vulnerable area of the body to trauma is the upper neck because it is the most movable area of the entire body.  If that top bone is misaligned it disrupts the function of the central nervous system.

We have seen hundreds of patients with upper neck misalignments in our practice and frequently it is an underlying cause of conditions like Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  A common scenario is a person will have a head or neck trauma earlier on in life , leading to the head and neck being significantly misaligned and that misalignment causing pressure into the brain stem.  As the pressure is removed the body begins the healing process.  The longer that nervous system has been dysfunctional the longer it takes to heal.  Eventually you will see a decrease in pain and stiffness, sleep improves and energy increases. 

Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have similar results.  As the nervous system begins sending the proper messages to the digestive system again...digestion frequently becomes normal.

So does this type of care help everyone with Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome?  Of course not!  Nothing is 100%.  But if you have had a head or neck trauma prior to the onset of the symptoms then NUCCA could be the answer.

Here is a quick way to see if you may be a candidate.  Postural problems are common with Upper Neck Misalignments.  So stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes.  Bring your head down and back up and then open your eyes.  Do you notice that your head is tilting to one side?  Are your shoulders level?  It is not definitive...but if you have a history of any type of head or neck trauma then the chances that you are a good candidate go up dramatically.  Sometimes it is difficult to remember head or neck traumas especially if they have been years or even decades earlier.  So here are some questions to ask yourself.  Have you had a concussion?  Been knocked unconscious?  Had stitches to your head?

 

Don't give up hope...there is a cause behind every effect in the body. 

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

Want to hear from real people like you? Check out our reviews here.

Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at http://www.powaychiropractor.net/

 

 

Continue reading
  3043 Hits
  0 Comments
3043 Hits
0 Comments

Should I Take Prednisone for Fibromyalgia?

Prednisone

So let’s pretend you have a chronic neck or back pain, Fibromyalgia or another condition that has a lot of inflammation and swelling that goes along with it.  So your friendly MD puts you on Prednisone to help it...what's the big deal?

Well, basically what Prednisone does is decrease inflammation while depressing your immune system.

Common Side Effects according to www.drugs.com include difficulty sleeping; feeling of a whirling motion; increased appetite; increased sweating; indigestion; mood changes; nervousness.

This increased appetite, frequently leads to weight gain.  People who have fibromyalgia or who are in chronic pain also commonly have depression symptoms. Weight gain can increase those depression symptoms.

There are other more severe side effects to prednisone include severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); appetite loss; black, tarry stools; changes in menstrual periods; convulsions; depression; diarrhea; dizziness; exaggerated sense of well-being; fever; general body discomfort; headache; increased pressure in the eye; joint or muscle pain; mood swings; muscle weakness; personality changes; prolonged sore throat, cold, or fever; puffing of the face; severe nausea or vomiting; swelling of feet or legs; unusual weight gain; vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds; weakness; weight loss.

Prolonged use of prednisone can cause adrenal glands to atrophy and stop producing cortisol.  

That's not good!  Patients are often told not to stop taking prednisone suddenly. The dose has to be tapered gradually to allow the adrenal glands, which have atrophied, time to recover. If not, the person could put themselves into an adrenal crisis (e.g., nausea, vomiting, shock).

What to Do Next

So if you are put on any medication for any reason continue to seek the cause of the condition.  Especially if it is a drug as dangerous as Prednisone.

Do not just continually rely on a medication to cover up the effects but seek the cause.

If you have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain, please continue to read about NUCCA and seek answers.

 

It's your body and your responsibility.

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

Want to hear from real people like you? Check out our reviews here.

 

Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at http://www.powaychiropractor.net/

Continue reading
  2109 Hits
  0 Comments
2109 Hits
0 Comments

Why Am I so Tired? New Hope for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a similar condition called Fibromyalgia are very common conditions seen in an upper cervical chiropractic office.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The Mayo Clinic describes it this way...

"Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest. Although there are many theories about what causes this condition — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress — in most cases the cause is still unknown.  Because its symptoms are difficult to measure, CFS wasn't widely accepted as a real medical condition for several years. Today, however, doctors and researchers agree that this chronic condition should be taken seriously."

So if most people get tired they rest and they get more energy.  But if you have chronic fatigue than your batteries don't recharge the same as other people.  You can lay down for a nap or sleep 8 hours at night and still wake up as tired as before!

Undetected Brain Stem Injury

Frequently what we find with patients is Chronic Fatigue will be associated with an undetected brain stem injury.  The Brain Stem is very important for regulating our energy level.  If the brain stem is not functioning the way it was designed you will have a hard time recovering.

When someone has accidents and injuries that have torn loose the connective tissue that holds the spine in place it will allow the spine to breakdown and lock into a stressed position.  The area of the spine that is most frequently affected is the upper neck area because it is the most movable and the most vulnerable to injury.  Once this upper neck area is misaligned it will begin to affect the function of the brain stem.  This brain stem pressure can lead to a variety of problems including dysfunction with the release of cortisol.  Altered cortisol levels can have many different affects on both the mind and the body.

The Mayo Clinic states that "the long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

§  Sleep Problems

§  Digestive problems

§  Depression

§  Obesity

§  Memory Impairment

These are some of the most common symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.

One of the top NUCCA doctors in the world Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Sr. along with a medical doctor and a psychiatrist did some very interesting research several years ago looking at the connection between the upper cervical spine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Here's what they found when they compared quality of life measurements using a survey called the SF-36 six months after the initial correction to normal subjects:

§  Physical      Functioning increased from 58% to 85%!

§  General Health      improved from 35% to 55%

§  Vitality      improved from 17% to 55%

§  Social      Functioning increased from 40% to 70%

§  Mental Health      improved from 50% to 70%

In addition, both the quality and quantity of sleep improved based on all testing and there was significant decrease in sleep medication usage.  And maybe most remarkable all subjects in the study found a normalization of cortisol levels in the morning and evening readings at 6 months into care!  Amazing improvement!  Not only were they feeling better but their bodies were actually working better.

Now is the time for you to see if you can be helped. 

What to Do Next

 

To find a Doctor in your area go to www.NUCCA.org or if you’re in the San Diego County area, to schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

Want to hear from real people like you? Check out our reviews here.

Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at http://www.powaychiropractor.net/

Continue reading
  2408 Hits
  0 Comments
2408 Hits
0 Comments

Can a Car Crash Lead to Fibromyalgia?

In the June 2011 edition of the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research.  Dr. Nimira Alibhoy DC presents the case of a 45-year-old female with a history of two major head traumas and 10 car accidents leading to complaints of an 11 year history of fibromyalgia.  The history from the study is quite remarkable:

The patient was a 45-year-old female with Fibromyalgia.  Symptoms included migraine headaches, chronic pain in the neck, upper and lower back,  numbness in fingers, sciatica, right knee pain, depression, and duodenal ulcer.

She sustained a traumatic injury from diving head first into a shallow pool at the age of 15. The patient was then in 10 car accidents over 25 years.

She was later diagnosed with fibromyalgia by her medical doctor. Five years after the diagnosis, she had another traumatic head injury, when she fell head first down a flight of stairs. This increased her sciatica, neck, and back pain.

The patient had been to five general chiropractors over 12 years, who provided temporary relief of her Fibromyalgia symptoms. She was in chronic pain and suffered from depression. She was given Vicodin, Flexeril, or Soma at different times for her pain and soft tissue injuries. Her activity levels were limited in that she could not use stairs, swim, or walk further than 20 feet. She used a wheelchair as it helped her complete her daily routine and limit her tiredness.

Not All Chiropractors are the same

A history of head or neck trauma should always be investigated by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor trained in the detection and correction of the Atlas Subluxation Complex (A misalignment of the top bone in the neck).  This misalignment causes brain stem dysfunction which can lead to all sorts of changes in the way that all the body systems work.  Specifically important in patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is the brain stem connection to the immune system, circulatory system, respiratory system and digestive system.  Along with the connection of the brain stem with the postural muscles up and down the spinal column.

Here is the results for the patient in the study who was able to get the proper upper cervical chiropractic care needed to correct the underlying Brain Stem Subluxation.

Within six months of the first upper cervical correction, the patient revealed that she no longer needed wheelchair assistance. At the first re-evaluation, she reported that her fibromyalgia and left leg sciatica had resolved. She was able to move and perform basic daily functions and sleep in any position. She was feeling more relaxed and had more energy throughout the day. She stated that the sciatica in her right leg improved by 60% and was no longer on any medications.

At second re-evaluation, she stated that her chronic back pain and headaches had resolved. She only continued to have minor right sciatica. By the fifth re-evaluation, 6 months into care, her knee tenderness had also resolved. Her sciatica on the right had 98% improvement.  She stated she was able to perform house and yard work. She was also able to swim, walk distances, and stand for long periods of time without taking Tylenol or Advil. The only complaint she had at this point was right hip pain.

Have you been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

Do you have a history of head or neck traumas?  Car Accidents?  Falls?  Other Head Injuries?

 

Then NUCCA may be what you’ve been looking for.  Ready to get started?  

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

Want to hear from real people like you? Check out our reviews here.

 

Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at http://www.powaychiropractor.net/

Continue reading
  2042 Hits
  0 Comments
2042 Hits
0 Comments

 


 


NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

For More Information visit:
www.NUCCA.com

Articles