Natural Fibromyalgia management in Brisbane
Why is it so hard to find a Fibromyalgia specialist in Brisbane?
If you are looking for a fibromyalgia specialist in Brisbane, one of the biggest challenges is finding one!
Part of the reason may be that there really is no such person.
The reason there isn’t necessarily a true fibromyalgia specialist is that fibromyalgia is not a discrete disease or condition. It is a syndrome defined by significant fatigue, pain, heaviness, depression and a general lack of brain clarity.
The other problem is that this syndrome may occur for a variety of reasons or even a combination of multiple factors:
- Post-viral, bacterial, parasitic of fungal infection
- Chemical toxicity
- Post-traumatic stress (where “your brain effectively plays a trick on your mind” as the result of a significant emotional trauma)
- Whiplash, concussion or another neck/head injury
Because there is no one person who is a true expert in all of these areas, that is why there really isn’t such thing as a singular fibromyalgia specialist. Nevertheless, you do have experts within their individual fields who are familiar with fibromyalgia and may offer solutions for each of these factors.
In this article, I want to share with you one of these potential pieces that may be involved with your fibromyalgia: i.e., how a physical problem with the alignment of your upper neck could be part of your fibromyalgia.
I will also share with you a powerful and natural approach to helping correct these types of problems so that you may finally be able to heal from fibromyalgia.
How can Fibromyalgia be linked with the Upper Neck?
Mental (or emotional) problems in the body require mental solutions. Chemical problems in the body require chemical solutions. And physical problems in the body require physical solutions.
So why is it that the first course of action for so many people in the treatment of fibromyalgia is to solve the problem with chemicals only?
Is it possible that a chemical problem isn’t actually a chemical problem at all, but a mental or even a physical problem in disguise?
So let me ask you: what kinds of tests have you had to identify the potential causes of fibromyalgia in your individual circumstance?
- Blood tests
- Bacteria or virus tests
- CT scans or MRIs
But is it just as frustrating if you HAVE had all these tests only to come back as “normal?” How can it be that everything is “normal” when you feel the way you do?!
The reason may have to do with how the test is interpreted. Specifically, pathologists and radiologists are looking for just that: pathology. These are overt signs of things like infections, cancers, fractures, arthritis, bleeding, high levels of chemical toxicity, and so forth.
But just because something doesn’t reach the standard definition of “pathology” does NOT mean that it is true FOR YOU.
Every human being is unique. And although standard tests are useful for establishing categories, they do not always apply for people who experience things like fibromyalgia.
So let me ask you this question now:
1. Have you had personalized tests where the results are not simply looking for signs of pathology, but are considering if things are truly normal for YOU?
You see, the range of HEALTHY is often much narrower than the range of PATHOLOGY.
To illustrate, you can be 5-10Kg overweight, but even if that doesn’t make you obese, it can still mean that you aren’t as healthy as you should be. And even that 5-10Kg can make a big difference!
2. So is the person INTERPRETING your tests simply looking for pathology, or are they considering you as a UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL, and thus interpreting them to identify if you are as HEALTHY as you are capable of being?
The answers to those two questions may be of vital importance in understanding the cause of your fibromyalgia. They may well explain why no “fibromyalgia specialist” has yet been able to identify the cause of your condition (or recommend an effective treatment).
How can Fibromyalgia be linked with the Upper Neck?
Mental (or emotional) problems in the body require mental solutions.
Chemical problems in the body require chemical solutions.
Physical problems in the body require physical solutions.
Physical problems in the body may, in turn, affect the health of your nerve system, which controls your hormones and chemicals in your body. A physical problem can also affect your overall brain head, which can also manifest as mental or emotional distress.
When it comes to fibromyalgia, one of the most important physical problems that can exist in your body is some type of upper neck disorder.
Consider on a grand scale you have something like a broken bone or dislocation. We aren’t talking about anything that large. Instead, we are talking about a partial misalignment that affects the alignment of the vertebrae in the top of your neck: called the “atlas” (C1) and the “axis” (C2).
These two vertebrae form a protective ring around the top of your spinal cord and the base of your brainstem, which is the master control center for your entire body. Your brainstem includes several control and coordination centers that may be of special interest if you experience fibromyalgia.
- The periaqueductal grey (PAG) mater is responsible for filtering sensory information so that your brain does not experience constant “information overload.” If the PAG is not functioning properly, that can affect your pain and sleep.
- The locus coeruleus (“surr-ill-E-us,” LC) coordinates the fight, flight or freeze responses between the logical, emotional and survival levels of your brain. If the LC is not functioning properly, it can manifest as anxiety.
- The rostral ventrolateral (RVL) and rostral ventromedial (RVM) nuclei of the medulla drive the autonomic functions in your body: heart, lungs, digestive system, blood flow, etc. If these centers are not functioning properly, they may cause a variety of strange and otherwise “unexplainable” symptoms involving your organ health.
Your brainstem is also the location where all motor fibers that control your muscle tone and body posture cross-and-descend. If there is some type of interferences that affects the transmission of nerve messages that affect your muscles, they may result in posture, muscle tone or other problems that can also be related to your pain, soreness or even muscle twitching.
So how can a misalignment of your upper neck affect all these things? There are a few ways that specialists in the relationship between the upper neck and the nerve system believe this can happen:
- Your C1 and C2 vertebra are physically tethered onto your brainstem by a series of thick ligaments (aka myodural ligaments). Unlike other levels of the spine, there is no padding between the vertebrae and your spinal cord. Therefore, if these vertebrae should become disrupted from their normal alignment and center of gravity, they may impose a direct mechanical tension that pulls on the brainstem, thereby affecting its moral function.
- Your C1 and C2 vertebra do not contain interlocking joints like the rest of your spine. They are freely suspended by muscles and ligaments that contain an immense number of nerve receptors that assist with maintaining your upright balance. If the atlas or axis becomes misaligned, these nerve sensors may be caused to misfire, sending a huge cascade of abnormal information into your brain that essentially “overwhelms the circuits.”
- Your C1 and C2 vertebra contain a pair of arteries and veins that supply and drain blood from your brain. Moreover, the atlas and axis have been shown to influence the movement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain itself. If these vertebrae are misaligned, they may create an effective “choke point” in the normal flow of blood to, from or within the brain.
This latter process has been demonstrated with advanced imaging in people diagnoses with myalgic encephalomyelitis, which is a condition with remarkably similar symptoms to fibromyalgia (the major difference being evident swelling within the brain).
I do apologize for this section is a little more technical. Nevertheless, I hope I’ve been able to establish that there is an anatomical link between your upper neck and the overall health of your nerve system.
By realizing that this connection exists, I want to ask you the next important question:
What types of SPECIFIC tests and healthcare have you had paid attention to for your upper neck?
Specific care for the upper neck in Fibromyalgia?
Realizing the potential link between your upper neck and many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you’re likely wondering, “What is this type of healthcare that may be able to help?”
It is a unique method of chiropractic - WITHOUT CRACKING OR TWISTING - that is SPECIFIC AND CUSTOM TAILORED FOR YOU called “upper cervical care.”
If you have never heard of an “upper cervical chiropractor” before, I’m not surprised. Upper cervical care is a different approach to healthcare that has been researched and developed in the USA since the 1930s and continuing to evolve today.
Even in the USA, only around 1-2% of chiropractors practice an upper cervical technique … but here in Australia, that number is only 0.2-0.4%. And that’s being liberal!
Part of the reason is that it requires advanced study beyond a standard chiropractic degree.
To illustrate in Australia, chiropractic is a 5-year university degree. In the USA where I went to school, you need a 4-year college degree PLUS a 5-year chiropractic degree just to be a chiropractor … and then another 4 years of study and practice to earn Advanced Certification in my chosen upper cervical technique!
So what makes this thing called “upper cervical chiropractic” so different from general chiropractic?
First, there is NO spinal manipulation. No twisting. No popping. No cracking. None of that.
With the approach that we use (called the Blair technique), we aren’t looking to “crack bones” into place by applying a force that stretches the ligaments in your neck. Instead, we are looking to allow the bone to replace itself WITHIN its normal range of movement, which does NOT require much force at all when it is specifically applied.
Think about it as the difference between opening a door lock with the right key versus breaking through the lock with a chisel. There may be a time when either method is required, but as a first option, in my opinion, it is more ideal to have the RIGHT FITTING KEY.
So how do we know what the right key for YOU is?
Before upper cervical chiropractic makes ANY adjustments to your spine, he or she FIRST performs a series of physical and neurological tests to identify that you DO need an upper neck adjustment. If so, the next step is taking a series of precise x-rays or other advanced images that reveal the alignment of each of the vertebrae in your neck.
Do you remember what I said earlier in this article about doing tests to identify what is normal and abnormal for you, and not simply applying a “standard” range of values if you experience fibromyalgia? This is an example of what I’m talking about.
Every person’s body is built differently with slight variations in the shape, size, and orientation of the vertebrae in your spine. The rules of biomechanics don’t change, but their application DOES for every man, woman, and child on planet Earth.
And when we’re dealing with misalignments that maybe only a few millimeters big, standard CT or MRI views don’t show in proper detail what is actually going on.
It is only when we take customized views TAILORED TO YOUR OWN BONE STRUCTURE that we are able to see what is ACTUALLY going on.
- The exact location of any misalignments in your neck
- The exact direction of those misalignments
- The exact degree and size of those misalignments`
And when we know all that information, we are able to TAILOR YOUR ADJUSTMENT TO CORRECT THE ALIGNMENT OF THAT MISALIGNMENT TO YOUR EXACT NEEDS.
Like opening a lock with the right key, it does not take much force at all. The amount of force used with a Blair upper cervical adjustment is about 5 Kg worth of pressure, which is what you would use to feel your pulse. That’s it!
And because the procedure is performed in a neutral position where you are lying comfortably on your side, there isn’t any need for twisting, cracking or spinal manipulation.
Many people are often amazed at how powerful such a small and subtle correction can be! And that is the real key and secret to how upper cervical care works.
By being PRECISE and GENTLE in our approach, we are able to work WITH the normal healing forces in your body, which are ultimately what control and coordinate everything in your body in the first place.
You see, we can’t “stun” your body into submission in the hope that your fibromyalgia might just magically disappear. The approach that we take is by correcting the alignment of the vertebrae in your upper neck, we are aiming to reduce the interference that is otherwise disrupting the normal function of your nerve system.
And by assisting in restoring that normal function, we believe THAT is what allows your body to function better and to heal itself naturally from inside-out.
Upper cervical care and fibromyalgia Brisbane
I hope that this article has provided you with valuable information on the potential role of your upper neck in fibromyalgia and in health in general. Nevertheless, I want to reiterate what I had mentioned earlier that when it comes to a syndrome such as fibromyalgia that there is no magic bullet.
Again, that is why there really isn’t such a person as a “fibromyalgia specialist.” There are only experts within their fields - medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, dentists, psychologists, etc - who understand that fibromyalgia is often a multifactorial approach that often requires more than one method to help you body heal.
I am not an expert in infectious disease, blood pathology or psychology either. My field of expertise is in the role of the upper neck (called the C1 or atlas vertebra) on the health of your brain and nerve system.
However, I want to let you know from the start that when it comes to fibromyalgia management or finding a fibromyalgia specialist in Brisbane, I am familiar with enough other factors that can contribute towards fibromyalgia to know when you would also-or-instead need care with another healthcare practitioner.
In other words, if you have the type of neck condition that is affecting your nerve system, we may be able to help you. However, if your neck is 100% clear yet you still experience fibromyalgia, there must be another reason, and we will happily refer you to the appropriate specialist who may be able to help you.
Either way, I sincerely hope that in this article I have been able to illuminate the relationship between the health of your upper neck and fibromyalgia. So if this article has made logical sense and also resonates emotionally with you, I would like to invite you to take the next step: i.e., to have a no-obligation consultation to share your story to find out if we might be able to help you.
Our practice located in North Brisbane offers a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation so that you can ask any specific question you may have to desire if upper cervical chiropractic care may be right for you.
If so, all you need to do is click the Contact Us link on this page, or call us at 07 3188 9329, and we will be happy to coordinate a time to have a chat.
Atlas Health Australia - “A purpose for helping people enjoy a better quality of life.”
Bidari A, Ghavidel Parsa B, Ghalehbaghi B. Challenges in fibromyalgia diagnosis: from the meaning of symptoms to fibromyalgia labeling. Korean J Pain. 2018 Jul;31(3):147-154. doi: 10.3344/kjp.2018.31.3.147. Epub 2018 Jul 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30013729
Hulens M, Rasschaert R, Vansant G, et al. The link between idiopathic intracranial hypertension, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome: an exploration of shared pathophysiology. J Pain Res. 2018 Dec 10;11:3129-3140. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S186878. eCollection 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30573989
Riva R, Mork PJ, Westgaard RH, et al. Fibromyalgia syndrome is associated with hypocortisolism. Int J Behav Med. 2010 Sep;17(3):223-33. doi: 10.1007/s12529-010-9097-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20458566
Cagnie B, Coppieters I, Denecker S, et al. Central sensitization in fibromyalgia? A systematic review of structural and functional brain MRI. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2014 Aug;44(1):68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Jan 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24508406
Ettlin T1, Schuster C, Stoffel R, et al. A distinct pattern of myofascial findings in patients after a whiplash injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Jul;89(7):1290-3. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.11.041. Epub 2008 Jun 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18534552
Häggman-Henrikson B, Rezvani M, List T. Prevalence of whiplash trauma in TMD patients: a systematic review. J Oral Rehabil. 2014 Jan;41(1):59-68. doi: 10.1111/joor.12123. Epub 2013 Dec 30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24443899
Losert-Bruggner B, Hülse M, Hülse R. Fibromyalgia in patients with chronic CCD and CMD - a retrospective study of 555 patients. Cranio. 2017 Jun 5:1-9. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2017.1334376. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28580880
Martucci KT, Weber KA, Mackey SC. Altered Cervical Spinal Cord Resting-State Activity in Fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019 Mar;71(3):441-450. doi: 10.1002/art.40746. Epub 2019 Feb 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30281205
Nystrom NA, Freeman MD. Central Sensitization Is Modulated Following Trigger Point Anesthetization in Patients with Chronic Pain from Whiplash Trauma. A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study. Pain Med. 2018 Jan 1;19(1):124-129. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28419379
Van Oosterwijck J1, Nijs J, Meeus M, Paul L. Evidence for central sensitization in chronic whiplash: a systematic literature review. Eur J Pain. 2013 Mar;17(3):299-312. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00193.x. Epub 2012 Sep 25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23008191
Westersund CD, Scholten J, Turner RJ. Relationship between craniocervical orientation and the center of force of occlusion in adults. Cranio. 2016 Oct 20:1-7. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2016.1235254. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27760504
Alibhoy N. Resolution of Fibromyalgia Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Case Study. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, June 20, 2011:39-44.
Bennett C, Tedder N. Improvement in a Patient with Fibromyalgia Following Knee Chest Upper Cervical Specific Care: A Case Report. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, March 15, 2012:27-30.
Soriano W, Apatiga A. Resolution of Fibromyalgia & Polypharmacy Concomitant with Increased Cervical Curve & Improved Quality of Life Following Reduction of Upper Cervical Subluxation: A Case Study. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, October 21, 2014:61-7.
Tedder N, Tedder A, Gorshack SJ. Resolution of Chronic Fibromyalgia and Improved Spinal Curves Following Correction of an Atlas Subluxation: A Case Report & Selective Review of the Literature. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, July 13, 2015:24-9.
Woodfield HC, Dickholtz M. Quality of Life Improvement in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care. J Upper Cervical Chiropr Res, December 11, 2012:92-9.